Obama Campaign Transforms Into Lobbying Group
Today, Barack Obama’s re-election campaign website announced that his campaign organization, Obama for America, would be shifting over into a 501(c)4 political action organization: Organizing for America. In an email sent by Obama himself, the President wrote:
Today, a new grassroots organization is being launched: Organizing for Action.
Following in the footsteps of the campaign you built, Organizing for Action will be an unparalleled force in American politics. It will work to turn our shared values into legislative action -- and it'll empower the next generation of leaders in our movement.
Michelle recorded a video to tell you more about the new organization -- take a look and let OFA know you're in.
We may have started this as a long shot presidential primary campaign in 2007, but it's always been about more than just winning an election. Together, we've made our communities stronger, we've fought for historic legislation, and we've brought more people than ever before into the political process.
We have the power to do even more to change our politics and our country for the better. With Organizing for Action, you'll have every resource you need to do it.
But it starts with you. This new organization is in your hands.
I'm so excited to see what you all do next -- and so grateful to be part of it.
So Obama won’t just be using the bully pulpit – he’ll have his entire campaign organization at his disposal, pushing his agenda from outside the government. Obama’s campaign director, Jim Messina, will take the lead; his second will be White House Director of the Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson. Now, 501(c)4 social welfare organizations do have legal limits on what they can do. According to the IRS, while a 501(c)4 organization can have lobbying on legislation as its primary purpose, “The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”
But that should not provide a significant barrier to Obama, who will undoubtedly use the new OFA to promote his own cause, not those of his fellow Democrats.
The story gets worse, though. In a little-noticed provision of Obama’s recent executive order on gun control, Obama actually creates incentives for the government to funnel cash to “sympathetic gun-control groups,” according to the Washington Times. Writes the Times:
Mr. Obama is trying to steamroll the Democratic and Republican majorities that kept the ban intact by labeling the advocacy as research. “While year after year, those who oppose even modest gun-safety measures have threatened to defund scientific or medical research into the causes of gun violence, I will direct the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce it,” said Mr. Obama.
Under the terms of the memo, CDC may “sponsor” another entity to conduct the research, which is a handy way of funneling taxpayer cash to sympathetic gun-control groups.
To sum up, then, Obama has shifted his campaign organization into a permanent lobbying group – and he just freed himself up to hand cash to that lobbying group from the government.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).