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"PIRG" redirects here. For the Albanian municipality, see Pirg.
Logo of U.S. PIRG
Motto Standing up to powerful interests
Formation 1971
Type Advocacy organization
Website uspirg.org

In the United States, Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) are non-profit organizations that employ grassroots organizing, direct advocacy, investigative journalism, and litigation to affect public policy.[1]


The PIRGs emerged in the early 1970s on U.S. college campuses. The PIRG model was proposed in the book Action for a Change by Ralph Nader and Donald Ross. Ross helped students across the country set up the first PIRG chapters, then became the director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) in 1973.[2][3]

The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) was the first state PIRG to incorporate, on February 17, 1971.[4] It was followed by Oregon (OSPIRG) and Massachusetts (MASSPIRG). Among other early accomplishments, the PIRGs were responsible for much of the container deposit legislation in the United States, also known as "bottle bills".

There are now state PIRGs in nearly 30 states. Most states are affiliated with USPIRG, but MPIRG and NYPIRG are not, in order to remain grassroots organizations. In addition, the state organizations sponsor a national lobbying office in Washington, D.C. U.S. PIRG, the Federation of State Public Interest Research Groups, is the network of independent, state-based, citizen-funded organizations that advocate for the public interest.

The PIRGs employ nearly 400 full-time staff, including organizers, attorneys, and policy analysts.[5]


At the national level, the PIRGs campaign around the following issues:[6]

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau[edit]

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent U.S. government agency, was founded as a result of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the wake of the late-2000s recession and the economic meltdown. Its goal is to protect consumers and reform the financial sector. U.S. PIRG's role in passing the bill was applauded as one of 2010's top ten lobbying victories.[7]

Promoting civic engagement[edit]

The New Voters Project is the PIRGs' project to help register young voters and turn them out to the polls. Since 1984 the project has helped to register more than 1.7 million young people to vote.[8]

State affiliates[edit]

The following is a list of the state PIRGs:[9]

Other public interest groups[edit]

The PIRGs are members of a larger network of non-profit organizations called the Public Interest Network, a coalition of independent groups that fosters new and existing organizations that work to make corporations and government more responsive to the public interest.[10] The PIRGs have also helped to launch a number of other independent public interest non-profits, including Green Corps,[11] the Toxics Action Center, Environment America, and the National Environmental Law Center.

PIRGs in Canada[edit]

Canadian PIRGs are unaffiliated with U.S.-based PIRGs and are, for the most part, based around college campuses.[12] They also operate on a different model; for example, Canadian PIRGs have a very different political agenda and employ a consensus decision making model.[13] Canadian PIRG chapters are independent of each other, despite efforts toward collaboration.[14]


  1. ^ "U.S. PIRG: About Us". Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ Nader, Ralph; Donald Ross (1972). Action for a Change: A Student's Manual for Public Interest Organizing. New York: Grossman Publishers. ISBN 0-670-10319-5. 
  3. ^ "Public Interest Projects: History". Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "About MPIRG". Minnesota Public Interest Research Group. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  5. ^ "U.S. PIRG: About Us". Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  6. ^ "U.S. PIRG: Issues". Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Hill: Top 10 Lobbying Victories of 2010". Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  8. ^ "New Voters Project: History". Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  9. ^ "U.S. PIRG: Find Your State". Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Public Interest Network". 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Green Corps: History and Mission". 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Canadian PIRGs". Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  13. ^ "About OPIRG York". 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Canadian PIRGs". 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Interest_Research_Group — Please support Wikipedia.
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5782 news items

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That would not be the Illiana. Last year, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group put the Illiana on its “Highway Boondoggles” list. The Illiana becomes a far more appealing idea if and when an airport is built Peotone. But the airport is grounded for ...

The Journal News | LoHud.com

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Fri, 22 May 2015 10:15:00 -0700

Blair Horner, legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group, criticized Cuomo's office for the email flap, saying it could have been avoided if the executive branch adopted a more transparent policy in the first place. He ...

Bellingham Herald

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Fri, 22 May 2015 05:11:15 -0700

Food & Water Watch, the New York Public Interest Research Group and Catskill Mountainkeeper, all of which were part of New Yorkers Against Fracking, have helped form a new group called the New York GMO Labeling Coalition. "They have to have a ...
Rutland Herald
Fri, 22 May 2015 00:07:26 -0700

Ben Walsh, climate and energy program director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, welcomed news of the agreement and said it could be a path toward the creation of a carbon tax, a proposal offered by climate advocates in November that did ...

The Altamont Enterprise

The Altamont Enterprise
Thu, 21 May 2015 14:22:30 -0700

He got various neighborhood associations and environmental groups involved, and linked up with the New York Public Interest Research Group. A local member of the Sierra Club encouraged Mair to present his case and ask for technical and financial ...

New York Times

New York Times
Tue, 12 May 2015 19:45:46 -0700

But Blair Horner, legislative director at the New York Public Interest Research Group, said the fund-raising materials alone, with their implication of future lobbying activity, “should trigger a Jcope review.” If the group does not plan to pursue ...
Sacramento Bee
Wed, 20 May 2015 08:00:00 -0700

"It's a significant improvement in broadening the public's understanding of which interest groups are trying to influence local governments," said Blair Horner, legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group. For lobbying to have ...
Daily Bruin
Wed, 20 May 2015 03:00:27 -0700

A representative from the California Public Interest Research Group at UCLA gave a presentation to councilmembers on the goals and accomplishments of the group, and informed them that 3,653 students pledged to CALPIRG this year, raising $128,886.

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