Organizing for Action, the new non-profit created to promote the president’s agenda, will disclose donors and dollar amounts over $250, won’t accept corporate donations and won’t guarantee face time with the president to big donors, the organization’s chairman Jim Messina wrote Thursday on CNN.com.
“There has been some confusion about what Organizing for Action is and is not,” Messina wrote. “Organizing for Action is an issue advocacy group, not an electoral one. We’ll mobilize to support the president’s agenda, but we won’t do so on behalf of political candidates. The president has always believed that special interests have undue influence over the policymaking process, and the mission of this organization is to rebalance the power structure.”
Since Organizing for Action was launched in January, it has been criticized by editorial boards and campaign finance advocates for saying it would accept corporate cash, would disclose donor names but not amounts and for reports that donors or bundlers who contributed $500,000 would be invited to quarterly meetings with the president. Today’s reversal appears to be a response to that criticism (and perhaps to this attack ad paid for by by Karl Rove’s American Crossroads).
“It’s encouraging to see that the president’s associates have reconsidered their initial decision to solicit corporate contributions and sell access to the president through OFA and that they’ve pledged to make full and prompt disclosure of all gifts of $250 or more,” said Bob Edgar of Common Cause, one of the organizations leading the charge against Organizing for Action. “But that’s really just a start.”
Edgar pointed out that Organizing for Action is still accepting unlimited donations from wealthy individuals.
“If Organizing for Action is serious about putting to bed public concerns that contributions buy access, it should mobilize its impressive small-donor and activist base to push for real reform to clean up Washington,” Edgar said.