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Public Citizen Not Connected With Web Site Seeking Contributions in Exchange for Ralph Nader Dropping Out of Race

Oct. 26, 2004

Public Citizen Not Connected With Web Site Seeking Contributions in Exchange for Ralph Nader Dropping Out of Race

WASHINGTON, D.C. – An Internet site urging people to pledge contributions to Public Citizen as a way of persuading Ralph Nader to drop out of the presidential race is inappropriate and is not in any way connected to the national public interest organization, Public Citizen said today.

Public Citizen has asked the operator of the ralphplease.org Web site to remove its name from the site, but that request has not been honored.   According to recent news reports, people have pledged to donate $100,000 to Public Citizen if Nader drops out of the race. Another Web site – called dearralph.com – previously solicited such pledges to Public Citizen and other organizations founded by Nader, but has since stopped.

“We think this effort is inappropriate and misguided,” said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. “The Nader campaign has said its decisions will not be influenced by this, so it’s a false promise. It also is being done against our wishes, and we want our 150,000 members and others who want to support our work to know that they should not participate.”

Nader founded Public Citizen in 1971 to serve as a voice for consumers in Washington. But he left the organization in 1980 and has not held any position or served on its board since then. Public Citizen does not get involved in partisan politics or endorse candidates. It takes no position on Nader’s candidacy. Because Public Citizen accepts no funds from businesses or the government, individual contributions are essential to its work. We are angered that a Web page is using our name in a political context and could undermine support for our work.

In a letter to the operator of the ralphplease.org Web site, Public Citizen said:

  • It is harmful to Public Citizen because it implies there are or should be some conditions attached to contributions;
  • It implies that Public Citizen is connected to Nader’s campaign; and,
  • The Web site might be in violation of charitable solicitation laws in some states.

“Donations to support Public Citizen’s work on government and corporate accountability should be made directly to the organization, not through a Web site that suggests such contributions will have an effect on Ralph Nader’s political decisions,” Claybrook said. “Our organization has nothing to do with that effort.”