The Gray Panthers are a non-governmental organization that advocates on behalf of senior citizens regarding issues including peace, employment opportunity, housing, anti-discrimination (ageism, sexism, racism), family security, the environment, campaign finance reform and the United Nations. However, it has also participated in at least one corporate-financed astroturf campaign.
Washington Post reporter Christopher Stern in on June 20, 2003, that the Gray Panthers were one of several groups, including also the United Church of Christ, the New York Public Interest Research Group and former WorldCom employee Mitch Marcus, who participated in a seemingly grassroots protest demanding harsher federal penalties against WorldCom following the company's massive fraud conviction. "The outpouring, though, was hardly spontaneous. Several of the opponents, including protest organizers and petitioners, had ties to Issue Dynamics Inc. (IDI), a Washington-based consulting firm whose clients include some of WorldCom's biggest competitors, such as the regional phone giant Verizon Communications Inc. ... IDI's practice of organizing public interest groups to support its initiatives has occasionally angered some consumer activists, who said [President Samuel A. Simon] often does not disclose whom he is working for. ... Last month, the Gray Panthers took out full-page advertisements in The Washington Post and several other newspapers that called on the federal government to stop doing business with WorldCom. The ad said it was paid for by the Gray Panthers but did not mention that IDI provided much of the money. ... In October, the Gray Panthers, which has a three-person office in Washington, launched a "Corporate Accountability" project focused just on WorldCom. The project is headed by Will Thomas, a former WorldCom employee. Thomas won't say where money for the project comes from. ..."
1612 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (800) 280-5362 or (202) 737-6637
Fax: (202) 737-1160
Email: info AT graypanthers.org
- "Gray Panther Ads Targeting WorldCom Funded by IDI," Corporate Crime Reporter, June 2, 2003.
- Christopher Stern, "WorldCom Opponents In Sync," Washington Post, June 19, 2003.
- "WorldCom, the United Church of Christ and the Gray Panthers