Organizing for Action (OFA) is a month-old, nonparisan, non-profit, pro-Obama advocacy group. President Obama has built a powerful organization, which seeks to mobilize those who want to promote the so-called "national agenda," (i.e., President Obama's positions) on Gun Control, Immigration and Climate Change.
Some of the most concerning aspects of the fledgling Obama machine have been highlighted in recent news reports. For example, the OFA endorses and promotes coordinated attacks on elected officials. As reported by Mollie Reilly of the Huffington Post, OFA has developed an expensive online advertising campaign targeting "16 Republican lawmakers who have not publicly committed to stricter background checks," referencing Obama's gun control agenda.
A spokesperson said that on the OFA-sponsored "Days of Action," there will be events throughout the country focusing on elected officials and media outreach events. These events include "Letter to the editor writing parties, or rallies and press events, to candle light vigils and petitions for members of Congress." Letter to the editor writing parties? Keep this in mind when reading your local newspaper.
Is OFA really "Nonpartisan"?
As reported by Kenneth T. Walsh of U.S. News and World Report, an OFA fund raising memo says that one of the goals of OFA is to "strengthen the progressive movement..." Although the OFA claims to be nonpartisan, their website explicitly states that it exists to "support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda." While OFA invites all Americans to support the President's "legislative agenda," only those who support policies promoted by the Obama administration need apply.
Also concerning, OFA is teaming with Big Labor to bus Obama policy supporters to an upcoming demonstration in Albany, where massive (and unpopular) gun-control legislation in New York will be supported. OFA will provide a free bus ride, as well as breakfast and lunch to anyone who wants to register.
The "Extremely Worrisome" OFA Database
A must-read article from Michael Isikoff of NBC News reports that the OFA Database is "one of the most powerful tools ever developed in American politics" and has already acquired a "massive computer database containing personal data on millions of American voters," to be used to mobilize an "army of the door knockers."
These Obama fans will be used to raise money for "issue ads" and promote the "national agenda" (code for Obama Agenda). There are obvious privacy concerns, as raised by Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center who calls the database "extremely worrisome." OFA, Isikoff reports, "refuses to say" how many people are stored in the database.
OFA to "Accept Unlimited Corporate Donations"
Perhaps the most significant concern with the organization is the vast potential for cronyism. The tax status of OFA allows unlimited corporate donations. Described as "dangerous and unprecedented," by Democracy 21 (a group that seeks, in part, to eliminate the undue influence of big money in American politics"), President Fred Wertheimer laments:
"With his decision to allow corporations to fund the new organizations that will operate as an arm of his presidency, President Obama has 'given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money... would take President Obama about as far away as he could possibly get from the goal he set in 2008 to change the way business is done in Washington."
Organizing for Action will be powerful, it will take unlimited corporate donations, and it will mobilize citizens from across America. OFA is so-called "grassroots," using tactics that are reminiscent of the corrupt and infamous "Acorn," but on a massive scale. Will the mainstream media report the potential ramifications of such an unprecedented political machine?
Image Source: Reuters via Politico