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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Progressive Change Campaign Committee

playersguide2014_135pxPolitical leanings: Democratic/liberal

Spending target: Unknown

Formed in December 2008, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee aims to “elect bold candidates to Congress and mobilize around progressive policy priorities.” The group, which boasts over 950,000 members nationwide, was co-founded by Adam Green and Stephanie Taylor, two former organizers at MoveOn.org.

PCCC is a freestanding political action committee filing reports with the Federal Election Commission. It cannot accept donations from individuals of more than $5,000 per year, and it received six donations of that amount in 2012, including $5,000 each from billionaire philanthropist George Soros and his son, Jonathan.

The group gains attention through free publicity and Internet buzz more than through paid advertising. Some of the group’s recent campaigns have included fighting for a public-option in the Affordable Care Act, supporting net neutrality, pushing President Obama to let the George W. Bush-era tax cuts expire, and fighting against cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

In the 2012 election cycle, the group received about $3.7 million and spent just over $4 million. However, it spent modestly on donations to federal candidates and independent expenditures, totaling about $48,000 and $70,000, respectively. It also spent over $274,000 on Web ads and more than $125,000 on fundraising, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. But the group spent almost half of its money — $1.96 million — on salaries. PCCC spokesman Giovanni Hashimoto told us the salary spending includes using paid organizers for issue advocacy work.

In 2013, PCCC spent at least $121,000 campaigning against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — airing TV ads attacking his record on Social Security and gun control. The group has also been one of the most visible supporters of Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Despite Warren’s pledge not to run for president in 2016, PCCC has strongly promoted her in presidential primary states.

For the 2014 cycle, PCCC has raised more than $2.8 million, but has only made one contribution to a candidate for federal office. In 2013, it gave just over $2,600 to Massachusetts Democrat Carl Sciortino, who was defeated in his party’s primary in the race to fill the 5th Congressional District seat of Rep. Ed Markey, who was elected to the Senate in June of that year. The group has yet to spend any money on independent expenditures.