Jim Messina, former campaign manager for President Barack Obama, wrote in an op-ed published Thursday that Organizing for Action — the nonprofit spawned from Obama's campaign operation — will not accept corporate donations, an area for which the group had drawn criticism.
In the piece published by CNN.com, Messina, the national chairman of Organizing for Action, tried to provide clarity on the purpose of the group, which was launched in January.
"There has been some confusion about what Organizing for Action is and is not," Messina wrote. "Organizing for Action is an issue advocacy group, not an electoral one. We'll mobilize to support the president's agenda, but we won't do so on behalf of political candidates. The president has always believed that special interests have undue influence over the policymaking process, and the mission of this organization is to rebalance the power structure."
Organizing for Action has been the subject of intense scrutiny for its ability to raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, given that many of the former Obama campaign aides running the organization were previously critical of big money donors. The Karl Rove-led group American Crossroads released a video earlier this week that lampooned the apparent hypocrisy on the part of the Obama team. But Messina wrote Thursday that the group has shifted its position on that front.
"While Organizing for Action is a nonprofit social welfare organization that faces a lower disclosure threshold than a political campaign, we believe in being open and transparent," Messina wrote. "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 decided not to accept contributions from corporations, federal lobbyists or foreign donors."