Sam Adams Alliance

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Sam Adams Alliance
Established 2006
Chairman Eric O'Keefe
Location Richmond, Virginia
Dissolved 2012

Sam Adams Alliance (SAM) was a non-profit organization based in Chicago, Illinois and Richmond, Virginia.[1][not in citation given] Founded in Chicago in 2006, the group described itself as a "fiercely independent organization dedicated to inspiring and encouraging grass-roots citizen activism."

The Sam Adams Alliance was founded to inspire and cultivate citizen activism. Initially, the organization provided new media and blogger training to free-market activists to help them effectively communicate online. It also launched three Wikipedia-style websites (Judgepedia, Ballotpedia, and Sunshine Review) so people could learn and engage in the conversation about issues affecting personal and economic freedom.[2] SAM also helped launch American Majority to train potential candidates for public office and campaign organizers, and the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which helps train and place investigative journalists.[3]

The organization took its name from Sam Adams, who is considered the "father of the American Revolution" for his role in connecting colonists in the 18th century American colonies. Adams allowed colonists to share information and experience with each other through writing and word-of-mouth in the hope of instigating a popular uprising against the British. The Sam Adams Alliance adopted this strategy of action - empowering people through innovative marketing and communications - as a way of increasing government accountability, supporting free market ideas, and returning true self-governance to the people.

The Sammies[edit]

Begun in 2007, the Sammies was an annual national awards program that honored outstanding achievements in citizen activism. John Stossel of FOX Business was the keynote speaker at the 2011 Sammies ceremony, held at Chicago’s Union Station in April 2011.

Named for Samuel Adams, this program recognized the accomplishments of engaged citizens involved in a range of activities. These activities included conducting voter-registration campaigns, running for public office, demanding transparency in government, developing new forms of citizen journalism that hold public officials accountable for their actions, educating children, rebuilding neighborhoods, and establishing free health-care clinics and food banks.

Marketing research[edit]

In March 2010, Sam Adams Alliance released the first of a series of "Activist Insights Reports" titled "Early Adopters: Reading the Tea Leaves,"[4] the first-ever comprehensive study of leaders in the tea party movement. The study, which received coverage from The New York Times,[5] Politico,[6] the Washington Times, U.S. News & World Report, and Rush Limbaugh, surveyed 50 active leaders in the movement on their motivations for becoming involved. It found that about half of tea party activists had never before been involved in politics, and that many became involved out of fear of passing on larger government and insurmountable debt to their children and grandchildren.

In August 2010, a follow up report exploring the Tea Party movement was released titled "Next Wave: A Surf Report."[7]

In September 2010, Sam Adams Alliance released their first "Market Insights Report" titled "Surface Tension: Tea Parties and the Political Establishment."[8]

Health Administration Bureau[edit]

On July 16, 2009, Sam Adams Alliance launched a project titled "Health Administration Bureau," featuring the video, "Health Rations And You."[9] Within minutes the blogosphere and social networking sites began linking to the project, especially the video. Michelle Malkin featured the project on her site.[10]

The video, which has a 1940's government educational film setting, is 2 minutes and 22 seconds in length, was viewed approximately 25,000 times in the first thirty six hours of its release according to the YouTube views counter. The film was entirely filmed and produced by Sam Adams Alliance staff and features no professional actors, only employees and family members.

Chicago Tea Parties[edit]

In February 2009, a blog posting on the Playboy website suggested that Sam Adams Alliance was involved in Rick Santelli's call for a "Chicago Tea Party" against President Barack Obama's housing rescue plan. The Playboy blog making this allegation was removed without explanation within two days. An article on Talking Points Memo based on the Playboy allegations was similarly removed.[11] Megan McArdle, writing for The Atlantic, suggested that the items were removed because it had "absolutely no verification of a fact ... central to its core thesis."[12]

The day after the Playboy piece was posted online, but before it was removed, Sam Adams Alliance posted a response on its website, "It would have been nice if we knew about it."[13] On Monday, March 2, Rick Santelli also posted a notice online asserting that he had never had any dealings with, and had no connections to, Sam Adams Alliance.

Policy positions[edit]

Sam Adams Alliance worked on behalf of individuals and groups who supported free market and free enterprise causes, and greater government accountability at all levels of government. The organization did not take overt policy positions, and evaluated the causes it supported on a case-by-case basis, judging them by the amount to which they advanced individual freedoms and responsible government.

Though the organization is often referred to as conservative or libertarian, it does not affiliate with any particular political ideology, and did not work with partisan political groups.


The Sam Adams Alliance was not endowed and did not accept government funding. The organization was funded by private donors.[14]


Eric O'Keefe was the Chairman and CEO of the Sam Adams Alliance. O'Keefe also serves on the boards of the Center for Competitive Politics, the Citizens In Charge Foundation, and the Club for Growth Wisconsin. Before working for the Alliance, O'Keefe was the President of Americans for Limited Terms from 1996 to 2000. In 2002, Americans for Limited Terms changed its name to Americans for Limited Government. O'Keefe served on its board until 2007.[15]


External links[edit]