Organizing for Action has made a very smart decision — not to take corporate contributions, and, even better, to report all contributions of $250 and more, including the names of donors each quarter. OFA Chairman Jim Messina announced the decision in a CNN.com op-ed.
It’s a pretty gutsy move. Rachel Weiner reports at WaPo: “As a 501(c)4 non-profit social welfare organization, the group can raise unlimited funds and is not subject to Federal Election Commission disclosure rules.” Messina explains further:
“We believe in being open and transparent…That’s why every donor who gives $250 or more to this organization will be disclosed on the website with the exact amount they give on a quarterly basis. We have now decided not to accept contributions from corporations, federal lobbyists or foreign donors…We’ll mobilize to support the president’s agenda, but we won’t do so on behalf of political candidates.”
Wealthy individuals can still make contributions to OFA, though their names will be made public, unlike the policy of the right-wing Super-PACs. The new, more transparent OFA policy on limiting and revealing contributions should improve the organization’s populist creds while making the shadowy and secretive conservative groups look like they have something to hide, which is exactly the case.
OFA has already launched “a six-figure online advertising campaign aimed at getting Republican lawmakers to support stronger background checks on gun purchases,” notes Weiner.
Openness and transparency in reporting contributions always enhances an organization’s credibility, especially when in stark contrast to the policy of its adversaries. It remains unclear, however, whether the MSM will now challenge the conservative PAC’s to make a commitment to greater openness in reporting their sources of support.