OFA Raised $8.2 Million In Second Quarter, Most From Small Donors

07/12/2013 05:36 pm ET | Updated Jul 12, 2013
AP

WASHINGTON -- Organizing for Action, the political nonprofit formed out of the former Obama campaign, raised $8.2 million in the second quarter of 2013, according to numbers provided to The Huffington Post. That's a major increase over the $4.9 million OFA raised in the first three months.

For the year so far, the nonprofit has pulled in $13.1 million from 237,000 donors, for an average donation of $55. The group has spent the months since Obama's reelection seeking to bolster his agenda by organizing supporters around gun background check legislation, comprehensive immigration reform, the president's climate change agenda and the implementation of health care reform.

"In just our second quarter, OFA more than doubled the number of donors that have stepped up and taken ownership of the future of this organization," an OFA official said in a statement. "98% of OFA's contributors have been from small dollar donations with an average contribution of $55 making this truly a grassroots funded operation."

Small donors -- those giving less than $250 in aggregate -- actually represented 56 percent of the total dollar amount OFA received in the second quarter. That's a strong indication that, even without Obama running for office, his supporters are still actively backing his administration.

Still, big donors -- those giving more than $10,000 -- provided the lion's share of the contributions over $250. They accounted for 74 percent of all contributions greater than $250 and 33 percent of total donations.

The biggest contributors in the second quarter were well-known Democratic donors, many of whom previously gave to Priorities USA Action, the super PAC backing Obama's reelection. Fred Eychaner, CEO of Newsweb and one of the biggest Obama super PAC donors of 2012, gave $500,000 to OFA, as did hedge fund founder David Shaw, another Obama super PAC donor. Environmental activist and New York real estate heiress Amy Goldman gave $250,000. OFA's other six-figure donors included Diamond Resorts' Stephen Cloobeck, McAfee's Kenneth Levine, liberal philanthropists William and Judith Scheide, and LGBT activist Jon Stryker.

OFA is organized as a 501(c)(4) social welfare nonprofit and is therefore not required to disclose its donors, but the organization announced upon its formation that it would voluntarily disclose contributions on a quarterly basis. It has also voluntarily refused to accept contributions from corporations and lobbyists, but does receive in-kind donations from the National Education Association in the form of office space.

On the other hand, the nonprofit does not disclose its spending -- something that political committees are required to do on a quarterly basis.

OFA initially announced a fundraising target of $50 million for its first year, but cut that in half after the slow first quarter. The revised target is in sight, based on current fundraising totals.

The nonprofit has run a number of campaigns to back major Obama administration proposals this year. In June, it launched a seven-figure advertising push to promote health care reform. In early July, it held rallies in support of immigration reform -- with mixed success -- to raise pressure on the House to pass a bill. In the spring, the group organized its supporters to urge their senators and representatives to pass background check legislation, which ultimately failed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.

Despite voicing a desire to let its supporters drive the issues it will tackle, OFA has conspicuously refused to comment on the Keystone XL pipeline, the construction of which is widely opposed by progressive activists. OFA has said that it will not pressure Obama on this issue even if its supporters want to.

Aaron Bycoffe contributed reporting.

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