- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 22, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold launched a new nonprofit political advocacy group Wednesday focused on voters’ rights, campaign finance reform, protecting the independence of the U.S. Supreme Court and abolishing the Electoral College.

Feingold told The Associated Press that the goal of his group, called LegitAction, is to connect local activists with the larger movement and not be distracted by more trivial, daily controversies surrounding President Donald Trump.

“I want to make sure all of us who are concerned about the direction of the country keep their eye on the ball,” Feingold said. “We are not going to give up. We are going to fight this stuff.”

Feingold, 64, said there is growing concern that democracy is being delegitimized. He pointed to Trump winning the presidency through the Electoral College, while losing the popular vote, and the Republican Senate’s refusal to act on then-President Barack Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, as examples.

The group will be headed by Feingold’s longtime chief of staff, Mary Irvine. Feingold said he will not be an employee but he will do what he can to advance its agenda.

Formation of the group comes four months after Feingold lost a rematch for the U.S. Senate against Republican Ron Johnson. Feingold served three terms in the Senate before being ousted by Johnson in 2010.

Feingold said he doesn’t envision running for office again. He just completed teaching a course at American University in Washington, D.C., and he’s teaching a spring course at Stanford University on “fake news” and misinformation. Feingold said he also has a university teaching job lined up for next year that he’s not yet able to announce.

Feingold had previously headed a political action committee called Progressives United that he ended in 2015 before his Senate run. LegitAction may eventually have a political action committee.


Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sbauerAP and find more of his work at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/scott-bauer

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