President Barack Obama’s political machine is determined to have enough of an impact in the 2014 midterm elections that Democrats win back the House, even though the group is prohibited from directly supporting political candidates.
While Organizing for Action (OFA) cannot spend money to back candidates running for office, it can use its vast resources to advocate on behalf of issues and it is free to target districts where Republicans are vulnerable. The group recently announced that it raised $4.8 million in the first quarter of 2013.
Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, said that OFA “can affect elections even if legally we can’t be involved with them.”
“This particular organization, the way it’s organized, legally, we can’t participate in elections,” she said, according to Politico. “That doesn’t mean that the issues we’re organizing around won’t mobilize the American people to vote for things. To vote for that economy we’ve been working toward, to vote for immigration reform.”
In February, the group took out Internet ads urging Congress to pass a gun control bill and the target list of 16 House members included many of the most vulnerable Republicans.
OFA is also pushing hard to gain support for a comprehensive immigration bill, calling for a “major day of action” next month.
“The president made it clear last year that comprehensive immigration reform is a big part of his agenda — and we can help him keep that promise to the American people,” said Emmy Ruiz, OFA’s immigration campaign manager, according to the Washington Examiner. “OFA supporters across the country are doing what they do best — organizing to get the word out about this reform bill.”
With Democrats needing a net gain of 17 seats to take back the House, the group can use its extensive database of voter information gathered during Obama’s presidential bids to engage voters on the issues in order to help increase turnout in the midterms.
“We’ll take it seriously. The president is hell-bent on taking back the House so he will have no resistance in 2015 and 2016,” Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, the National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, told Politico. “It’s all about making Nancy Pelosi speaker again.”
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