The campaign apparatus of President Barack Obama turned non-profit aimed at advancing his second-term agenda is allegedly making its first foray into outright partisanship, with reports emerging that the group has pitched donations on the premise of aiding Michelle Nunn’s Senate bid in Georgia.
According to Politico, “several political operatives and potential donors” passed word that Jon Carson, the group’s executive director, “made the pitch to help Nunn in various discussions this spring.”
Former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes, the last Democrat to hold the spot, echoed the sentiment in that same report.
“We did talk about her race,” he stated, recalling a conversation with Carson. “It was about helping her and everybody here. We need [OFA] to become involved in registering people who are now turning to us. That includes white women, Hispanics and, of course, African Americans. I was encouraging him to become more and more involved. I told him, ‘Y’all ought to get involved in this race.”
Chris Carpenter, a Georgia-based Democratic operative who also served as Barnes’s campaign manager in his failed 2010 bid to return to the Governor’s Mansion, remarked that indicating aid for Nunn was a more effective means of tapping Peach State donations as opposed to issue advocacy.
Yet those claims were met with pushback from OFA spokeswoman Katie Hogan, who stated the group “does not participate in electoral politics.”
Should Nunn ultimately receive outside assistance from the former campaign arm of Obama, whom Republicans will make every effort to tie her with over the next year, it would mark a clear departure from OFA’s original mission statement.
“Neither OFA nor its chapters will be involved in any way in elections or partisan political activity,” read a February response to a question posted on the group’s website. ““Its exclusive purpose is public policy advocacy and development, and in particular, both enactment of President Obama’s legislative agenda and the identification and advancement of other goals for progressive change at the state and local level.”
Fittingly enough for Republicans eager to define Nunn as out of step with a state in which the party holds every statewide elected office, OFA’s web address is still www.barackobama.com.