I have written on numerous occasions about the good work Public Citizen has consistently done for U.S. consumers. The consumer advocacy group has been hard at work protecting the rights of the American people. Public Citizen, which doesn’t accept special interest money, has been involved on a number of different fronts during the past year. I believe it’s important to give our readers a review of some of the group’s work. For example, Public Citizen has:
• Spearheaded the nationwide grassroots movement to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s anti-democratic Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling. So far, 13 states and hundreds of cities and towns have joined Public Citizen in calling for a constitutional amendment to restore democracy to We the People.
• Led the charge for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require corporations to disclose the money they spend trying to influence our elections.
• Mobilized grassroots and congressional action on the farce of “too big to jail,” which hopefully will pay dividends very soon.
• Resisted all efforts, whether originating in Congress or at the White House, to weaken Medicare or Social Security. It’s shameful, nonsensical and disingenuous for our leaders to be considering anything other than fortifying these bedrock programs.
• Demanded a formal government response to the egregious ethical lapses – which Public Citizen first brought to the public’s attention – of a clinical trial involving oxygen levels for premature babies where the parents, and even some of the doctors, were inadequately informed about the risks and methodology of the study.
• Pushed for a financial speculation tax on Wall Street’s wheeling and dealing.
• Worked to prove that the Keystone XL pipeline would – contrary to myths promoted by the few who stand to profit from its construction – actually increase domestic gas prices and decrease national energy security.
• Guarded against intensive campaigns by proponents of so-called “free trade” to gut laws that keep American workers, our food and our environment safe. Public Citizen pressured the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to strengthen popular and life-saving country-of-origin labeling standards for meat.
• Called out both Congress and President Obama for their “shameful” and “sneaky” repeal of a key provision of the STOCK Act, a commonsense and popular law meant to prevent insider trading by those who glean privileged information while working in Congress.
• Argued – and won – cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. For example, the Litigation Group won a case preserving the right of automobile owners to sue towing companies that sell their cars against their wishes.
• Worked to make sure that BP is not rewarded for its blatant, criminal and fatal misdeeds with taxpayer-supported federal contracts.
• Publicized the lack of federal oversight and safety spending that led to a catastrophic explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant. Future workplace tragedies will happen if the governments both national and local don’t act.
• Fought Big Business’ attempts to sneak fine print into contracts – for everyday goods and services – that denies customers access to justice if a company rips them off. Forced arbitration – the insidious anti-consumer trend – must be reversed.
• Defended the free speech rights of consumers from baseless attacks by businesses that are the subject of unfavorable online reviews.
• Held Chevron accountable for possible violations of rules against political contributions by federal contractors with its $2.5 million donation to a Republican super PAC.
• Disproved industry-funded anti-regulatory propaganda and worked to preserve public protections whose benefits – from strengthening our economy, to safeguarding our environment, to keeping us safe and healthy – far exceed their costs.
• Warned consumers as well as federal regulators of the personal and public health risks of unsafe and under-tested drugs and devices. This has been a long-time fight led by Dr. Sidney Wolfe.
• Challenged an illegal proposed settlement in a class-action lawsuit over Facebook’s use of members’ images in online ads.
We need more groups like Public Citizen that are willing to fight for “real people” in the ongoing battle with the giants in Corporate America. When you get down to it, corporate greed in this country has infected every aspect of our lives. That’s most unfortunate and the trend must be reversed. Huge corporations have been hard at work in their attempts to take over our elections. Emboldened by the U.S. Supreme Court’s dumbfounding Citizens United ruling, which opened the door for corporate control of elections, we have seen tens of millions of dollars poured into recent elections. Quite often it’s virtually impossible to name who the real donors are.
The bottom line is that democracy can’t survive if corporate dollars are allowed to trump votes. Public Citizen is ready to respond if the U.S. Supreme court doubles down on Citizens United when it hears McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, another campaign finance case. It’s feared that the high court might use that case to allow unlimited individual campaign donations. A brief will be filed by Public Citizen in the case and they are ready to activate grassroots action.
There is nothing wrong with huge corporations making good profits. In fact, it’s a necessity. But not being content merely with making record profits in the United States, huge corporations like Apple, Pfizer and Citigroup are offshoring profits to avoid their fair share of taxes while simultaneously backing absurd multinational “trade” pacts that pit countries against each other in a race to the bottom for food and product safety, labor standards and environmental protections. Public Citizen has been at work to expose this sort of thing and they will intensify the fight on behalf of the American people.
We must all stand together to save our Democracy. This will require each of us being willing to fight back with all the strength and passion we can summon. It isn’t just about safeguarding consumers from unsafe products or corporate rip-offs. Neither is it just about advancing progressive ideals like fairness, justice and the American dream. The real fight is to save our democracy for this and future generations. If you would like to join with Public Citizen and support their efforts – or just need more information – go to citizen.org or contact them by phone at 1-800-289-3787.
Source: Public Citizen Release
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