July 24, 2017

MEDIA ADVISORY: Citizen Suits Force Agency Compliance With Congressional Instructions, Public Citizen to Tell Lawmakers

Public Citizen President Robert Weissman Testifies Tuesday Before House Subcommittees

WHAT: Public Citizen President Robert Weissman will tell congressional lawmakers that they should welcome citizen suits to enforce congressional deadlines that executive agencies disregard. His testimony will be before two subcommittees of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: the Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs and the Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy and Environment.

Weissman will outline how agencies have slowed the rulemaking process to a snail’s pace, regularly failing to meet congressional deadlines. It can take agencies decades to issue rules, even when Congress has commanded action. Weissman will explain that citizen suits facilitate faster rulemaking and compliance with the law. Settlements of such suits require the agencies to commit to a schedule to follow the law, protecting the public and establishing crucial standards for corporate activity.

Weissman also will focus attention on a two-tiered justice system. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he aims to seek the toughest sentences permissible for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, but he has made no comparable statements about corporate wrongdoers, who inflict vastly greater harm on society. Far too often, Weissman will show, corporations are able to commit crimes but escape criminal prosecution, even when caught. In the past 15 years, there has been a dramatic rise in federal prosecutors choosing not to prosecute corporations that have committed crimes.

WHEN: 10 a.m. EDT Tuesday, July 25

WHERE: Room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building
Independence Ave. between South Capitol Street SE and First Street SW
Washington, D.C.

WHO: Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen