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MoveOn: Internet fundraiser for Democratic Party
Coverage of the "Censure and Move On" Campaign
MoveOn started as an online petition asking the Congress to "censure Pres. Clinton and move on to pressing issues facing the nation." By the end of the impeachment scandal over 500,000 people had signed the petition and many had pledged money for the election to come. The following excerpts describe that time in MoveOn's history.
If the Democrats take control of the House, MoveOn.org will share in the credit. Targeting 28 races, including several "battleground" seats, the network has raised more than $1.85 million in contributions from 43,232 individuals. "Looks like we'll exceed $2 million," Blades says. Such political fundraising is an antidote to the corporate PACs and other large special-interest contributions that are "really distorting the process in a rather disturbing way," Blades adds. "These are regular people, average people, saying 'We want people reflecting our values to represent us.'"
- The Industry Standard / October 30, 2000 (full text of article online)
One of the first online political action committees, MoveOn.org, has raised about $1.7 million for 29 Democratic candidates on an issue that has largely disappeared as a major political issue -- the impeachment of President Clinton. Created in September 1998, before fundraising online had caught on as an essential campaign tool, two software developers, Wes Boyd and Joan Blades, created MoveOn to urge House lawmakers to quickly resolve the impeachment issue. By July 1999, the web site had raised $350,000, the first time in politics anyone had been able to raise six figures on the Internet, and the money has kept pouring in. "The great thing about the $1.7 million is that it came from 40,000 individual contributors and so we are really bringing the small donor to these campaigns in a way that has never been done before," said Boyd. "MoveOn is the PAC of the future, if we are lucky. They permit donors to select which candidates (from an approved list) get their money. Small donors getting involved invigorates democracy," said Mike Cornfield, a professor at George Washington's School of Political Management.
- National Journal / October 18, 2000
It sounded like a good idea at the time. But nearly a year and a half after a political action committee was formed to protect the House impeachment managers from an expected backlash in the 2000 elections, it is on the brink of collapse, a victim of political winds that have shifted dramatically in the past year... As of the end of June, it had raised a total of $76,787 and had only doled out a single contribution to a Member, a $1,000 check to Rep. Jim Rogan (R-Calif.), a vocal impeachment manager who is in serious jeopardy of losing his seat... In contrast with the House Impeachment Managers PAC, MoveOn.org an online fundraising effort dedicated to defeating incumbents who voted to impeach Clinton, has raked in $1.5 million since it was created last year and currently ranks 16th in overall PAC receipts.
- National Journal / October 16, 2000
Witness also the rise of grassroots organizations developed solely on the Internet. Last year, MoveOn.org was an Internet startup created in a home office with no funding. In less than 12 weeks, this grassroots guerilla enterprise signed up over 500,000 supporters and received pledges of $13 million. Frankly, this one web upstart was more effective than many established organizations can claim in a year's worth of effort.
- Republican National Committee web site / April 20, 2000 (full text at rnc.org website)