11 December 2008

The Honorable Barack Obama
President-elect
The United States
Washington, DC

[via email]

Dear President-Elect Obama,

As presidents and chief executive officers of many of the nation’s leading consumer organizations, we would like to thank you for your leadership on key issues in this Congress, including, for example, passing critical consumer product safety and housing reforms and preventing attacks on consumer’s access to courts.

As we prepare for a new presidential Administration and a new Congress, we also write to let you know that our organizations have united to redouble our efforts on the issues most pressing to American consumers and American competiveness. We intend to work together to amplify our voices and resources on these matters both now and in the upcoming Congress and Administration.

As the events of recent months have shown, weak consumer protections don’t just harm individual Americans, but the economic security of the entire nation. Inadequate laws and poor oversight of credit and financial services have led to a huge loss of wealth for many American families and triggered an economic recession. We plan to elevate the consumer voice and educate Americans about what’s really at stake in the marketplace when it comes to their health, their pocketbooks, and their safety. We see this agenda as a key starting point for consumers and journalists.

We have attached “An Agenda To Close Growing Gaps In Marketplace Protections.” The document describes six essential priorities, including protecting pocketbooks, ensuring access to justice, stopping the distribution of unsafe food, and achieving affordable and safe healthcare. We also intend to ask the new Congress and the new Administration to reinstate the once-successful position of the White House Special Advisor on Consumer Affairs. Consumers should have a voice at the president’s ear.

By working together and helping consumers make more informed decisions, we are building an influential consumer movement that will be a force for change. We look forward to working with you and your colleagues to achieve these critical goals.

Sincerely,

Stephen Brobeck
Executive Director
Consumer Federation of America

Willard P. Ogburn
Executive Director
National Consumers League

Jim Guest
President and CEO
Consumers Union

Joan Claybrook
President
Public Citizen

Ira Rheingold
Executive Director
National Association of Consumer Advocates

Andre Delattre
Executive Director
U.S. Public Interest Research Group

Sally Greenberg
Executive Director
National Consumers League

cc: Speaker Pelosi, Senate Leader Reid
Republican Leaders Boehner and McConnell

Staff contacts:
Consumer Federation of America, Travis Plunkett, Legislative Director, 202-387-6121; Consumers Union, Ellen Bloom, Director of Federal Policy and the Washington Office, 202-462-6262
National Association of Consumer Advocates, Ira Rheingold, Executive Director, 202-452-1989×101
National Consumers League, Sally Greenberg, Executive Director, 202-835-3323
National Consumer Law Center, Lauren Saunders, Managing Director, Washington Office, 202-452-6252
Public Citizen, David Arkush, Director Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, 202-588-1000
U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Ed Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director, 202-546-9707×314