For-profit

Atlas Project

Website:

atlasproject.net

Formation:

2008

Type:

Democratic Campaign Consulting Firm

Founders:

Steve Rosenthal

Mary Beth Cahill

Michael Whouley

The Atlas Project is a Washington, D.C.-based campaign consulting firm that provides assistance to left-of-center political organizations. Since 2008 it has been paid more than $2.8 million for work done on behalf of clients such as the Democratic National Committee, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the America Votes Action Fund, and the Service Employees International Union.[1]

Atlas was co-founded by Steve Rosenthal, Mary Beth Cahill, and Michael Whouley.[2] As of 2018, Rosenthal was acting as president.[3]

Background

The Atlas Project is a campaign consulting firm that provides issue research, communications assistance and voter contact/targeting information to Democratic campaigns, labor unions, and left-of-center political organizations. It also provides a platform for the partner organizations to share that information with each other – what Atlas refers to as “serving as the institutional memory for progressives.”[4] This allows different organizations to learn from and improve upon the voter contacts they have each made through phone banks, direct mail, and door-to-door canvassing.[5]

Atlas campaign assistance is complimentary with that of Catalist, a for-profit data firm that services both left-of-center nonprofits and Democratic candidates and officeholders. The two organizations have worked together in the past, and in June 2018 formalized a data-sharing partnership.[6]

Atlas was founded in 2004 by long-time Democratic political campaign strategists Steve Rosenthal, Mary Beth Cahill and Michael Whouley.[7] As of 2018, Rosenthal was acting as president.[8]

Clients

From the 2008 federal election cycle, through early November 2018, the Atlas Project was paid more than $2.8 million for work assisting more than a dozen campaigns for Democrats, labor unions, and left-wing political organizations. The total amounts spent by each organization were as follows:[9]

Atlas Project Clients (2008-2018)

Total:$2,861,504
America Votes Action Fund$476,154
Democratic National Committee (DNC)$405,000
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)$360,000
International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) $305,000
Workers’ Voice SuperPAC $275,000
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) $223,100
House Majority PAC $185,000
NextGen Climate Action Committee $152,000
Women Vote! PAC $150,000
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) $101,000
American Association for Justice PAC $60,000
Association of State Democratic Chairs $37,750
American Bridge 21st Century $30,000
Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMART) $25,000
Giffords PAC (Americans for Responsible Solutions) $20,000
Americans for Responsible Solutions$,7500
United Steelworkers (USW)$10,000
Democratic Party of Virginia $10,000
Democratic Party of Wisconsin $7,500
EMILY’s List $6,000
National Education Association (NEA) Advocacy Fund $5,000
Human Rights Campaign Equality Votes $4,000
Democratic Executive Committee of Florida $2,500
Democratic Party of New Mexico $2,000
SOS for Democracy$1,500
Alaska Democratic Party $500

People

Steve Rosenthal

Steve Rosenthal is president and co-founder of the Atlas Project.[10] He has been known as a particularly aggressive campaign operative. In 2004, Donna Brazile, who would become chair of the DNC during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, complimented him for being “as mean and vicious as they come” and the “last great hope of the Democratic Party.”[11]

Rosenthal is an expert in the field of direct voter contact.[12] As AFL-CIO political director from 1995-2002, he deployed hundreds of union representatives to Congressional districts across the nation for political mobilization of AFL-CIO members, ultimately spending a budget of $30 million per election cycle. According to former AFSCME president Gerald McEntee, by 2002 Rosenthal’s effort had become the “best grass-roots mobilization program of any political group in the country.”[13] In 2003, Rosenthal became co-founder and CEO of America Coming Together (ACT), a liberal 527 political action committee with a budget of $142 million, offices in 17 states, and 3000 canvassers, that claimed to have made 16 million door-to-door contacts prior to Election Day 2004.[14]

He has a history of extensive contacts with labor unions and high-level left-wing strategists and donors, including George Soros, many of whom came together in the creation and funding of America Coming Together.[15]

In 2007, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) unanimously ruled that most of ACT’s 2004 campaign cycle donations had violated federal election law, and assessed a $775,000 fine – then the third-largest fine ever imposed by the FEC.[16]

Rosenthal is currently the president of two other political entities: The Organizing Group, and the Working for Us PAC.[17]

Mary Beth Cahill

Mary Beth Cahill is a co-founder of the Atlas Project. As of October 2018, she was the interim CEO of the Democratic National Committee.[18]
Before this she was director of the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) Washington, D.C., office, providing oversight of the union’s legislative and political work.[19] As of 2015, she was paid $152,383 by the UAW.[20]
She is also a current board member and former executive director of EMILY’s List, was the campaign manager of the 2004 U.S. Presidential campaign of former U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), and former chief of staff to the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts).[21]

Michael Whouley

Michael Whouley is a co-founder of the Atlas Project. He is CEO and co-founder of the Dewey Square Group, a for-profit public affairs consulting firm that works for both corporate clients and left-of-center politicians and interest groups.[22]
He was a campaign and political functionary for either the Democratic National Committee or the campaign of the nominee in each of the U.S. Presidential campaigns from 1992-2004. Like Rosenthal, he is a voter-turnout specialist, having run the GOTV (get out the vote) effort for the DNC during the 2006 midterm election.[23]

References

  1. “Disbursements: Atlas Project.” Federal Election Commission. Accessed November 14, 2018. fec.gov/data/disbursements
  2. “About.” Atlas Project. Accessed November 6, 2018. https://atlasproject.net/#about-us/
  3. “CATALIST JOINS FORCES WITH ATLAS PROJECT TOOLKIT.” Catalist. June 4, 2018. Accessed November 6, 2018.       https://catalist.us/news-innovation/2018-news/catalist-joins-forces-atlas-project/
  4. “About.” Atlas Project. Accessed November 6, 2018. https://atlasproject.net/#about-us/
  5. Smith, Ben. “Atlas Project ushers in new era.”Politico. November 18, 2011. Accessed November 12, 2018.  https://www.politico.com/story/2011/11/atlas-project-ushers-in-new-era-068693
  6. “CATALIST JOINS FORCES WITH ATLAS PROJECT TOOLKIT.” Catalist. June 4, 2018. Accessed November 6, 2018.       https://catalist.us/news-innovation/2018-news/catalist-joins-forces-atlas-project/
  7. “About.” Atlas Project. Accessed November 6, 2018. https://atlasproject.net/#about-us/
  8. “CATALIST JOINS FORCES WITH ATLAS PROJECT TOOLKIT.” Catalist. June 4, 2018. Accessed November 6, 2018.       https://catalist.us/news-innovation/2018-news/catalist-joins-forces-atlas-project/
  9. “Disbursements: Atlas Project.” Federal Election Commission. Accessed November 14, 2018. fec.gov/data/disbursements
  10. “Meet the Team.” The Organizing Group. Accessed November 9, 2018. http://www.organizinginc.com/team.html 
  11. Gerhart, Ann. “Ground War.” The Washington Post. July 6, 2004. Accessed November 9, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/2004/07/06/ground-war/f3811995-4fc2-4487-a151-7ca97f06185e/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ec95c71397c9
  12. “Meet the Team.” The Organizing Group. Accessed November 9, 2018. http://www.organizinginc.com/team.html
  13. Greenhouse, Steven. “Political Director of Labor Federation to Quit Post.” New York Times. August 5, 2002. Accessed November 9, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/05/us/political-director-of-labor-federation-to-quit-post.html
  14. Hayes, Chris. “Can the Democrats Win the Ground War at Home?” The Nation. November 30, 2005. Accessed November 6, 2018. https://www.thenation.com/article/can-democrats-win-ground-war-home/
  15. “America Coming Together: 2004.” OpenSecrets. Accessed November 6, 2018. https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail_contribs.php?cycle=2004&ein=200094706
  16. Vogel, Kenneth P. “Soros-linked group hit with huge fine.” Politico. August 29, 2007. Accessed November 6, 2018. https://www.politico.com/story/2007/08/soros-linked-group-hit-with-huge-fine-005555
  17. “Meet the Team.” The Organizing Group. Accessed November 9, 2018. http://www.organizinginc.com/team.html
  18. Parnes, Amie. Dems hold active discussions on 2020 debates.” The Hill. October 26, 2018. Accessed November 12, 2018.  https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/413163-dems-hold-active-discussions-on-2020-debates
  19. Shepardson, David. “UAW hires Dem Insider to Head Washington Effort.” Cruz & Associates. May 3, 2011. Accessed November 12, 2018. http://www.cruzandassociates.com/index.php?/posts/uaw_hires_dem_insider_to_head_washington_effort_read_more/
  20. United Auto Workers, IRS FORM 990, 2015.
  21. “Board.” EMILY’s List. Accessed November 12, 2018. https://www.emilyslist.org/bios/c/board
  22. “Michael Whouley.” Dewey Square Group. Accessed November 12, 2018. http://www.deweysquare.com/team/michael-whouley/; And “Clients.” Dewey Square Group. Accessed November 12, 2018. http://www.deweysquare.com/clients/
  23. Michael Whouley.” Dewey Square Group. Accessed November 12, 2018. http://www.deweysquare.com/team/michael-whouley/

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Steve Rosenthal
    Co-Founder, President
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