FAQ — Organization

How did ReadtheBill begin?

The ReadtheBill family of non-profit organizations was founded in 2006 by Rafael DeGennaro to promote transparency in government in order to revitalize American democracy. DeGennaro came to Washington, D.C. in 1983 and was staff to maverick House Democrats who pushed reforms resisted by Democratic committee chairmen. He began planning ReadtheBill in 2004, made advance preparations in 2005, and launched the organization in January 2006.

Is ReadtheBill made up of more than one organization?

The ReadtheBill family of organizations promotes transparency in government to revitalize American democracy. It consists of two organizations, and contributions may be made to either one. ReadtheBill.org Foundation conducts research, education, and outreach activities. Organized under section 501(c)(3), it accepts foundation grants and tax-deductible contributions from individuals and institutions.

ReadtheBill.org Action, is organized under section 501(c)(4) and conducts advocacy on transparency in government. Contributions to ReadtheBill.org are not tax deductible.

What does ReadtheBill work on?

ReadtheBill seeks only transparent process and does not support or oppose policy on substance. The two main reform campaigns of ReadtheBill are: 1) to persuade the U.S. Congress to establish the “72 hours online” rule to post legislation and conference reports online for 72 hours before floor consideration in Congress; and (2) to prevent omnibus appropriations bills, which ReadtheBill believes are inherently unreadable.

ReadtheBill is non-partisan, but does it lean liberal or conservative?

As with other non-profit organizations, ReadtheBill is non-partisan. Beyond that, it is philosophically independent from the two major political parties. History in general shows that members of the minority party in Congress are more likely to favor openness in Congress and greater availability of legislation.

How is ReadtheBill funded?

ReadtheBill.org Action is financed primarily by the dues and contributions of its individual members. ReadtheBill.org Foundation also accepts foundation grants.

Are contributions to ReadtheBill tax-deductible?

Because ReadtheBill.org Action is a lobbying organization, contributions are not tax-deductible. Contributions to ReadtheBill.org Foundation are tax-deductible.

How do I contribute to ReadtheBill via the online forms?

If you click the “donate” button, you will be directed to the appropriate online form. Simply fill out the required information and click the submit button. When your information is received we will process your contribution, and you will receive an email confirmation that the process was completed.

What if I don’t want to use my credit card on the Internet?

We understand that not everyone is comfortable using their credit cards on the Internet. If you prefer to mail your contribution, please make check payable to “ReadtheBill.org Foundation” and send it to our main office:

PO Box 1070
Branford, CT 06405-8070

To ease your mind, please note that our online giving forms are secure. Any information you send to ReadtheBill on the forms will be encrypted during transmission. We have never had a problem with the security of donations made to ReadtheBill through our web site.

How much does it cost to join ReadtheBill?

If you can afford it, we welcome contributions of $50 or more. Introductory memberships are $20 for individuals and $30 for a family (two or more individuals in the same household). ReadtheBill is happy to accept a contribution that fits your budget.

What does membership entail?

You will be kept informed of all legislative developments on ReadtheBill issues and will have the opportunity to make your voice heard on important issues before Congress.

Does ReadtheBill work at the state legislature level??

Not at this time. We know that lack of availability of legislation is a problem in some states (and that both political parties are guilty of abuses). But ReadtheBill focuses its resources on the U.S. Congress.

Does ReadtheBill have affiliates at the state level that focus on Congress?

No. We work out of our national offices.

Does ReadtheBill work in coalitions with other public interest groups?

Yes. ReadtheBill often works in ad hoc coalitions with other organizations whose aims are consistent with ours. We are also members of some permanent coalitions, such as the OpentheGovernment.org coalition.

What does ReadtheBill do at the grassroots/netroots level?

ReadtheBill grassroots activists lobby lawmakers on pending legislation, write letters to the editor and op-ed pieces for their local newspapers, speak to community groups about ReadtheBill issues, and generally work to keep their communities well informed. We also organize events in local districts to put pressure on Members of Congress whose support may be wavering.

Does ReadtheBill work to support or oppose specific political candidates?

The ReadtheBill family of organizations is non-partisan, and neither supports nor opposes political parties or candidates. Because ReadtheBill lobbies, we regularly work with a variety of elected officials from both parties. ReadtheBill encourages its members and the public to be involved in politics and government.