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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    Rep. Schock Highlights Organizing for Action, a 501(c)4 Openly Working for Obama

    Rep. Schock Highlights Organizing for Action, a 501(c)4 Openly Working for Obama

    by JOHN SEXTON 4 Jun 2013

    During Tuesday's congressional hearing on groups targeted by the IRS, Rep. Aaron Schock demolished the arguments being made Democrats in two bold strokes.

    Democrats in the hearing argued that scrutiny is appropriate for any group engaged in political activity and applying for 501(c)4 status. They further suggested the conservative groups filed for 501(c)(4) status in order to hide their donor lists, implying these organizations were hiding large influxes of cash. In response, Rep. Schock asked three Tea Party groups giving testimony to state their annual budgets.

    Diane Belsom of the Laurens County, S.C. Tea Party stated that her total budget in 2010 was under $2,000. In 2011 the budget increased to about $2,500 and finally in 2012 it reached $9,000. Another witness, Karen Kenney of the San Fernando Valley, California Patriots, said her annual budget was negative in 2010 and 2011 in part because of money spent on attorneys to prepare the group's 501(c)4 application.

    Having established that no significant campaign cash was flowing through these groups, Rep. Schock then pulled up the description of Organizing for Action, a 501(c)4 whose stated mission is to "support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012." OFA describes this agenda as including legislation on "gun violence prevention, sensible environmental policies to address climate change and immigration reform." Despite the obvious political overtones, OFA's work is considered within the proper realm of a 501(c)4 activity, i.e. promoting social welfare.

    Democrats seemed to have a hard time accepting the idea that other people's definitions of social welfare may differ from their own. This is why none of the Democrats in the hearing expressed concern about OFA or any of the other progressive 501(c)4 groups which engage in political activity. They seem to take for granted that their definition of social welfare--on marriage, gun control, the environment--are the definitions.

    Rep. Schock effectively pointed out how myopic this view is. One person's social welfare is another person's political activity. Democrats don't get to set the rules for everyone. Not only did people at the IRS not understand this, it seems the Democratic Party as a whole is still struggling to grasp it.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    Hiring themselves out to teacher's Unions?
    Alabama AEA Plans to Hire Obama Political Operation for 2014


    The board of directors for the Alabama Education Association has purportedly approved $4 million to be taken from their reserve account to be dedicated to what they are calling “The Grand Plan for 2014.”

    According to sources familiar with the AEA’s political operation, the $4 million is over and above what will be spent out of their A-VOTE PAC, the primary vehicle they use for political expenditures. The money will be used to fund a voter turnout program that will include voter identification and other grassroots efforts on behalf of AEA-backed candidates.

    Sources say that the AEA will also be hiring Barack Obama’s political operation, Organizing for Action (formerly known as Organizing for America), so AEA can utilize their field staff. OFA is a non-profit entity that was formed by Obama’s political advisors for the purpose of continuing to tap into the grassroots infrastructure built during his Presidential campaigns.

    The president’s advisors hoped OFA would give them an unprecedented advocacy arm to help advance Obama’s second term agenda. Their efforts to this point have fallen flat.
    OFA’s first major focus was on helping the President convince the Senate to expand background checks for gun sales. They failed. They have since moved on to climate change, and other issues that play to the liberal base.

    To put it bluntly, OFA has little to no ability to move the needle in a conservative state like Alabama.

    According to the Washington Post, “Many of [OFA's] efforts have been centered in liberal strongholds and Democratic-leaning swing states, with little impact on more conservative areas.”

    With almost all of the action being in Republican primaries in 2014, it will be interesting to watch how the AEA allocates its resources and utilizes OFA.

    AEA recently fired their longtime manager,David Stout. Stout is well-known in political circles for penning the teachers’ union’s propaganda publication, The AEA Journal. Insiders say the publication will now be produced by Matrix, LLC, the state’s top Democrat political consulting firm.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    Pull their exempt status...JMO

    Organizing for Action struggles to move the needle on Obama’s agenda

    By Juliet Eilperin,May 11, 2013

    Jerry Delaney listens to speakers during an Organizing for Action rally… (JOHN GRESS/REUTERS )

    President Obama’s supporters are discovering that winning a national election is easier than winning over Congress.

    Organizing for Action, an advocacy group born from the remnants of Obama’s victorious 2012 reelection campaign, has struggled in its attempts to help the president push through legislation on the economy, guns and other issues central to his second-term agenda.

    The fledgling nonprofit group has spent its first four months staging rallies and generating local news coverage in an unsuccessful effort to get the Senate to strengthen background checks for gun sales.

    It deployed technological efforts familiar from the 2012 campaign, collecting 1.4 million signatures on a gun-control petition delivered to Capitol Hill last week and producing a widely viewed Internet video mocking congressional Republicans for questioning humans’ contribution to climate change.

    The group also raised $4.9 million through March and is awaiting an influx of cash from liberal donors connected to George Soros’s Democracy Alliance to expand its staff beyond the few dozen now on its payroll.

    But despite its extensive voter-data files and White House connections, OFA has yet to make much of a mark on the nation’s political landscape. Many of its efforts have been centered in liberal strongholds and Democratic-leaning swing states, with little impact on more conservative areas.

    “A real, sustained grass-roots movement — you can’t make that up in a minute,” said Marshall Ganz, a community-organizing expert and public policy senior lecturer at Harvard University. “It’s a long-term investment in grass-roots leadership.”

    But OFA Executive Director Jon Carson said that while the group itself is young, many of its members are longtime political activists. “Our volunteers did not hatch out of an egg in 2008,” he said. “They’ve been fighting on issue campaigns for their whole lives.”

    OFA is focused on promoting the president’s agenda to reform immigration, strengthen gun control, strike a budget deal and address climate change. Carson said the combination of OFA rallies and local news coverage is helping change voter attitudes, which in turn places pressure on lawmakers to back Obama’s legislative goals.

    The group’s organizers say they are particularly focused on six states that Obama won last year but that are represented by at least one GOP senator: Illinois, Maine, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio and Nevada. It is also targeting the red states of Arizona and Georgia, whose senators could be persuaded to back parts of the president’s agenda, group officials said. They plan to hold 500 events focused on immigration by the end of May, according to Carson.

    “You drive local press attention, and the citizens out there hear about it,” he said. “That’s the combination that it takes.”

    Carson pointed to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), one of the few Republicans to support the background checks legislation, who stopped by an OFA rally in Phoenix after the bill was blocked in the Senate.

    But McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said the group’s activities “had nothing to do with Senator McCain’s vote.” McCain stopped by the group’s rally because he “happened to spot them on the way home” from his office nearby, Rogers said.

    Arizona’s other senator, Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), has signaled a willingness to discuss a compromise with Democrats after coming under fire from OFA and other pro-gun control groups.

    “Since the senator’s position on background checks hasn’t changed, it’s hard to imagine how OFA would have influenced his decision-making,” spokeswoman Genevieve Rozansky said.

    Gun-control advocates, who asked not to be identified because the lobbying effort was still underway, said the group has performed better after the vote than before it.

    OFA was visible last week in Washington as volunteers swarmed Capitol Hill. Pam Simon, who worked for Gabrielle Giffords in 2011 when the former congresswoman was shot in Tucson, buttonholed Flake in the lobby.

    “The sense we got from him is that we’re still working on this. It’s not a closed door, so let’s engage. We said we’d love to sit down with him, look at the bill and talk about his concerns,” Simon wrote in a blog post. “The bottom line is that he knows we’re out there and he knows we’re not going away.”

    OFA was formed in the wake of November’s election as an independent nonprofit group able to raise unlimited funds, and it maintains control of Obama’s massive campaign e-mail list.

    What’s yet unclear is whether the group can transform support for Obama’s reelection into activism on behalf of his policy agenda. After the 2008 election, Obama transferred his campaign apparatus to the Democratic National Committee under the “Organizing for America” moniker, with notably modest results.

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