Under fire from watchdog groups and editorial writers, the pro-Obama advocacy group Organizing for Action has announced that it will no longer accept corporate money and will more fully disclose contributions.
“We have now decided not to accept contributions from corporations, federal lobbyists or foreign donors,” OFA’s national chairman, Jim Messina, wrote in a CNN.com op-ed posted Thursday. While as a tax-exempt social welfare group OFA “faces a lower disclosure threshold than a campaign,” wrote Messina, “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.”
Criticism of the group has been mounting since President Barack Obama’s campaign organizers announced its formation in January. Messina was Obama’s campaign manager, and top bundlers who round up $500,000 or more for the group will reportedly receive invitations to quarterly meetings with the president.
Common Cause President Bob Edgar has called on Obama to shut the group down, and Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer has also said the group should close up shop. Republicans on Capitol Hill have also voiced complaints, and the pro-GOP super PAC American Crossroads last week released a video lampooning OFA as “Organizing for Access.”
In the CNN.com op-ed and in a post on the OFA website, Messina stresses that the group’s mission is to counter the power of special interests, not leverage them.