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Public Citizen Asks Lawmakers to Renew “True-Blue Reformer” Status

Oct. 2, 2006

Public Citizen Asks Lawmakers to Renew “True-Blue Reformer” Status

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In November 1995, Public Citizen bestowed “True-Blue Reformer” credentials on 143 House members – 43 Republicans and 100 Democrats – who voted for bills banning gifts and improving lobbying disclosure while voting against five amendments that would weaken the measures.

Certain of these named “Reformers” continue to celebrate their True-Blue Reformer status. For example, Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) cites the credential on his member Web site and on that of the House Committee on Government Reform, which he chairs.

Today, Public Citizen sent renewal notices to the 68 members of the 1995 Reformer class who remain in Congress. Only those members who agree to sign a Voters First Pledge – a promise to support clean elections and lobbying reform – will retain their status as “Reformers.”

The pledge, which Public Citizen, Common Cause and Public Campaign Action Fund sent to federal candidates in June, includes three critical reforms to address the root causes of corruption in Washington. Signatories promise to:

  • Make Elections Fair

Establish and enforce campaign spending limits by providing a set amount of public funding for all candidates who agree to take no private contributions.

  • Restore Accountability

Pass and enforce meaningful new restrictions on gifts and travel from lobbyists and other powerful interests for members of Congress.

  • Protect Voters’ Right-To-Know

Require full disclosure on the Internet of all lobbyists’ contributions and any fundraising help members of Congress receive from lobbyists.

More than 300 candidates for federal office have signed (see www.VotersFirstPledge.org). Members of the 1995 “Reformers” group who do not sign the pledge by Oct. 15 will have their True Blue credentials revoked. 

“Times have changed, and we have updated criteria on which to define a ‘true reformer,’ ” said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. “We hope all members we are contacting will rise to the occasion and sign the pledge.”