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MoveOn shuts down 527

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
In another example of the Obama campaign wanting to show more control over Democratic independent groups -- and maybe more importantly, those groups listening -- MoveOn.org has shuttered its 527. (See release and e-mail to supporters after the jump.)

Obama camp will likely try to take the high road on the issue of 527s, particularly if 527s ramp up efforts for McCain. Thus far, Obama has benefitted more than McCain from independent groups like MoveOn.

*** UPDATE *** A Democratic source tells First Read that this has less to do with anything Obama has said and more to do with MoveOn wanting to flex its muscle at Republicans. MoveOn hasn't used its 527 since 2004, and has instead used its PAC to raise money. MoveOn will still be as active as ever, but this move is almost a dare to Republicans. If they don't use 527s, the source said, they have nothing that can match MoveOn.

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MoveOn.org Political Action
For Immediate Release: Friday, June 20, 2008
MoveOn Shuts Down Dormant 527; Will Continue All Small-Donor Driven Election Work; Group Plans To Spend $35 Millon This Cycle From Small Donor PAC

MoveOn.org will run all of its 2008 electoral activity out of its small donor-driven federal political action committee, MoveOn.org Political Action, and will permanently shut down its Voter Fund, a 527 that it operated in the 2004 election but has not used since that time. MoveOn.org Political Action has 3.2 million members who make average contributions of under $50. MoveOn Political Action plans to spend $35 million this election cycle.

"The small-donor driven politics that built MoveOn and the progressive movement has helped to drive Barack Obama's candidacy," said Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org. "We've always believed this new kind of politics can change our country and end the gridlock in DC. And now is the time to let the voices of ordinary Americans be heard in this election."
Since 1998, when the group started, it has raised $122 million only 10% came in donations of over $5000.

MoveOn has committed its resources to grassroots and issue-based activities this election cycle, starting with the 700 bake sales members will hold around the country this weekend to raise funds to help fund efforts to elect Barack Obama.

To find a bake sale near you, visit:
Here is the email sent to MoveOn members today:

E-mail to supporters below:
From: Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org Political Action
Date: Fri, Jun 20, 2008
Go all in on new politics?

Dear MoveOn Member,
For almost ten years, we've worked together to change American politics. Millions of us have collaborated to build a new progressive moment, catalyzed by the Internet and motivated by our belief that the country we love deserves better.

Now, in Barack Obama, we have a Presidential candidate who has based his campaign on precisely that kind of new politics-a people-driven politics focused on the outside-of-the-beltway consensus around Iraq, climate change, and health care, not the gridlock in Washington.

Using a lot of the tools and techniques developed by the progressive movement-as well as a visionary approach to leadership-Obama's brought millions of new people into the process. And, following in the footsteps of Howard Dean, ActBlue, and other innovators, he's adopted a new way of funding a campaign-relying on a donor base of millions rather than contributions by lobbyists and special interests.

It's a very exciting moment. And so the time has come to answer an important question: should we make an all-in commitment, together, to this new politics?

While MoveOn Political Action has always been funded exclusively by small donors like you, we've held open the MoveOn.org Voter Fund-a separate "527" organization-which can raise money from big donors. We haven't actually taken any big-money checks since 2004, when MoveOn members matched big contributors to educate voters about George Bush's policies. But in light of the new politics offered by Barack Obama, I've come to believe it's time to close the 527 forever-and to challenge organizations on the right to do the same thing.
That means that we won't raise any money for our election work from foundations, unions, or even individuals who want to give over $5,000. It's an all-in commitment to the small-donor way of doing things. But the time is right to take the leap.

Not relying on big donors means that all of us, together, have to take responsibility. So before we sign the final paperwork, we need to know that you're in. Are you? Just click below to take the pledge and let us know:

And if you have any other thoughts or feedback for me on this decision, you can reply to epariser@moveon.org (I can't promise that I'll respond to all the emails, but I'll definitely read 'em).

We've come a long way together in our journey toward a new people-driven politics for America. It's been a wonderful honor to be part of it. And this is just the beginning.

Thanks,
-Eli and the whole team

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