Organizing for Action Launches $50 Million Fundraising Campaign

Organizing for Action, a new tax-exempt organization created to mobilize Obama campaign supporters behind the administration's policy agenda, has launched a $50 million campaign to raise funds for its operations, the New York Times reports.

According to the Times, the organization seeks to raise at least half its campaign goal from a small number of donors who donate or raise upwards of $500,000 each. The funds will be used to cover administrative costs such as human resources, rent, and public relations and also will provide support for maintenance and upkeep of the group's voter database and technological infrastructure, which keep it connected to millions of Obama supporters on various online platforms. Officials told the Times that the organization plans to make public the names of its major contributors on a regular basis.

While the organization aims to raise funds in support of President Obama's policy proposals, some donors also will have access to current or former Obama administration aides. For instance, at a "founders summit" next month, donors will have an opportunity to chat with Jim Messina, the president's former campaign manager, and Jon Carson, the group's executive director and former director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. But while the organization has pledged to steer clear of electoral politics, the distinction between campaigning and issue advocacy poses a challenge for it in the lead up to the 2014 midterm elections.

Indeed, a number of watchdog organizations have spoken out against the creation of the organization. According to Carson, however, the group was created to form partnerships with like-minded organizations and as a counterweight to right-leaning groups like the National Rifle Association. "There are wins we can have on guns and immigration," said Carson during a conference call with prospective donors. "We have to change the conventional wisdom on those issues."

Nicholas Confessore. "Obama's Backers Seek Big Donors to Press Agenda." New York Times 02/22/2013.