Jon Carson, the executive director of Organizing for Action, a nonprofit group formed from President Obama’s re-election campaign, staunchly defended OFA as “issue-based” and nonpartisan in a new article in USA Today, saying the group will hold both parties accountable to ensure they advance “the agenda endorsed by the majority of the American people.”
Mr. Carson wrote that special interests have flooded Capitol Hill since the November elections to oppose Mr. Obama’s agenda on immigration and gun control, for example, and “until now, there has been no organization to represent the majority of Americans who voted for the president’s agenda.”
“We are not a partisan organization; we will hold both Republicans and Democrats accountable to ensure that they are advancing the agenda endorsed by the majority of the American people,” Mr. Carson wrote. “We are not a political organization, and our focus is issues, not elections.”
He added that the group has gone “above and beyond” laws governing the country’s nonprofit groups and rejects donations from federal lobbyists, political action committees and corporations.
But government watchdog groups already were lamenting the president’s decision to accept unlimited corporate donations to fund his inauguration celebration. They were doubly disappointed when Jim Messina, his 2012 re-election campaign chairman, announced the creation of the new tax-exempt group that is so closely associated with the president and can raise unlimited sums from donors as long as it uses the money to promote policy.
Under intense questioning from reporters this week about OFA’s mission, White House press secretary Jay Carney dismissed arguments that the group is inherently partisan and political in its goal of supporting the president’s policy agenda.
“It will not take a position in elections; it’s focused on policy issues,” Mr. Carney said, mentioning immigration reform, deficit reduction and gun control as three agenda items the group has promoted so far. “The president’s policy agenda, which Organizing for Action has been designed to promote, consists of item after item that have had bipartisan support in the past, that should have bipartisan support in the future.”