On Monday, Jon Carson, Executive Director of Organizing For America, told a small group of supporters at a New York City fundraising event what everyone in the political world already knew: OFA will stop pretending it’s a 501(c)(4) over the next several months and will gear up to use all its available resources to defeat Republican candidates in the 2014 Congressional midterm elections.
501(c)(4)s are forbidden under law from “direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”
OFA is the latest iteration of Obama’s Presidential campaign apparatus, calling itself a non profit “social welfare” organization.
“At the appropriate point, in 2014, you will stop seeing email ‘asks’ from us around a given issue, and the campaign side will take over,” Carson said, according to a report on the Washington Free Beacon.
Then Carson gave the audience the legal language that constitutes an utterly transparent “wink and a nod.” “Now, as a nonprofit, non-electoral organization, we won’t ever send out an email saying, ‘Now go work for candidate such-and-such.’ “
“But here’s the thing.” Carson told the rapt audience, “We’re going to organize people around these issues, and one of two things is gonna happen. Either Republicans like Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and others are gonna realize they better start voting the right way, or I think we’re going to have a pretty energized army of people ready to go over to that electoral side. So that’s how we see that happening in 2014.”
Even the Los Angeles Times has reported that OFA is “now a well-organized wing of the Democratic National Committee”:
The hangover organization of the perpetual Obama presidential campaign is now a well-organized wing of the Democratic National Committee. And it would like to organize even more than it already has organized during the campaigner-in-chief’s first 15-plus months of campaigning for 2012.
If you thought all those “grass-roots” watch parties, support groups, e-mail and telephone campaigns were amply abundant in the effort to convince his own majority congressional Democrats to vote for the White House Democrat’s healthcare bill, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
This escalating “wink and a nod” violation of the intent of numerous federal election laws has clearly been OFA’s intention since its January re-imagining. Neither OFA’s management, the Democratic Party’s leadership, nor the Obama administration appear to think anyone will have the temerity to challenge the legality of OFA’s actions.
It remains to be seen who in the conservative movement will step up to mount a public challenge to OFA’s audacious violation of the spirit, and quite likely the letter, of federal election law.
Photograph: Los Angeles Times