Non-profit

Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group (PennPIRG)

Website:

www.pennpirg.org

Location:

PHILADELPHIA, PA

Tax ID:

23-2448881

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $335,469
Expenses: $329,666
Assets: $2,061,575

Formation:

2000

The Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group (PennPIRG) is the advocacy arm of the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and the Pennsylvania state-level affiliate of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG). It is a multi-issue left-of-center advocacy organization.

Background

Established in 1986, PennPIRG is a state affiliate of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. PennPIRG, along with the other 46 state affiliates, act as state-based incubators that help push for and implement various left-progressive priorities of US-PIRG. In turn, US-PIRG then uses these state efforts to implement similar laws at the federal level. [1]

Orienting themselves as a consumer group, PennPIRG weighs in on a litany of issues including those related to taxes, voting rights, and consumer finance. [2]

PennPIRG is affiliated with the Fund for Public Interest, a clearinghouse for various left-wing advocacy organizations. [3] The Fund has been dubbed “the liberal sweatshop” for its harsh labor practices. [4] According to its 2018 tax filing, PennPIRG lists the Fund for Public Interest as an independent contractor for programs and citizen outreach, paying the group $214,741 for their services. [5]

Advocacy

Taxation

Since its creation, PennPIRG has been influential in shaping the tax code of Pennsylvania. In 2003, PennPIRG joined United Pennsylvanians, a coalition of community, environmentalist, and labor organizations, which helped craft Democratic Governor Ed Rendell’s “Plan for a New Pennsylvania.” Since public benefits and social programs had bankrupted the state, the plan called for the state’s borrowing ability to be raised by $2 billion and for the personal income tax to be raised from 2.8% to 3.65%. [6] In recent years, PennPIRG has done work on offshore tax havens and their impact on state revenues, arguing in favor of tax regimes like combined reporting which would increase taxable income by treating the parent and subsidiary companies of a multinational corporation as one single corporation for the purposes of tax collecting. [7]

Electoral Policy

When Pennsylvania passed a voter ID law in 2012, PennPIRG created a campaign to educate college students on how the law would impact their ability to vote and worked with college administrators to reissue student IDs that would be in compliance with the law. [8]

Federal Advocacy

While Penn PIRG is based in Pennsylvania and has mainly focused on issues in the state legislature, the organization has also done work at the federal level. In 2019, Penn PIRG organized a day of lobbying centered around consumer finance in Washington, D.C. with grassroots consumer advocates and other organizations like Public Citizen and Consumer Reports. During meetings with lawmakers, PennPIRG lobbied in favor of further government regulation of the financial sector and for Congress to crack down on the Trump administration-appointed leadership of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). [9] Penn PIRG has attacked former acting director Mick Mulvaney and current director Kathy Kraninger for what they view as Mulvaney and Kraninger working to water down consumer finance regulations. [10] Penn PIRG has also launched a “take action” advocacy campaign for consumers to write their representatives and urge them to prevent the Trump administration from weakening or eliminating the CFPB. [11]

People

Ed Mierzwinski is listed as senior director of the Federal Consumer Program at both PennPIRG and US-PIRG. [12] He cofounded Americans for Financial Reform, which campaigned for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 that created the CFPB. [13] He was listed as a “Top Lobbyist” in 2018 by The Hill. [14]

References

  1. Editors: Brobeck, Stephen & Mayer, Robert N. “Watchdogs and Whistleblowers: A Reference Guide to Consumer Activism.” Santa Barbara, California. Greenwood. 2015. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://books.google.com/books?id=uUUMCgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false ^
  2. “An Independent Voice for Consumers.” PennPIRG. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://pennpirg.org/pap/about ^
  3. Glanville, Jennifer. “Activism, Inc.: How That Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America.” Oxford, United Kingdom. Oxford University Press. 2008. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://academic.oup.com/sf/article-abstract/87/2/1151/2235249?redirectedFrom=PDF. ^
  4. Rosiak, Luke. “The Liberal Sweatshop.” The Daily Beast. July 15, 2009. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-liberal-sweatshop ^
  5. “Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group.” Guidestar. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://www.guidestar.org/profile/23-2448881 ^
  6. Kraut, Karen. “High Stakes: Why and How Nonprofits Must Engage on State Tax Policy.” Nonprofit Quarterly. June 21, 2005. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://nonprofitquarterly.org/high-stakes-why-and-how-nonprofits-must-engage-on-state-tax-policy/ ^
  7. “The Hidden Cost of Offshore Tax Havens.” PennPIRG. February 6, 2013. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://pennpirg.org/reports/pap/hidden-cost-offshore-tax-havens ^
  8. Coloma, Jennifer. “Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law could stump students.” The Tartan. September 17, 2013. Accessed November 10, 2019. http://thetartan.org/2012/9/17/news/voterid ^
  9. “State PIRGs go to Washington for Consumer Lobby Day.” PennPIRG. June 4, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://pennpirg.org/blogs/news-briefs/usp/state-pirgs-go-washington-consumer-lobby-day ^
  10. Mierzwinski, Ed. “CFPB’s Kraninger Provides Opaque Statement to Committee; Questions and Second Panel Will be Critical.” PennPIRG. March 7, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://pennpirg.org/blogs/eds-blog/usp/cfpbs-kraninger-provides-opaque-statement-committee-questions-and-second-panel ^
  11. “Defend the Consumer Bureau.” PennPIRG. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://pennpirg.org/feature/pap/defend-consumer-bureau ^
  12. “Ed Mierzwinski.” PennPIRG. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://pennpirg.org/staff/xxp/ed-mierzwinski ^
  13. “Support for Passage of Dodd-Frank Compromise” Americans for Financial Reform. June 27, 2010. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://ourfinancialsecurity.org/2010/06/support-for-passage-of-dodd-frank-compromise/ ^
  14. The Hill Staff.  “Top Lobbyists 2018.” The Hill. December 13, 2018. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/top-lobbyists/421128-top-lobbyists-2018 ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. Public Interest Network (PIN)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2000

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Jun Form 990 $335,469 $329,666 $2,061,575 $258,355 N $335,338 $0 $131 $0 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $314,916 $289,751 $1,733,621 $26,036 N $323,065 $0 $526 $0
    2015 Jun Form 990 $305,320 $250,431 $1,722,427 $40,007 N $304,447 $0 $873 $0 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $288,624 $252,641 $1,672,596 $57,176 N $287,680 $0 $944 $0 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $272,341 $267,154 $1,598,495 $53,565 N $269,620 $0 $1,553 $0 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $303,708 $242,723 $1,695,000 $180,647 N $293,860 $0 $5,433 $0 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $228,670 $222,432 $1,542,578 $86,698 N $225,401 $0 $2,329 $30,667 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group (PennPIRG)

    1429 WALNUT ST STE 1100
    PHILADELPHIA, PA 19102-3205