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.
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.” 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.
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.
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:
Atlas Project Clients (2008-2018)
|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|
|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|
Steve Rosenthal is president and co-founder of the Atlas Project. 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.”
Rosenthal is an expert in the field of direct voter contact. 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.” 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. As of 2015, she was paid $152,383 by the UAW.
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).
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.
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.