Bob Edgar died suddenly from a heart attack on Tuesday morning, age 69. A vigorous opponent of the insidious influence of money in politics, Edgar represented the 7th District of Pennsylvania for 12 years 1975- 87, the first Democrat to hold the position in 35 years. As General Secretary of the National Council of Churches he took the organization in a progressive direction, working against homophobia, racism, and US wars abroad. Most famously, as the CEO of Common Cause, Edgar worked to hold those in power accountable to the public.
Whether it’s for requesting that the Justice Department investigate Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas for a conflict of interest in the Citizens United ruling which allowed unfettered corporate spending in election campaigns, or for bringing aid to the Palestinian town of Jenin after the 2002 Israeli bombardment, Edgar is remembered for his lifelong commitment to social justice and his belief that government can be made to work for and with the people. In the spring of 2011, he talked with Laura Flanders about democracy, past and present.