The Creepy Donors Behind OFA
Organizing for Action (OFA) is the successor to Organizing for America, Barack Obama’s reelection campaign. This is proof that despite winning in 2012, Mr. Obama continues to be the Campaigner-in-Chief if nothing else. While Harry Reid- Nevada’s solution for insomnia- suffers from KBPDS (Koch Brother Paranoid Derangement Syndrome), OFA is organized as a 501(c)4 organization that most likely received no scrutiny from Lois Lerner and the IRS. They are the group behind the silly “pajama boy” advertisement that was supposed to get young, uninsured people to sign up for Obamacare because we all know that young, healthy, uninsured people sit around in footsie pajamas sucking down hot chocolate thinking about health care insurance.
Its leaders are a who’s who of Obama campaign operatives- Jon Carson, Jim Messina, David Axelrod, Adrian Saenz. While Harry Reid rants and raves and Obama chides a Supreme Court regarding donors having influence in government, the OFA has come under scrutiny. In 2013 it was revealed that donors of $500,000 or more automatically places them on OFA’s advisory board which automatically gives you a quarterly meeting with Mr. Obama.
Opensecrets.org recently did an excellent piece on some of the biggest donors to OFA. The following is a summary of the $150,000 and up crowd.
At the top is investment banker David Shaw with $1 million in donations. He served on the White House Council of Advisors on Science and Technology for both Clinton and Obama. In the past, he also donated $1.3 million to Priorities USA Action, a Democratic super-PAC. Since 1989, Shaw’s company has spent $1.2 million lobbying Congress. This happened when his company acquired a wallboard company. Shaw lobbied Congress for changes in the bankruptcy code since the company faced bankruptcy from asbestos claims. Of course, when your personal wealth is $4 billion, giving $1 million to OFA and over $6 million in campaign donations to Democrats, it is but a drop in the proverbial bucket. It also gets you access to Mr. Obama and changes in the bankruptcy code.
At a paltry $750,000 is Amy Goldman Fowler. From the looks of it, other than gardening causes, Ms. Fowler has never worked a day in her life living off her father’s inheritance who made it rich off of New York real estate in the 1980s. Her biggest campaign contributions have been to Planned Parenthood Votes, Priorities USA Action and American Bridge 21st Century- a cause that looks for dirt on Republican opposition candidates. Thus far in the 2014 cycle, she has donated $250,000 to EMILIY’s List. And how is this for irony? She has the honor of being the first campaign donor to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision when she wrote a check for $32,400 to the DNC thus putting her over $90,000 in aggregate contributions.
At #3 is Ryan Smith at $351,260. He is described variously as “self-employed,” unemployed,” and “venture capitalist.” As the website notes, “…the sources of Smith’s funds and interests remain mysterious.” Where are you Harry Reid when we need you?
John and Marcia Goldman, two San Francisco-based philanthropists, have donated a paltry $325,000. John D. Goldman’s father got rich in the (wait for it) insurance industry and the younger Goldman followed in his father’s footsteps along with some work in California state government. However, today their occupations are “philanthropists.”
At $285,000 Barbara Grassechi and Anthony Crabb are next. Speaking of foreign influences, Crabb is from Great Britain who struck it rich in Silicon Valley before founding Puma Vineyards along with Grassechi. Today, the Brit lists “farmer” as his occupation. Grassechi was a bundler for the 2012 Obama campaign having raised between $200,000-$500,000. That must be some good wine. And they gave $100,000 to the Committee for Charlotte and another $100,000 for Obama’s 2013 inauguration. That is close to a million dollars worth of “non-influence.” Their other main cause seems to gay and lesbian rights.
Mark Gallogly has donated $200,000. He was also a bundler for Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns bringing in close to $1 million. In 2009, he was appointed to Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and in 2011 to Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. He has attended state dinners at the White House and has met with Treasury officials regarding the Dodd-Frank law. His investment firm invests in companies that lobby Congress, most notably Santander Consumer which lobbied Washington regarding auto loans.
Also at $200,000 is Kenneth Levine, a venture capitalist. Since the late 1980s, his company has helped secure over $300 million in government contracts. He founded NitroSecurity, a software security company that eventually was sold to McAfee. McAfee, in turn, received a contract from the Department of Defense to develop anti-virus software. This was in 2011. He stayed on at McAfee as a paid consultant, but left in March of this year but not before donating $32,400 to the DNC. He was also instrumental in 2012 having drafted talking points disparaging Mitt Romney’s tenure as Governor of Massachusetts.
John Stryker also donated $200,000 to the OFA. He heads the Stryker Corporation which invented the mobile hospital bed. In 2013, the company made $9 billion selling artificial joints and other medical devices. He, along with his siblings, have invested heavily in toppling Republican legislators in their native Michigan, and Colorado. He is also known as the largest single contributor to LGBT causes… and the preservation of ape habitats. His finances are handled by Mark O’Donnell, former partner to ex-New Jersey Governor James (“I am a gay American”) McGreevey. This is getting way too incestuous, so I will move on.
San Francisco Bay area philanthropist Laure Woods, whose family made a fortune in California oil fields and later developed Beverly Hills, gave $190,500. Her expertise is apparently in abortion rights since she has also given to EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood…and Allison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky and Natalie Tennant in West Virginia, along with a $60,000 donation to Women Vote!- a pro-choice group.
And finally- Wayne Jordan and Mary Quinn Delaney at $150,000. This couple was among the earliest supporters of Obama in 2007. They have held fundraisers and bundled close to $750,000 between them in 2012. Jordan’s wife- Delaney- formerly served on the Northern California ACLU’s board of directors and has donated generously to pro-choice causes. They are very active in the Akonadi Foundation which supports “the development of a powerful social change movement to eliminate structural racism and create a racially just society.” That should get Eric Holder’s ear. Jordan is active in Democracy Alliance, a dark money group considered the liberal answer to the Koch brothers.
Although not a major donor, there is good news for Harry Reid. San Antonio-based psychologist Paul Boskind has donated $70,000 to OFA. His $70,000 plus donation to OFA and an additional $200,000 in bundled funds to Obama’s 2012 reelection effort has gained him access to the White House on more than 12 occasions. He is also active in LGBT causes. Perhaps they can use space in the White House to give Harry Reid some therapy given his obvious mental disorder.