About Us


The century-old Committee of Seventy champions better government to help Philadelphia grow and prosper. Leading by example, the non-partisan organization aims to change the guarded nature of policy and politics debates in Philadelphia.

The Committee of Seventy has been called a “government watchdog,” “the elections people” and a “think tank.” In fact, we are all of these and much more.

Seventy is a not-for-profit group that works for effective, efficient government to benefit all citizens and create a better future for our region. Headed by many of the region’s most respected business, legal and civic leaders, Seventy holds one goal highest – to use our voice and our influence to provoke real change.

We are fiercely non-partisan and never endorse candidates. Whether we are working quietly behind the scenes or making noise, Seventy fights for better government, fair elections and an honest political culture. We raise public awareness about complex issues in language that is meaningful to non-experts, taking the lead on tough issues or joining forces with other concerned organizations.

The Committee of Seventy is fighting every day to make Philadelphia a better place to live, work, and do business.

The best measure of Seventy’s success is not just government reform for its own sake, but fundamental change that will attract more residents and jobs to the Philadelphia region.

Some of Our accomplishments:

Shaping Law: The Committee of Seventy significantly influenced a package of City Council bills that foster integrity in government and improve the city’s campaign finance law.  The most important law brought about oversight of lobbyists for the first time.

Fighting for Efficiency: Seventy pushed City Hall during the 2010 budget battle to make government smaller and more efficient. We spoke out this spring when it appeared that the city was relying more on tax hikes than spending cuts to balance the budget. “Tackling True Reform,” our 2009 manifesto, pressed city officials to address the issues that threaten the long-term health of the city.

Restructuring Government:  To highlight the city’s need to modernize, the Committee of Seventy is campaigning for the elimination of four long-obsolete, independently-elected offices – home to cronyism, nepotism and waste. So far, the city has abolished the Clerk of Quarter Sessions office.

Dropping DROP: The Committee of Seventy was an early champion of a comprehensive study of the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, calling on the new mayor, on his second day in office in 2008, to examine the program closely. After the study we asked for showed that DROP cost $258 million more than anticipated, Mayor Nutter called for it to be abolished, a position we supported. Seventy previously successfully fought to exclude elected officials from using an unpopular loophole in the city’s pension plan that allowed them to retire for 24 hours in order to collect lump-sum payments that could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Crippling “Pay-to-Play:” Seventy led the successful legal effort to preserve strict campaign finance limits, saving donors millions of dollars and freeing city officials from manipulation by giant contributors.

Safeguarding City Workers from Politics:  Seventy’s vigorous opposition prevented the gutting of 60-year old rules aimed at prohibiting almost all city employees from serving as political foot soldiers.

Pushing for Answers in the Courthouse Scandal: To help assure that a new Family Court was ultimately built in Philadelphia, Seventy loudly demanded an independent state investigation capable of lifting the growing cloud surrounding the controversial $200 million courthouse project. We also issued a well-received "In the Know" clearly explaining the complex controversy for the public.

Battling the Board of Revision of Taxes:  Seventy was instrumental in the long fight to change the city’s corrupt and incompetent machinery for assessing property taxes. In 2010, following an education drive by the organization, voters decided by a wide margin to abolish the discredited BRT.

Running the Nation’s Largest Non-Partisan Voter Assistance Program:  Seventy recruits and trains volunteers to answer voters’ questions and resolve problems at the polls on Election Day. More than 800 volunteers participated in the program in the most recent Presidential election.

Want to see more about the issues we care about? Look here.

Would you like to find out first what The Committee of Seventy is working on? Join our email news list.

To see an extensive archive of the Committee of Seventy website, including older reports, political data, and election results as far back as the mid 1990s, please see the Internet Archives "Wayback Machine" record for Seventy.org.

So who is the Committee of Seventy? Click here to see.

For more on what we do, watch Zack discuss Seventy with MiND TV.

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