For Immediate Release
Robert Weissman, Longtime Corporate Accountability Expert and Activist, Is Public Citizen’s New President
Harvard-Trained Lawyer and Essential Action Director Helped Lower Cost of HIV/AIDS Drugs in Developing Countries
WASHINGTON - Robert Weissman, longtime director of the corporate accountability
organization Essential Action, editor of the Multinational Monitor, a
magazine that tracks corporate actors worldwide, and an attorney with
the Center for Study of Responsive Law, is Public Citizen's new
president, the organization announced today.
Weissman, 43, is a staunch public interest advocate and activist who
takes the helm of the organization as the nation wrestles with critical
choices that pit the public interest against the corporate interest.
Weissman's top priorities are climate
change ("the defining issue of the next 50 years, and the world right
now is on a terribly worrisome trajectory"), health care reform ("the
Obama administration and congressional leaders have refused to consider
the only approach - a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system - that can
cure the system's ills") and financial regulation ("through avarice and
recklessness, Wall Street has sunk us into the worst recession of the
past 70 years, yet rather than express shame, these institutions
continue to dominate the policymaking debate") as well as campaign
"Public Citizen will do everything it has done so well for nearly 40
years - and more," Weissman said "We are going to continue to work in
all branches of government and address a broad spectrum of issues. We
also will develop new ways to work with our members and allies, so that
together we build new forms of citizen power. And we will invest more
in organizing people, both virtually and through traditional,
on-the-ground means. I am proud to follow in the footsteps of Public
Citizen's first president and founder - Ralph Nader - and Joan
Claybrook, who served as Public Citizen's president for 27 years."
Bob Fellmeth, chairman of Public Citizen Foundation, said Weissman
was selected because of his exceptional background and ability to
"We chose Rob because of his unique combination of traits: a
brilliant mind and fierce independence," Fellmeth said. "He is capable
of mastering the most complex public issues. At the same time, he is
plugged into the real world, as demonstrated by his crucial and
inspiring work to lower pharmacy prices for AIDS victims and others in
the developing world. Rob can master patent law and economic theory and
apply that knowledge politically for real-world outcomes."
"Robert Weissman is an extraordinarily talented person who is
steeped in the policy issues we pursue," said Claybrook, who will
remain on Public Citizen's board. "He cares deeply about this
organization and its public advocacy achievements. With the
opportunities and challenges presented by the Obama administration and
the Congress, his leadership will be crucial to the advancement of so
many needed reforms."
Weissman was born and raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a suburb of
Cleveland. After graduating from Shaker Heights High School, he headed
to Harvard University. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard
College in 1989, earning a B.A. in social studies, and got his law
degree from Harvard Law School in 1995, graduating magna cum laude. He
remains a member of the Ohio bar.
In 1989, Weissman began editing the Multinational Monitor, a
magazine that tracks multinational corporations and reports on the
global economy, with a focus on labor, the environment, indigenous
rights, public health and consumer protection.
Essential Information (the umbrella organization for Essential
Action and the Multinational Monitor) and the Center for Study of
Responsive Law (a research and advocacy organization) were founded by
Nader. Essential Action was formed to provide a way to redress the
injustices reported in the Multinational Monitor magazine. Weissman has
directed the organization since 1995.
Weissman was a leader in organizing the 2000 International Monetary
Fund and World Bank protests in Washington D.C., helped make HIV drugs
available to the developing world and has provided assistance to
numerous governments on intellectual property and access to medicine
"Public Citizen is unique for its record of advancing the public
interest across a broad issue spectrum, its commitment to principle,
its tenacity and its insistence on focusing on root problems and
solutions," Weissman said. "Public Citizen stands out in Washington for
its tremendously accomplished and committed staff, with deep expertise
in a wide set of issues. I'm very excited to join this team."
READ a welcome message from Weissman.
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.