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Craig McDonald

Austin | Community Organizer, Activist, Lobbyist

Mr. McDonald has been involved in civic life at the local, federal and state level. His career began as a local community organizer in the Alinsky model for the John Ball Park Community Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He next worked in the 1980s as Director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, arguing for stronger health, safety and environmental protection, an end to corporate subsidies, and improved access to the courts. During this same 15-year period in Washington, he was also the co-director of the non-profit, Center for a New Democracy, which advocated for campaign reform and ballot access. In 1997, Mr. McDonald came to Austin to found and direct Texans for Public Justice, a non-partisan, non-profit group focusing on corporate and governmental responsibility, particularly the role of money in campaign finance and lobbying. Texans for Public Justice’s research has documented polluters’ campaign contributions and lobbying efforts to keep grandfathered exemptions from regulation, to limit judicial access for class-action toxic tort cases, to press for low-level nuclear waste disposal facilities, to advocate construction of pulverized coal plants, to fund development subsidies, to grant eminent domain powers for private utilities, and other measures that loosened regulation or expanded incentives for environmentally risky ventures.

Interview Information

March 6, 2008
Austin, Texas
Reels 2443, 2444, and 2445

Excerpted Videos

Excerpt 1