Obama’s Campaign Turns to ‘Action’

Photograph by Pete Souza/The White House

President Barack Obama hugs his campaign manager, Jim Messina, during an unannounced stop at campaign headquarters in Chicago.

Updated at 9 am EST.

President Barack Obama is converting the machinery of his re-election campaign into a tax-exempt nonprofit group to push his second-term legislative agenda, a Democratic official confirmed.

The new group, Organizing for Action, will be headed by Jim Messina, who served as Obama’s 2012 campaign manager.

That effort was known as Organizing for America.

The group, separate from the Democratic National Committee, will solicit donations from corporations and individuals to augment Obama’s legislative initiatives the next four years on such issues as reducing gun violence and immigration.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details before an official announcement later today. The formation of the group was reported earlier by the Los Angeles Times.

The transformation marks the first time a president has retrofitted the pieces of a re-election campaign into an outside group formed for the express purpose of prodding Congress to pass the administration’s agenda.

Familiar names will dominate the group’s board of directors, the Democratic official said. They include former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and top 2012 campaign aides Stephanie Cutter, Jennifer O’Malley-Dillon and Julianna  Smoot.

Jon Carson, White House director of the Office of Public Engagement, is being tapped as executive director of the group, which will have offices in Washington and Obama’s hometown of Chicago.

David Axelrod, senior adviser to the 2012 campaign, will become a consultant. White House senior adviser David Plouffe is expected to join the group after he leaves the administration later this month, the Democratic official said.

First Lady Michelle Obama leads the organization’s video kick-off today.


Hans Nichols contributed.

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