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Cake by Lindsey Pullen, a Public Citizen staffer!

UPDATE: We think 40 years of progress is worth celebrating for an entire year! First we had this great “birthday” cake and now we are preparing for our anniversary gala! Read below and see why you should consider joining us.

General Motors’ reaction to Ralph Nader and “Unsafe at Any Speed” was anything but positive back in 1965. And yet someone had to take a stand. Public Citizen was thus formed 40 years ago today with the notion that democracy, by definition, should be for people– not corporations.

For 40 years,  lawyers, doctors, lobbyists and researchers have come together to work for the public interest, rather than the corporate interest. We are named Public Citizen because we have and continue to be a means for Americans to be engaged, to be “public citizens.” All of the late nights prepping for U.S. Supreme Court cases, poring over medical data, putting the finishing touches on groundbreaking reports and preparing for press conferences would not have been possible if you, our fellow citizens, had not been there to support us with your enthusiastic grassroots activism and kind financial donations.

Together, in the past 40 years we have:

  • Established the first fuel economy standards
  • Taken legal action to force the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to limit workplace exposure to 10 carcinogens
  • Organized the first national conference of anti-nuclear activists in 1974 and exposed history of safety problems at Three Mile Island
  • Obtained a court order directing producers of Agent Orange to disclose withheld information to the public
  • Campaigned for a ban on congressional gifts and a lobbyist registry
  • Forged a historic settlement to secure the release of President Richard Nixon’s secret White House tapes
  • Led a global coalition to oppose unethical actions of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle
  • Obtained a court order requiring toxic shock syndrome labels on tampons
  • Mobilized to get TXU Energy to pull out of plans for eight new dirty coal plants in Texas
  • Gotten Reyes disease warnings on aspirin
  • Won landmark Internet privacy cases
  • Forced more than 20 dangerous drugs off the market

And this is just to name a few. We have accomplished much, much more in our 40 years.

We use solid, data-driven research to achieve results. And if we don’t succeed at first, we keep trying until we do. We work in all three branches of government — we press members of Congress to do the right thing, we petition executive branch agencies to do their jobs and we turn to the courts if they don’t.

Back in 1965, going up against General Motors was not easy. Yet today, we cannot imagine a world without seat belts. Our current president, Robert Weissman, recently wrote,

Time and again, we have succeeded by taking an “unreasonable” position and then changing the terms of debate, so what seemed impossible becomes possible — and then winnable.

We hope you will join us in celebrating our 40th birthday today. We don’t take government or corporate money; your financial support makes our work possible. Donations of $40 and more today will qualify you to receive a free DVD of the “Story of Citizens United,” by award-winning viral filmmaker and Public Citizen board member Annie Leonard. Please help us keep up the fight for another 40 years!