Open letter to Grijalva and Lee Re: ProgressiveCongress.org and affiliated groups

Hon. Raul Grijalva and Hon. Barbara Lee
Congressional Progressive Caucus
Washington, DC

Dear Representatives Grijalva and Lee:

First of all, as someone committed to liberal causes and progressive policy initiatives, I want to thank you both for your tireless work in the Congressional Progressive Caucus.  The CPC is the conscience of Congress, and I hope you will continue to fight on behalf of those of us who believe in and desperately need government to work for the American people.

In today's note, I want to draw your attention to an organization that you are both Board members of: ProgressiveCongress.org.  You may be aware that the non-profit education and research organization maintains an affiliated lobbying arm, Progressive Congress Action Fund, which you are not on the Board of.  However, ProgressiveCongress.org and Progressive Congress Action Fund do not separate their web presence, and far more notoriously, the Donate page of ProgressiveCongress.org defaults to the donation form for the 501(c)(4) lobbying arm, not the 501(c)(3) non-profit.  To donate to the non-profit, one must click on another link from that page.

I am concerned that those visiting ProgressiveCongress.org with the credibility that your endorsement bestows upon it may be tempted to donate to the educational and research 501(c)(3) and may end up donating to the lobbying arm instead.  This lack of separation of the web presence and the donation page defaulting to the form to donate to the lobbying arm is troublesome, particularly when members of Congress are involved in (c)(3) side of the organization.  A clearly separated web presence is the best solution to this.  Lacking that, the donation form of a shared website of organizations with both a educational non-profit arm in which members of Congress are involved and a lobbying arm in which members of Congress are not involved should not default to the lobbying arm, it should default to the educational project.

Because the two organizations are so intertwined, I feel compelled to point out that Eve Gittelson, one of the key contributors to the FixItAndPassIt.org project, commissioned by the Action Fund has expressed agreement with the sentiment that President Obama is indifferent to the deaths of 45,000 Americans yearly who die due to the lack of health insurance.  A screen-shot from the project's official Facebook page is below.



To the extent that ProgressiveCongress.org and its associated organizations and persons derive credibility from your good names, I do not believe that you condone this type of rhetoric or behavior.

I ask you to bring this issue to the attention of Darcy Burner, the Executive Director of both organizations, and to resolve the issues.

Thank you for all you do.

Note: The letter above was emailed to progressive@mail.house.gov, since the individual Congressmembers' contact forms on their official websites are designed so that only constituents from their districts may email them.  This is true for all members of the House.