From Joan Claybrook: Please Join Public Citizen
Breaking the money flow is common sense. If you believe, as I do, that people elected to serve in Congress must stand for the public interest -- not the corporate interest, then please, send a gift today.
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September 2006

Dear Supporter,

Sending candidates to Congress who will help restore trust and accountability starts by sending a message -- a message that the American people won’t stand for “business as usual” in Congress anymore. 

That’s because business as usual has a steep price. It’s costing America dearly. It’s costing us at the gas pumps, because members of Congress who accept millions of dollars from the oil and automotive industries refuse to boost fuel economy standards for cars or hold oil companies accountable for their record profits. It’s costing us our health as well, with more than 1.5 million Americans hospitalized each year due to adverse reactions to prescription drugs that the FDA, with the blessing of Congress, hasn’t taken off the market — maybe because lawmakers are listening more to the almost 1,000 pharmaceutical and HMO lobbyists on Capitol Hill and less to the American people.

But the biggest cost of the congressional ethics scandals may be the one that’s hardest to put a price on. That’s the erosion of public trust in government.

At Public Citizen, we’ve been working for 35 years to represent the interests of citizens in government and help restore trust and accountability in Congress. We have had numerous impressive victories, including the launch of our Clean Up Washington campaign and our work with other watchdog organizations to persuade more than 300 federal candidates across the country to sign a Voters First Pledge

But we’ve come to a crucial moment.  It’s a moment that comes only once every two years.  This is the time, in the last few weeks before Election Day, when we can get the candidates’ attention.  This is the time when candidates are most accountable to the voters. 
Which means this is the time for ACTION!

And this is the time when your support is needed most.  Because if the past 35 years has shown us anything, it’s this: If you want to get the attention of politicians, do it now — while they are out on the campaign trail and need our votes.  Now is when they listen.  Now is when they can’t hide.  Now is the best time for us to shine the spotlight on ethics lapses and hold them accountable.

The erosion of trust in government is the cost of congressional “business as usual” that’s the hardest to calculate — but that may be doing our American democracy the most damage.
Cynicism is rampant.  Too many voters don’t believe their elected officials are acting in their interests, or even voting their consciences. Instead, voters believe lawmakers are taking direction from the corporate lobbyists who fund their campaigns.  In a democracy, that’s nothing short of a tragedy.

What’s the answer?  The answer is to remove corporate money from elections to avoid the appearance of ethical conflict and legalized bribery. We’ve taken a big step by pushing for signatures on the Voters First Pledge! We’ve asked every candidate -- incumbents and challengers alike -- to sign the Voters First Pledge and commit to support legislation that will:

  • Make elections fair
  • Restore ethics and accountability
  • Protect voters’ right-to-know

Only by insisting that our candidates commit to upholding fairness, accountability and transparency can we end business as usual and restore TRUST in our government.  And that means making ethics a campaign issue. Help us reach out to the next 300 candidates -- make a contribution now.

Making ethics a national issue this election is going to take an all-out effort, and we don’t have much time … that is why we urgently need your help today. Help Public Citizen bring crucial issues like ethics, public financing and accountability to the forefront on the campaign trail.

Make  the most generous gift you can, right now.

Politicians are never more responsive than when they’re trying to get elected.  Which means NOW is the time to get their attention, make them listen and hold them accountable — so please send your contribution to Public Citizen today. We can do this together.

President of Public Citizen
P.S. This is the time when the people who will be representing us in Congress for the next two years MUST listen to us.  This is the time when your support is needed MOST.  Please send your gift today.  Thank you. 


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