Organizing for Action, the advocacy group that arose from President Barack Obama’s successful re-election campaign, has reversed course and decided not to take corporate donations.
OFA Chairman Jim Messina made the announcement in an article he wrote for CNN.com.
He gave no reason for the decision, which followed criticism from supporters of tougher campaign finance laws. Organizing for Action was incorporated as a nonprofit group, allowing it to take unlimited corporate, union and individual donations without identifying its benefactors.
Messina said OFA would report its donors quarterly, including amounts, and would not accept contributions from registered lobbyists, foreign nationals or political action committees in addition to corporations. “We believe in being open and transparent,” he wrote on CNN.com.
Campaign finance advocates welcomed Messina’s about-face, though continued to express concern over the idea that individuals could give unlimited amounts to a committee linked to Obama.
“OFA remains an unprecedented entity that allows individual donors and bundlers to provide unlimited amounts of money to an organization functioning as an arm of the Obama presidency,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21.
Common Cause President Bob Edgar, a former Democratic congressman, said Organizing for America should cap donations at the same $32,400 limit for contributions to political parties, and should use the grassroots group to push for stronger campaign finance laws.
“President Obama came to power in 2008 on a wave of anti-corruption sentiment and the promise to change the way Washington works,” Edgar said. ”He has an opportunity now to make good on that promise and through it to advance other items on his agenda.”
See the full report at Bloomberg.com.