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FAQ — Organization

How did begin? is a non-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization founded in January 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. After 18 years in Washington, D.C., DeGennaro took a midlife break and traveled around the world for 20 months. Upon his return, he was appalled by the breakdown of the legislative process in Congress and the partisan gridlock. He began planning in 2004, made advance preparations in 2005, and launched the organization in January 2006.

Is made up of more than one organization?

The family of organizations promotes transparency in government to revitalize American democracy. At this time, there is only one entity: Civic Action Inc. is organized under section 501(c)(4) and conducts education and advocacy on transparency in government. Should significant funding become available, we would like to establish an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization called Education Fund that would be able to conduct research, education, and outreach activities, and accept foundation grants and tax-deductible contributions from individuals and institutions. Education Fund does not currently exist. Please contact us if you would like to make tax-deductible contributions to help fund the launch of Education Fund.

What does work on? seeks only transparent process and does not support or oppose policy on substance. The flagship reform campaign and laser focus of is an issue campaign to persuade the U.S. Congress to establish the “72 Online” rule to post legislation and conference reports online for 72 hours before floor consideration in Congress. is non-partisan, but does it lean liberal or conservative?

As with other organizations founded under section 501(c)(4), is non-partisan. But, beyond that, it is philosophically independent from the two major political parties. In practice, members of the minority party in Congress are more likely to favor openness in Congress and greater availability of legislation. In 1994, the minority Republicans demanded enfordement of the three-day rule. In 2006, the minority Democrats seem more inclined to favor the 72 Online rule. Should they take a majority in the Nov. 2006 elections, it will be interesting to see how members of each party approach the 72 Online rule.

How is funded? Civic Action Inc. is financed primarily by the dues and contributions of its individual members. Because it is a lobbying organization organized under section 501 (c)(4), contributions to are not tax deductible. accepts no government grants.

Are contributions to tax-deductible?

No. is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. But, because we are a lobbying organization, contributions are not tax-deductible. We would like to establish an affiliated organization called the Education Fund, conducts research, education, and outreach activities, and is supported by foundation grants and tax-deductible contributions from individuals and institutions.

How do I contribute to 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 “ Civic Action” and send it to:;
325 Pennsylania Ave. SE
Suite 275
Washington, DC 20003-1148

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

How much does it cost to join

If you can afford it, we welcome contributions of $72 or more. Introductory memberships are $20 for individuals and $30 for a family (two or more individuals in the same household). is happy to accept a contribution that fits your budget.

What does membership entail?

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

Does work at the state level to establish the 72 Online rule in state legislatures?

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 will focus its limited resources on the Congress in 2006.

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

No. We are organized out of our one national office.

Does work in coalitions with other public interest groups?

Yes. 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 coalition.

What does do at the grassroots/netroots? 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 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 work to support or oppose specific political candidates? Civic Action is a non-partisan organization, and we neither support nor oppose political parties or candidates. Because lobbies we regularly work with a variety of elected officials from both parties. encourages its members and the public to be involved in politics and government. Civic Action may consider establishing a Political Action Committee if funding is available. Please contact us if you are interested in helping to fund a PAC.

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