The Democracy Alliance is a network of progressive donors who coordinate their political donations to groups that the Alliance has endorsed. According to a June 2014 report by Politico, "The 21 groups at the core of the Democracy Alliance’s portfolio intend to spend $374 million during the midterm election cycle — including nearly $200 million this year — to boost liberal candidates and causes in 2014 and beyond." George Soros is a major donor to the Alliance. According to the Democracy Alliance's website, the group "was created to build progressive infrastructure that could help counter the well-funded and sophisticated conservative apparatus in the areas of civic engagement, leadership, media, and ideas."
A PowerPoint presentation, "The Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix", created by Rob Stein and shown to individuals and small groups of donors in 2003 and 2004, is often credited as being the impetus for the group's formation.
The first meeting of the Democracy Alliance was held at The Boulders near Scottsdale, Arizona in April 2005. Rob Stein, who created the PowerPoint presentation, "The Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix", was installed as temporary CEO, pending the group's selection of a permanent leader.
At the Democracy Alliance's second meeting, held at the Chateau Elan near Atlanta, Georgia in October 2005, management consultant Judy Wade was installed as the CEO of the organization. At the group's fourth meeting in Miami in November 2006, Wade was replaced with Kelly Craighead.
In 2012, the Democracy Alliance ceased funding a number of prominent progressive organizations. According to the Huffington Post, "The groups dropped by the Democracy Alliance tend to be those that work outside the [Democratic] party's structure." This move cost the Democracy Alliance the support of Soros ally Peter B. Lewis, the billionaire founder of Progressive Auto Insurance.
According to the Huffington Post, the Democracy Alliance "is largely divided into two camps: one that prefers to focus on electing Democrats to office, and another that argues for more attention to movement and progressive infrastructure building in order to create a power center independent of the Democratic Party apparatus."
Gara LaMarche is the president of the Democracy Alliance. LaMarche, a longtime progressive activist and close ally of George Soros, assumed the post in 2013. Prior to LaMarche's hiring, Hillary Clinton aide Kelly Craighead led the Alliance. Howard Dean has previously been considered as a potential president for the Democracy Alliance.
Board of directors
The board of directors for the Democracy Alliance includes John Stocks, Patricia Bauman, Paul Egerman, Weston Milliken, Gara LaMarche, James Gollin, Mary Kay Henry, David DesJardins, Chris Findlater, Nick Hanauer, Farhad Ebrahimi, Cookie Parker, and Rob Stein.
The Alliance recommends a portfolio of progressive organizations that collaborate with each other. The Democracy Alliance's “Progressive Infrastructure Map" includes 172 organizations, 21 of which are considered core groups. Organizations funded by the Democracy Alliance include:
- Center for American Progress
- Media Matters for America
- America Votes
- Organizing for Action
- American Constitution Society
- Black Civic Engagement Fund
- Brennan Center for Justice
- Center for Community Change
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
- Latino Engagement Fund
- New Media Ventures
- New Organizing Institute
- Progressive Majority
- State Voices
- Women's Equality Center
- Youth Engagement Fund
- Common Purpose Project
- Fund for the Republic
- State Engagement Initiative
- Center for Media and Democracy
- Community. Strategy. Investment. Impact. "...progressive infrastructure, ...progressive philanthropy, ...progressive agenda, ...progressive community." Official website. Retrieved: 20 October 2014.
- Vogel, Kenneth (2014-06-23). "Inside the vast liberal conspiracy". Politico. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
- "Democracy Alliance". Democracy Alliance. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
- "How Vast The Left Wing Conspiracy", transcript of Hudson Institute panel discussion partly on the Democracy Alliance (with participation from its founder Rob Stein), November 30, 2006
- VandeHei, Jim (2006-07-17). "A New Alliance of Democrats Spreads Funding; But Some in Party Bristle At Secrecy and Liberal Tilt". The Washington Post. p. A01. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
- Bai (2006), p. 293
- "More Turnover at a Big Donor Shop", U.S. News & World Report, April 16, 2007
- "Big $$ for Progressive Politics", The Nation, October 16, 2006
- Grim, Ryan (2012-2-28). "Democracy Alliance Dumps Progressive Organizations". Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 June 2014. Check date values in:
- Grim, Ryan (10/8/2013). "Democracy Alliance, Network Of Rich Liberal Donors, Signals Shift Away From Partisan Political Activity". Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 June 2014. Check date values in:
- GOP plans to replicate success of Democracy Alliance and other liberal groups Politico, May 6, 2010
- Conservative Groups Focus on Messaging, but What Message Newsweek, May 7, 2010
- Official website
- "Rich Liberals Vow to Fund Think Tanks: Aim Is to Compete With Conservatives", Washington Post, August 7, 2005