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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Americans United for Change


Political leanings: Democratic/Liberal

Spending target: Unknown


Americans United for Change was previously called Americans United to Protect Social Security, a labor-funded liberal group formed in 2005 to oppose President George W. Bush’s Social Security proposal. The group changed its name in 2006.

United for Change is registered under the IRS code as a 501(c)(4) — meaning it does not have to disclose its donors. However, the liberal group MoveOn.org reported that it has given Americans United for Change nearly $800,000 since 2006, including $300,000 so far this campaign cycle, through its political action committee. Other donors include PACs for the Teamsters and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

The group’s leaders include: Acting Executive Director Tom McMahon, a former executive director of the Democratic National Committee, and Deputy Executive Director Caren Benjamin, a former aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Brad Woodhouse was the group’s executive director, before leaving in 2009 to become the DNC’s director of communications.

Its stated mission for the 2010 campaign cycle “is to amplify the progressive message — to contribute to a grass roots groundswell for progressive policies.” Its current campaigns include health care, financial regulation, employee rights and energy.

The group often runs ads urging residents to write or call their senator or House member in an attempt to influence votes on key issues, or ads attacking members of Congress who don’t support its position.