The political organization that helped secure President Obama’s reelection is being turned into a nonprofit group funded by corporate money that will help advocate the president’s second term agenda. This unprecedented move has some critics concerned at the possibility for cronyism and collusion.
Fox News reports, “Democratic officials familiar with the plan said Thursday [Jan. 17] the tax-exempt organization will be called Organizing for Action and seeks to harness the energy of the president’s re-election campaign for future legislative fights.”
The group will be a 501(c)(4) under the federal tax code, which permits tax-exempt status to organizations so long as their sole activity is not to influence an election. Therefore, the group cannot purchase ads in support of a candidate, but as a non-profit organization, could run ads in support of particular issues.
Officials indicate that the group will be separate from the Democratic National Committee, and will advocate issues such as gun control and immigration reform.
"Following in the footsteps of the campaign you built, Organizing for Action will be an unparalleled force in American politics," Obama said in an e-mail to supporters Friday. "It will work to turn our shared values into legislative action, and it'll empower the next generation of leaders in our movement."
President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, will serve as Organizing for America’s national chairman, while White House official Jon Carson will be leaving the Obama administration to become the group’s executive director. The organization will be accepting donations from individuals and corporations, but not from lobbyists and political action committees, and will disclose the identities of its donors.
The board for the organization will be comprised of former White House and campaign aides, including former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, campaign officials Stephanie Cutter, Jennifer O’Malley-Dillon and Julianna Smoot, as well as Frank White, a businessman and Obama donor.
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