The New York Times
March 2, 2013
It is tempting to applaud the nonprofit group now spending nearly $100,000 on ads to pressure Republican lawmakers to accept gun-control measures. The group is fighting a well-financed and powerful corporate gun lobby that has never hesitated to spend millions to get its way in Congress.
But a closer look at this group shows how disturbing its work really is. Its name is Organizing for Action, and if its initials seem familiar, that’s because the group is the direct descendant of Obama for America, the president’s campaign organization in 2008 and 2012. That organization is now defunct, but its new incarnation has its extremely valuable voter database and many of the same strategists. What it does not have are the campaign’s old limits on who can donate money and how much they can give.
In fact, there are no limits, because the group has reorganized as a 501(c)(4), a so-called social welfare group unbound by campaign restrictions. Corporations and billionaires can write checks of any size, aware that they are giving to a group with close ties to the White House, one that is busily promoting President Obama’s agenda. And now that this White House has torn down the last wall between its needs and those of special interests, others in the future will undoubtedly do the same.