FixitAndPassIt.org cleans up act, sort of

Last Friday, I wrote about the website FixItAndPassIt.org, a project of Progressive Congress Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) and a partisan lobbying organization essentially mixing and mingling their non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3) operations of ProgressiveCongress.org.  Both organizations have the same Executive Director, Darcy Burner.  The Progressive Congress Action Fund launched the Fix It And Pass It project, spearheaded by Noelle Bell and Eve Gittelson, who apparently believes that President Obama is indifferent to the plight of uninsured Americans.



At any rate, I had called the press contact (Doug Gordon at (202) 494-5141) for this project and left a message asking two questions:
  1. Would donations to the non-partisan C3, Progressive Congress (NOT the Action fund) be used for FixItAndPassIt.org efforts?
  2. Does the non-partisan non-profit and the Action Fund have the same Board of Directors?  If not, who are in the Board of Directors for the Action Fund (the 501(c)(4))?
Well it appears that they have answered the questions, even if they didn't bother with the courtesy of returning my phone call.  But we do know who is on the Board of Directors of the Action Fund, and who is on the Board of the non-partisan non-profit C3.  Here are some people who are on the Board of the non-profit, but are curiously missing from the Board of the Action Fund:
  • U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva - Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair
  • U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee - Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Emeritus 
  • Markos Moulitsas – Founder of DailyKos.com
What's so interesting about this list?  First of all, the primary project of the Action Fund now is to call Congress to "fix" the Senate health bill first and for the House to not pass it until the fixes happen.  But the Action Fund is missing the two members of Congress that are willing to be on the Board of the associated but non-lobbying non-profit.  Perhaps that's because members of Congress are not allowed to be on the Boards of lobbying organization.  That, of course, begs the question of why the non-profit is so closely intertwined with the lobbying arm.  Furthermore, one should notice that if you visit ProgressiveCongress.org and click on 'Donate', the default 'Donate' page gives your money to the lobbying arm, not the research and educational foundation.  How do I know?  From this disclosure, at the bottom of the form:
Your donation will go to the 501(c)(4) Progressive Congress Action Fund. Gifts are not tax-deductible, but funds can be used for lobbying and political organizing. To make a tax-deductible donation (for research and education) please donate to our 501(c)(3) non-profit, ProgressiveCongress.org.
I am wondering if the members of Congress on this Board are aware that they are lending their names to an organization that does not separate its educational and lobbying web sites, and whose donate page leads, by default, to the lobbying arm's donation form.  I will be releasing an open letter to Reps. Grijalva and Lee regarding this shortly.  Stay tuned.

In the mean time, let's look at the other notable absence.  The absence of Markos Moulitsas, the founder and publisher of the most influential liberal and self-proclaimed "reform" blog from the Board of the Action fund is rather telling, in my opinion.  Is it because he does not want to be seen as fundraising to pay two of the regulars on his website's 'Recommended Diaries' list (Noelle Bell and Eve Gittelson)?  I doubt that.  After all, when Darcy Burner posts on Daily Kos (and she has posted numerous diaries), they, too, shoot up to the 'Recommended' list, and Markos is on the Board of the non-profit, which Burner also runs (and presumably generates income from).  So Markos' absence is rather puzzling.  The only sane explanation I can come up with is that Markos is in fact not aligned entirely with the goals of the Action Fund or its Fix It And Pass It project, which seeks to hold health reform hostage to unattainable demands - which will only serve to derail health care legislation rather than pass it at this point - of the inclusion of a public option and a Medicare buy-in.  It is the "kill the bill" strategy couched in "we wanna make it better" rhetoric.

I am still smelling something, and it smells rotten.