We’ve had a busy few weeks at Public Citizen.
This month we delivered over 2 million petition signatures for five different campaigns for public justice and a more democratic government.
One of the most rewarding parts about working here is seeing how our actions take shape both before and after the petitioning process.
The frustration with pay-to-play politics and greed is always there, but it’s worth it to see the shock on a staff member’s face as we deliver thousands of petition signatures to congressional offices, the crowds that gather to watch millions of voices being heard in front of the White House, or the actions taken across the country to make the system a little more just.
Public Citizen will continue to fight for a stronger democracy and public protections and we will continue to oppose threats to the public interest that reward greed and recklessness.
Here’s what we’ve been up to recently:
Over 200,000 Signatures Delivered to Congress on the #NoRiders #CleanBudget Petition
On Friday, December 11, Public Citizen and a coalition of 200 partners brought together more than 200,000 petition signatures to demand that Congress include no ideological policy riders in the final spending bill. We delivered the petitions with prescriptions to deal with the ‘Poison Pill Riders’ that were plaguing the budget with breaks for legislators’ corporate backers.
We fought hard to ensure that environmental safeguards, worker protections, access to healthcare, and financial reforms were protected, and we won those fights. Big Business backers were not able to obstruct regulations meant to prevent the next Wall Street crisis and right-wing lawmakers were prevented from defunding Planned Parenthood or blocking refugees.
However, the omnibus package does include riders that disrupt the Securities and Exchange Commission and IRS from creating rules to get secret money out of politics.
And that meant that our next action was even more important …
Over 1 Million Actions Taken for the #NoSecretMoney Executive Order Petition
On Wednesday, December 16, a coalition of 59 organizations came together to collect more than ONE MILLION signatures demanding that President Obama sign an executive order to make political spending less secretive.
The president has already expressed his disdain for secret money, but has not yet taken action to ensure that government contractors disclose their political spending. Corporations that receive taxpayer funds for government contracts can secretly spend money to help elect the lawmakers who are responsible for allocating those funds, and the public deserves and wants this secret spending dragged into the light.
Members of the coalition presented “President Obama” with sacks full of the over 1 million signatures, emphasizing the sheer volume of support there is for shining a light on dark money in politics.
More than 500,000 Activists Demand Relief from Robocalls
Activists delivered more than 500,000 petition signatures from Public Citizen, Consumers Union and others to CenturyLink’s offices in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, December 15. The vocal citizens demanded that AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink use technology they already have to make it easier for their customers to block robocalls. Consumers are losing an estimated $350 million per year to phone scams that service providers could nip in the bud.
More than 150,000 Petitions Delivered to the Postmaster General in Support of Postal Banking
The Campaign for Postal Banking compiled more than 150,000 petition signatures to present to the USPS Postmaster General on Thursday, December 17.
Check cashers and pay day lenders gouge under-banked communities with pricey services and high interest rates, but postal banking could offer an alternative to the banks that have fled needy communities since the 2008 financial crisis. While underserved households spend approximately $2,400 a year on banking-replacement services, the post office could offer ATMs, prepaid debit cards, and small-dollar loans with no cost to the agency. In fact, it would produce significant revenue for the Postal Service.
More than 20,000 Petitions to EPA against Brady Sullivan Properties
Public Citizen, Clean Water Action and the New England Regional Council of Carpenters delivered over 20,000 petition signatures to the Environmental Protection Agency. The petition demands that the EPA hold Brady Sullivan Properties accountable for exposing residents of one of their New Hampshire properties to extremely dangerous levels of lead dust.
Please join us as we continue stand up for the public interest in Washington, D.C., and across the country through our broad and influential action campaigns. Let’s work together to make the public voice heard.
Keira Thompson is an online advocacy organizer with Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division