Public Citizen Foundation, Inc.

Washington, DC   |  http://www.citizen.org

Mission

Public Citizen Foundation supports the research and educational work of Public Citizen, Inc., which was founded in 1971 to promote consumer rights, open government, corporate responsibility, clean energy, fair trade, environmental protection and workplace safety. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations.

Ruling year info

1992

President

Robert Weissman

Executive Vice President

Lisa Gilbert

Main address

1600 20th Street NW

Washington, DC 20009 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

52-1263996

NTEE code info

Consumer Protection and Safety (W90)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (C05)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (E05)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Corporations have their lobbyists in Washington, D.C. The people need advocates too. That's where we come in. Public Citizen identifies excessive corporate power as the most serious threat to the values and policy objectives we treasure most: justice, health and safety, ecological sustainability, a functioning democracy, freedom and equality. We advocate, litigate, educate, mobilize and organize to ensure that all citizens are represented in the halls of power.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Congress Watch

Congress Watch champions consumer interests before the U.S. Congress and serves as a government watchdog. We work to strengthen health, safety and environment protections; demand an end to corporate subsidies; fight to preserve citizen access to the courts to redress corporate wrongdoing; and seek to ensure a strong democracy by exposing the harmful impact of money in politics and advocating for comprehensive campaign finance reform.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Our Energy Program works to protect citizens and the environment from the dangers posed by nuclear power and seeks policies that will lead to safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy. We also advocate creation of an agricultural and food distribution system that guarantees safe, wholesome food produced in a humane and sustainable manner, and work to protect the world s fragile water resources from commodification, privatization, and mass diversion.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Global Trade Watch leads the way in educating the American public about the enormous impact of international trade and economic globalization on our jobs, the environment, public health and safety, and democratic accountability. We work in defense of consumer health and safety, the environment, good jobs and democratic decision-making, which are being threatened by corporate-led globalization that includes so-called "free trade" agreements such as the WTO and NAFTA.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Health Research Group promotes research-based, system-wide changes in health care policy and provides government oversight concerning drugs, medical devices, doctors and hospitals and occupational health. We work to ban or relabel unsafe or ineffective drugs and medical devices; improve safety standards at work sites; and educate consumers about the health care services they receive by providing information about doctors disciplined by state medical boards, hospital cesarean section rates, how to obtain your medical records, and dispute resolution in Medicare HMOs.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Litigation Group is a public interest law firm that specializes in federal health and safety regulation, consumer litigation, open government, union democracy, separation of powers and the First Amendment. We litigate cases at all levels of the federal and state judiciaries and have a substantial practice before federal regulatory agencies. Our efforts are also pursued through programs such as the Supreme Court Assistance Project and the Freedom of Information Clearinghouse.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

We don’t participate in partisan political activities or endorse any candidates for elected office. We take no government or corporate money, which enables us to remain fiercely independent and call out bad actors – no matter who they are or how much power and money they have.

We use every tool at our disposal to take on big fights – and win. We mobilize activists to grow democratic movements, watchdog Congress, sue the government when it fails to do its job, petition regulatory agencies to safeguard the public and engage in cutting-edge research that effects change.

We use every tool at our disposal to take on big fights – and win. We mobilize activists to grow democratic movements, watchdog Congress, sue the government when it fails to do its job, petition regulatory agencies to safeguard the public and engage in cutting-edge research that effects change.

Public Citizen Foundation uses a multipronged approach to making change – litigation, research, communications and grassroots organizing to:

• Serve as an independent resource for members of Congress in our issue areas;
• Litigate in the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to challenge bad law and ensure that our government and major corporate actors are held accountable;
• Publish robust, in-depth investigative research reports that inform the media and public about complex issues;
• Use traditional and new media to rally the public, pressure companies and elected officials, and speak truth to power; and
• Organize and mobilize robust networks of grassroots activists to build momentum across the country for consumer-friendly policies.

Public Citizen carries out an advocacy agenda through program divisions that have specialized and extraordinary expertise.

Our Health Research Group is recognized as the leading campaigner for pharmaceutical safety.
Our Litigation Group operates the country’s preeminent public interest Supreme Court practice.
Global Trade Watch is recognized as a leading force for fair trade.
Our Access to Medicines program pushes the government to use legislation and policy to lower the cost of drugs and helps build the grassroots movement for affordable medicine.
Our Climate and Energy programs combine policy expertise and grassroots advocacy to help create a sustainable future.
Our Texas office has helped turn the state into a world leader in wind energy production.
Our Congress Watch division is active in regulatory and legislative fights and serves as the main lobbying arm for the organization. (Note that all lobbying activities operate under Public Citizen Inc.)

These are a few of our long-term projects; all Public Citizen campaigns can be found on our website.

Public Citizen’s ongoing vision includes:
• Getting money out of politics, including reforming our country’s campaign finance laws, ending the revolving door between Congress and industry executives, and closing ethical loopholes that allow corruption and self-aggrandizing in our government;
• Passing a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and stop the flood of dark money in our elections;
• Overhauling our health care system to lower drug prices and ensure that all Americans are covered under an affordable, single-payer system;
• Ensuring climate action is at the forefront of political agendas; and
• Protecting access to the courts so that individuals and class actions can rightfully seek redress from corporate wrongdoing.

A sampling of our accomplishments over the last fifty years includes:

2019: The House passes the For the People Act (H.R.1), a landmark package of sweeping ethics, campaign finance and voting rights reforms that Public Citizen helped create.

2019: The House passes the historic FAIR Act to ban forced arbitration in employment and consumer contracts. Public Citizen has worked on this issue for decades.

2019: Representing three landowners in South Texas, Public Citizen sues and successfully prevents the Trump administration from using national emergency funds to construct his U.S./Mexico border wall in the Rio Grande Valley.

2015: Thanks in part to Public Citizen’s grassroots mobilizing, 16 states, more than 650 localities and 179 members of Congress endorses a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling; a majority of the U.S. Senate voted for the amendment.

2010: In the wake of the 2008 economic crash, Public Citizen and allies successfully advocate creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

2001: Public Citizen, spearheading a coalition of auto safety advocates, wins a new safety law in the wake of hundreds of recent deaths and injuries caused by rollover crashes.

1996: Public Citizen forges a historic settlement to secure the release of President Richard Nixon’s secret White House tapes.

1993: Public Citizen plays a leading role in opposing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), launching a new citizens’ trade movement.

1991: A new auto safety law, which Public Citizen played a key role in passing, makes airbags and head protection mandatory in all new passenger cars.

1986: After a Public Citizen campaign, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires drugmakers to warn that aspirin can cause Reye’s Syndrome in children.

1976: The FDA bans Red Dye No. 2 after a Public Citizen campaign against the carcinogenic food dye.

1976: A Public Citizen petition leads to an FDA ban on cancer-causing chloroform in cough medicines and toothpaste.

1972: Public Citizen plays a key role in the creation of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Financials

Public Citizen Foundation, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Public Citizen Foundation, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 3/22/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mark Chavez

Chavez and Associates

Term: 2017 - 2019

Robert Fellmeth

University of San Diego School of Law

Joan Claybrook

Jim Bildner

Center for Applied Philanthropy

Mark Chavez

Chavez & Baskin LLC

Steve Skrovan

Producer

David Halperin

Center for American Progress

Robert Weissman

Public Citizen

Annie Leonard

Greenpeace USA

Gerson Smoger

Smoger and Associates

Cynthia Renfro

Civis Consulting LLC

Maya Berry

Srab American Institute

Emily Chatterjee

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/18/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data