Organizing for Action

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Organizing for Action
AbbreviationOFA
PredecessorObama for America
Organizing for America
FormationJanuary 18, 2013; 13 months ago (2013-01-18)
TypeNonprofit Social Welfare Organization
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Chicago, IL
Region servedUnited States
ChairmanJim Messina
Executive DirectorJon Carson
AffiliationsBarack Obama
Websitebarackobama.com
 
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Organizing for Action
AbbreviationOFA
PredecessorObama for America
Organizing for America
FormationJanuary 18, 2013; 13 months ago (2013-01-18)
TypeNonprofit Social Welfare Organization
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Chicago, IL
Region servedUnited States
ChairmanJim Messina
Executive DirectorJon Carson
AffiliationsBarack Obama
Websitebarackobama.com

Organizing for Action (OFA) is a nonprofit social welfare organization and community organizing project that advocates for the agenda of U.S. President Barack Obama.[1][2] The organization is officially non-partisan,[2] but its agenda and policies are strongly allied with the Democratic Party. It is the successor of Obama's 2012 re-election campaign and of Organizing for America, which itself succeeded Obama's 2008 campaign.[3]

Founded after President Obama's re-election, the group seeks to mobilize supporters in favor of Obama's legislative priorities. OFA is registered as a 501(c)(4) organization,[4] which may advocate for legislation but is prohibited from specifically supporting political candidates.[5] OFA is organized as a grassroots organization, with local chapters that decide issues around which to organize.

Background[edit]

Chairman[6] Jim Messina (Obama's 2012 campaign manager) and First Lady Michelle Obama announced the formation of OFA on January 18, 2013. White House official Jon Carson left the Obama administration to become the executive director. Campaign senior adviser David Axelrod serves as a consultant.[7]

Organizing for Action succeeds Organizing for America, which was formed under similar circumstances but operated under the control of the Democratic National Committee.[8] In preparation for President Obama's second term, Obama for America was relaunched as a nonprofit group in order to mobilize support behind the president's legislative and political agenda.[3]

Organization[edit]

Like its predecessor, Organizing for Action is composed of fifty different state organizations, united by a single national umbrella.[citation needed]

The organization accepts donations from individuals but not from corporations, lobbyists, or political action committees. It is headquartered in Chicago.[7] As a tax exempt 501(c)(4) organization, it seeks to harness the energy of the president's re-election campaign for future legislative fights.[8] The group advocates on policy issues such as gun violence prevention, climate change, and immigration; trains future leaders; and devotes attention to local issues throughout the United States.[5]

National staff include:[citation needed]

Funding[edit]

Obama reelection campaign manager Jim Messina has stated that the group would not be accepting corporate donations and would disclose donation amounts,[9] and OFA executive director Jon Carson and Messina have both stated that OFA is a non-partisan, grassroots issue advocacy group.[10] 501(c)(4) organizations are not required to disclose their donors publicly; however, OFA voluntarily publishes its donors list (including donation amounts) on a quarterly basis.[11]

Donations for access[edit]

In February 2013, the New York Times reported that donors contributing or raising $500,000 or more to Organizing for Action would put them on the group's national advisory board, granting the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president.[12] White House press spokesman Jay Carney denied that access to the President was being "sold," stating that OFA was an independent organization, and referred specific questions to the OFA staff.[13] On March 8, Messina told CBS News that the president might attend a "founder's summit", but stated, "Whether you're a volunteer or a donor, we can't and we won't guarantee access to any government officials. But just as the president and administration officials deliver updates on the legislative process to Americans and organizations across the ideological spectrum, there may be occasions when members of Organizing for Action are included in those updates. These are not opportunities to lobby — they are briefings on the positions the president has taken and the status of seeing them through."[14][15]

Campaigns[edit]

On December 17, 2013, OFA tweeted a photo of a young man with thick-rimmed glasses, wearing black-and-red plaid onesie pajamas, and cradling a mug. The accompanying text read: "Wear pajamas. Drink hot chocolate. Talk about getting health insurance. #GetTalking."[16] The tweet linked to the OFA website, which encouraged individuals to discuss Obamacare during the holiday season with those family members that are uninsured, and encourage them to sign up.[17][18] The tweet and pajama-clad man featured in it were quickly dubbed Pajama Boy, and mocked across social media, particularly by conservatives.[19]

Non-profit status[edit]

Questions have been raised about the actual aims and the 501(c)(4) eligibility of Organizing for Action due to the fact that the organization still maintains the www.barackobama.com website and controls the @barackobama Twitter account.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Obama unveils 'Organizing for Action'". Politico. 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  2. ^ a b "Organizing for Action FAQ". OFA. 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  3. ^ a b "Obama campaign to become nonprofit, Organizing for Action". The Washington Post. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  4. ^ "The New Nixon". WSJ. 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  5. ^ a b "Obama campaign evolving into group to push his agenda". Reuters. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  6. ^ Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/03/07/in-reversal-organizing-for-action-wont-take-corporate-cash/ |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  7. ^ a b Blumenthal, Paul (2013-01-18). "Organizing For Action: Obama Campaign Relaunches As Issue-Based Nonprofit". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  8. ^ a b Gold, Matea (2013-01-18). "Obama aides launch Organizing for Action to back his agenda". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  9. ^ Thomas, Ken (March 7, 2013). "Group Backing Obama Won't Take Corporate Money". Associated Press. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Sink, Justin (March 13, 2013). "Obama allies defend OFA amid 'pay-to-play' access controversy". The Hill. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  11. ^ Steiner, Keenan (March 13, 2013). "Pro-Obama group insists it's not selling access". Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Confessore, Nicholas (February 22, 2013). "Obama’s Backers Seek Big Donors to Press Agenda". New York Times. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Are donors paying for access to Obama?". CBS News. February 25, 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  14. ^ Sink, Justin (March 8, 2013). "Messina: Obama may meet with OFA donors amid controversy". The Hill. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  15. ^ Why we're raising money to support Obama agenda; CNN; March 7, 2013
  16. ^ "How do you plan to spend the cold days of December?". Twitter. Organizing for Action. 17 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "Health Care for the Holidays". Organizing for Action. 
  18. ^ Cillizza, Chris (20 December 2013). "Who had the worst week in Washington? Pajama Boy.". The Washington Post. 
  19. ^ "Christie tweets retort to Obama's 'Pajama Boy'". The Washington Post. 18 December 2013. 
  20. ^ Obama sharing Twitter account with controversial campaign spin-off; Washington Post. Retrieved 05/29/13.

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