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PIRG fund-raising

One of the major continuing legacies of Ralph Nader -- and one of the more significant allies of the Litigation Lobby -- is the PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) empire. Those who follow PIRG finances know that the empire's steady access to funds has been built on some remarkably sleazy fund-raising practices, including, on college campuses, access to student activity fees or per-student fees charged to student bills although neither the students nor their families ever volunteered to pay them. Now a series of articles in In These Times/MyDD exposes the underside of the door-to-door canvassing operations done by an outfit called the Fund for Public Interest Research on behalf of PIRG and other activist groups, in particular the shabby treatment of canvasser/employees. A highlight: a California hearing officer's ruling (PDF) that FPIR broke labor law by underpaying for work breaks. The MyDD comment thread is an article in itself. And the whole affair brings back unfond memories to Megan McArdle, who once worked as a PIRG canvasser and recalls the treatment of employees as even worse than the series makes it sound. One highlight: manipulating salespeople out of their jobs just before they were due substantial balloon commissions.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.