Public Citizen: The Sentinel of Democracy

“Public Citizen’s fingerprints can be found whenever a homebuyer looks for the best-priced lawyer, whenever a bumped airline passenger is compensated, whenever a parents reads the warning label on an aspirin bottle, whenever a life is saved by an air bag, whenever a journalist seeks information from the government.

But Public Citizen’s impact goes even deeper, to the core of democracy. It is a legacy of engaged citizenship, of peopleworking in public forums to seek justice and equity for others.”

 Excerpt from Public Citizen: The Sentinel of Democracy



Public Citizen in 2016 released a book, Public Citizen: The Sentinel of Democracy, which tells the story of the organization’s first 38 years – from its founding in 1971 to the retirement of Joan Claybrook as president in 2009.

In the halls of power, Public Citizen has represented citizens for nearly two generations – through the awakening of the consumer movement; the struggle for health, safety and environmental and marketplace safeguards in the 1960s and the 1970s; the corporate backlash of the 1980s and 1990s; and into the new millennium’s fight against abuses of globalization. The organization has battled for patients who are prescribed dangerous drugs, workers exposed to toxic chemicals, motorists with unsafe vehicles, voters with corrupt representatives, citizens exploited by energy companies and many more.

This book takes readers through the years and highlights the most salient accomplishments by the first generation of Public Citizen leaders – achievements that have altered the American marketplace, government and political culture in ways that reverberate today.


Download a free copy of the book