For-profit

CREDO Mobile (Working Assets)

Formation:

1985

Formerly:

Working Assets (1985-2007)

CREDO Mobile (formerly Working Assets) is a cell-phone company that explicitly uses its profits to support left-wing causes. Through doing business with CREDO its customers “fund progressive causes and power social activism.” [1] Left-of-center groups that have received funding from CREDO include Planned Parenthood, United We Dream, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). [2]

Background

CREDO was founded as Working Assets in 1985. It rebranded itself in 2007, taking the current name CREDO Mobile. [3] Working Assets launched the Working Assets Credit Card, which donated to left-wing nonprofits every time the card was used. In 1991, Working Assets introduced “Citizen Actions” on billing statements which highlighted political issues and allowed members to make free calls to lobby decision makers. “Citizen Actions” during the 1990s included advocating for government-controlled health care, opposing then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s (R-GA) Contract with America, and supporting higher taxes. [4]

In 2000, Working Assets founded its mobile phone service and ActForChange.com, now known as CREDO Action, where members can send emails to targeted leaders. Over the first 20 years in operation Working Assets donated $50,000,000 to left-wing non-profits including over $500,000 to Rainforest Action Network, Oxfam America, Global Fund for Women, and over $1,000,000 to Planned Parenthood. [5]

In October 2016, Ray Morris, a 20-year veteran of the wireless industry and formerly CEO of the online e-commerce site ClickBank, was chosen to lead CREDO. He promised to focus more on philanthropy as opposed to direct activism and immediately began new investments in CREDO Donation, which supports nonprofit and advocacy groups through CREDO corporate donations, rather than through individual donations from CREDO customers.[6]

In January 2020, CREDO shut down CREDO Action and let several employees go, including a vice president in charge of the division. Morris stated that while the company would continue to support liberal causes through philanthropic donations, “beginning today we will no longer be engaging in direct activism campaigns.”[7]

Left-Wing Economics

CREDO supports the far-left Working Families Party (WFP) and lists it as an example of the type of group it supports. [8] Labor unions heavily back the WFP and socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) labeled WFP “the closest thing there is to a political party that believes in my vision of democratic socialism.” [9] CREDO and WFP have co-hosted events backing legal status for illegal immigrants and opposing the use of private prisons for detaining illegal immigrants at the southern border. [10] [11] In 2019, CREDO livestreamed an interview with WFP’s national director Maurice Mitchell. [12]

The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) received part of CREDO’s $150,000 monthly grant in April 2019. [13] The funding was dedicated to aiding NDWA efforts in passing additional federal regulations on the employment of domestic workers. [14] In November 2018, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Pramila Jaypala (D-WA) announced they would introduce federal legislation to that effect. [15]

Americans for Tax Fairness has worked with CREDO to advance a left-wing tax policy. The group supports the death tax, increasing taxes on businesses, and raising taxes on investment income. [16] In 2016, CREDO partnered with Americans for Tax Fairness and Democracy for America to support a tax code change favored by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that would cause companies to pay more in taxes. [17] CREDO selected ATF as one of its monthly contribution recipients in both March 2017 and December 2018 citing the group’s support of Obamacare and opposition to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. [18] [19] CREDO published a blog from Frank Clemente, the executive director of ATF, which praises Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) for supporting policies including a 70 percent tax rate and raising the death tax. [20]

Abortion and Women’s Groups

CREDO is among Planned Parenthood’s top corporate donors, contributing nearly $3.5 million since 1985. [21] Within the first few months of becoming president of Planned Parenthood, Leana Wen visited CREDO’s headquarters to thank the organization for its longtime support. [22] Through CREDO Action, CREDO members have lobbied for continued government funding of Planned Parenthood. [23]

CREDO was one of the early backers of the Women’s March. During the first demonstrations following President Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, members of the CREDO team participated at marches in D.C., New Jersey, and Atlanta. [24] CREDO encouraged those that marched to tell their elected officials to oppose defunding Planned Parenthood, support sanctuary cities, and block any of President Donald Trump’s nominees to the Supreme Court. [25] To help members during the 2018 Women’s March, CREDO blogged a guide of “How to make a fiery, furious, and fabulous protest sign for the Women’s March.” [26] In January 2019, the Women’s March was one of the three beneficiaries of CREDO’s monthly $150,000 donation. [27]

The ACLU and CREDO have a long-standing relationship. Between 1988 and 2017, CREDO donated $1.3 million to the ACLU. [28] In 2018, CREDO financially supported the ACLU’s efforts supporting abortion in Kentucky and launching a get out the vote campaign targeting left-wing voters. [29] The ACLU thanked CREDO “for helping us resist the Trump administration’s … agenda.” [30]

Environmentalism

Starting in 1993, CREDO’s predecessor Working Assets invited its long-distance telephone customers to round up their monthly bills in order to purchase sulfur dioxide reduction credits to offset fuel emissions.[31]

Amazon Watch launched the BlackRock’s Big Problem campaign after receiving funding from CREDO in July 2018. [32] The campaign is centered on opposing BlackRock’s investment in traditional energy sources such as oil and natural gas. [33] Other groups supporting the project include the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth. [34] Prior to the launch of the campaign, in January 2018, CREDO Action and Amazon Watch delivered petitions with 120,000 signatures asking BlackRock to divest from certain oil companies. [35]

CREDO has opposed the Keystone XL pipeline with protests dating back to 2011. [36] Between 2009 and 2015, when the Obama administration chose to block Keystone, CREDO had funneled over $2,000,000 to groups opposing the pipeline. [37] After the Trump administration authorized building Keystone, CREDO began to highlight its support of the Bold Alliance. In October 2017, CREDO partnered with Bold Alliance to found the Solar XL campaign aimed at stopping Keystone. [38] CREDO chose Bold as one of the recipients of the January 2018 monthly donation and stated the funding would in part support “a national Pipeline Fighter Hub.” [39]

In 2018, CREDO launched CREDO Energy, a branded energy company that allows customers to purchase environmentalist energy credits (derived mostly from wind and solar energy producers) in about a dozen states to offset energy purchased from conventional fuel production sources. The company claims to have offset more than 29 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions since December 2020 through purchase of energy credits. CREDO Energy donates about $150,000 per month to left-progressive causes from the rates paid by energy customers.[40]

Opposing the Trump Administration

Even before President Trump was sworn into office, CREDO made it clear it would be the group’s goal to resist any action of his administration. CREDO protested Google’s sponsorship of the 2016 Republican National Convention because it “would help legitimize and normalize Trump’s racism, misogyny, xenophobia and hate.” [41] After Trump’s inauguration, CREDO vowed to use “its full power to resist Trump’s dangerous agenda.” [42] In the 2018 annual report, CREDO was proud it had “resisted Donald Trump at every turn.” [43]

CREDO supported the first impeachment of President Trump, and criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for bringing a “narrow” set of Articles of Impeachment. “[F]ailing to include articles addressing most of the high crimes and misdemeanors Trump has committed is a dangerous abdication of responsibility,” executive director Heidi Heiss said. Heiss cited Trump’s alleged “abuses of executive power to promote hatred and incite violence” as additional grounds for impeachment.[44]

Staff

Members of CREDO Mobile’s staff have worked with left-wing groups. Michael Kieschnick, co-founder and a CREDO board member, served as an adviser to former California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) prior to founding Working Assets. Kieschnick also serves on the boards of both the League of Conservation Voters and the Beneficial State Foundation which was founded by left-wing billionaire activist Tom Steyer. [45] [46] During the 2016 election, Kieschnick was the National Campaign Manager for Steyer’s NextGen Climate which spent tens of millions supporting Democratic candidates. [47] [48]

Both of CREDO’s vice presidents of politics both have backgrounds in left-wing political circles. Heidi Hess helped found Color of Change and still sits on the board of directors. [49] Color of Change was the brainchild of Van Jones and James Rucker and was supposed to be “MoveOn for black people.” [50] Color of Change pushes a left-wing agenda of higher taxes,[51] government-controlled healthcare,[52] and gun control. [53] Before joining CREDO, Josh Nelson wrote for the liberal publications ThinkProgress, Huffington Post, and Grist. [54] Nelson also worked for Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection and the National Wildlife Federation.

References

  1. “CREDO’s Mission.” CREDO Mobile. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.credomobile.com/mission. ^
  2. Tobin, Trish. “CREDO Reaches $86 Million in Donations to Progressive Groups.” CREDO Mobile Blog. August 06, 2018. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2018/08/credo-reaches-86-million-donations-progressive-groups/. ^
  3. “Milestones.” CREDO Mobile. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.credomobile.com/our-story. ^
  4. “Milestones.” CREDO Mobile. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.credomobile.com/our-story. ^
  5. “Milestones.” CREDO Mobile. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.credomobile.com/our-story. ^
  6. “Ray Morris Now CREDO’s CEO.” PR Newswire. October 11, 2016. Accessed May 4, 2021. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ray-morris-now-credos-ceo-300342370.html. ^
  7. Chase DiFeliciantonio. “Credo Mobile, ‘carrier with a conscience,’ to end direct activism campaigns.” San Francisco Chronicle. January 8, 2020. Accessed May 4, 2021. ^
  8. “Working Families Party.” CREDO Donations. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.credodonations.com/working-families. ^
  9. Levy, Pema. “Bernie Sanders’ secret weapon in New York.” Mother Jones. April 18, 2016. Accessed May 28, 2019. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/04/bernie-sanders-has-secret-weapon-new-york ^
  10. “Our Lives Are On the Line, Chuck! #DreamActNow.” Indivisible Nation BK. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://indivisiblenationbk.org/events/2018/1/23/our-lives-are-on-the-line-chuck-dreamactnow. ^
  11. “Tell #BackersofHate: Families Belong Together and NOT in Cages!” JFREJ. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://jfrej.org/event/tell-backersofhate-families-belong-together-and-not-in-cages/. ^
  12. Lavallato, Stephanie. “New Video: Interview with Working Families Party National Director…” CREDO Mobile Blog. March 28, 2019. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2019/03/new-video-interview-with-working-families-party-national-director-maurice-mitchell/. ^
  13. Lavallato, Stephanie. “Vote to Fund the Economic Policy Institute, Free Press Action Fund…” CREDO Mobile Blog. April 1, 2019. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2019/04/vote-to-fund-the-economic-policy-institute-free-press-action-fund-and-the-national-domestic-workers-alliance-this-april/. ^
  14. Lavallato, Stephanie. “Vote to Fund the Economic Policy Institute, Free Press Action Fund…” CREDO Mobile Blog. April 1, 2019. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2019/04/vote-to-fund-the-economic-policy-institute-free-press-action-fund-and-the-national-domestic-workers-alliance-this-april/. ^
  15. “Senator Harris and Congresswoman Jayapal Announce Groundbreaking National Legislation for Domestic Workers for the New Congress in 2019 | National Domestic Workers Alliance.” National Domestic Workers Alliance. November 29, 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.domesticworkers.org/release/senator-harris-and-congresswoman-jayapal-announce-groundbreaking-national-legislation. ^
  16. “Tax Fairness Briefing Materials.” Americans for Tax Fairness. March 2015. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://americansfortaxfairness.org/files/Tax-Fairness-Briefing-Materials-Full-Packet.pdf. ^
  17. Zaheed, Murshed. “A Special Delivery for Pfizer.” CREDO Mobile Blog. March 23, 2016. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2016/03/a-special-delivery-for-pfizer/. ^
  18. Lavallato, Stephanie. “Vote to Support These Progressive Groups Fighting Trump’s Agenda in March.” CREDO Mobile Blog. March 01, 2017. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2017/03/credo-donations-vote-to-support-these-progressive-groups-fighting-trumps-agenda-in-march/. ^
  19. Lavallato, Stephanie. “Vote for These Three Progressive Groups This December.” CREDO Mobile Blog. December 1, 2018. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2018/12/vote-for-progressive-groups-this-december/. ^
  20. Clemente, Frank. “The Trump-GOP Tax Cuts Are a Huge Failure. Now What?” CREDO Mobile Blog. March 08, 2019. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2019/03/the-trump-gop-tax-cuts-are-a-huge-failure-now-what/. ^
  21. Lavallato, Stephanie. “Watch Now: Planned Parenthood President Thanks CREDO Members.” CREDO Mobile Blog. April 01, 2019. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2019/04/watch-now-planned-parenthood-president-thanks-credo-members/. ^
  22. Lavallato, Stephanie. “Watch Now: Planned Parenthood President Thanks CREDO Members.” CREDO Mobile Blog. April 01, 2019. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2019/04/watch-now-planned-parenthood-president-thanks-credo-members/. ^
  23. “How Progressives Won in 2015.” Medium. December 27, 2015. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://medium.com/@CREDOMobile/how-progressives-won-in-2015-1ea1f1869248. ^
  24. Tobin, Trish. “The Women’s March: What We Learned, and What Comes Next.” CREDO Mobile Blog. February 8, 2017. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2017/02/the-womens-march-what-we-learned-and-what-comes-next/. ^
  25. Tobin, Trish. “The Women’s March: What We Learned, and What Comes Next.” CREDO Mobile Blog. February 8, 2017. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2017/02/the-womens-march-what-we-learned-and-what-comes-next/. ^
  26. Devaney, Tim. “Tuesday Tip: How to Make a Fiery, Furious, and Fabulous Protest Sign for the Women’s March.” CREDO Mobile Blog. April 16, 2018. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2018/01/tuesday-tip-how-to-make-a-fiery-furious-and-fabulous-protest-sign-for-the-womens-march/. ^
  27. Lavallato, Stephanie. “Vote for These Three Progressive Groups This January.” CREDO Mobile Blog. January 02, 2019. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2019/01/vote-progressive-groups-january/. ^
  28. Lavallato, Stephanie. “New Video: CREDO and the ACLU Are Resisting Trump’s Dangerous Agenda.” CREDO Mobile Blog. May 17, 2017. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2017/05/new-video-credo-and-the-aclu-are-resisting-trumps-dangerous-agenda/. ^
  29. Lavallato, Stephanie. “How CREDO Members’ Support Helped the ACLU, Amazon Watch and Other Progressive Groups.” CREDO Mobile Blog. March 4, 2019. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2019/03/how-credo-members-helped-the-aclu-amazon-watch-and-other-progressive-groups/. ^
  30. Lavallato, Stephanie. “Our July Grantees Thank You for Your Support.” CREDO Mobile Blog. August 01, 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2018/08/july-grantees-thank-support/. ^
  31. Mark J. McGarry. “Shortcuts.” Newsday. July 23, 1993. Accessed on Westlaw (1993 WLNR 379894) May 4, 2021. ^
  32. Lavallato, Stephanie. “How CREDO Members’ Support Helped the ACLU, Amazon Watch and Other Progressive Groups.” CREDO Mobile Blog. March 4, 2019. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2019/03/how-credo-members-helped-the-aclu-amazon-watch-and-other-progressive-groups/. ^
  33. “BlackRock’s Big Problem.” BlackRocksBigProblem. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.blackrocksbigproblem.com/. ^
  34. “About Us.” BlackRocksBigProblem. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.blackrocksbigproblem.com/about. ^
  35. Cina-Sklar, Zoë. “120,000 of Us Tell BlackRock to Stop Financing Amazon Destruction.” CREDO Mobile Blog. January 18, 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2018/01/120000-of-us-tell-blackrock-to-stop-financing-amazon-destruction/. ^
  36. “Milestones.” CREDO Mobile. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.credomobile.com/our-story. ^
  37. Rosenfeld, Claire. “CREDO Members Funneled Millions to the Fight against Keystone XL…” CREDO Mobile Blog. November 06, 2015. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2015/11/keystone-xl-victory-2015/. ^
  38. Lavallato, Stephanie. “CREDO and Bold Are Fighting Dirty Oil Pipelines Hand in Hand.” CREDO Mobile Blog. November 2, 2017. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://credomobblog.wpengine.com/2017/11/credo-and-bold-are-fighting-dirty-oil-pipelines-hand-in-hand/. ^
  39. Lavallato, Stephanie. “Vote for These Three Great Causes This January.” CREDO Mobile Blog. January 2, 2018. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2018/01/vote-for-these-three-great-causes-this-january/. ^
  40. “CREDO Energy.” Credo.com. Accessed May 4, 2021. https://www.credoenergy.com/. ^
  41. Hess, Heidi. “Dear Google: Don’t Be Evil. Dump Donald Trump.” CREDO Mobile Blog. April 30, 2016. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://blog.credomobile.com/2016/04/dear-google-dont-be-evil-dump-donald-trump/. ^
  42. “Milestones.” CREDO Mobile. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.credomobile.com/our-story. ^
  43. “Milestones.” CREDO Mobile. Accessed May 28, 2019. https://www.credomobile.com/our-story. “CREDO In 2018: Protect. Resist. Counter.” CREDO Action. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://credoaction.com/reports/credo2018/. ^
  44. John Wojcik. “House leaders put forward articles of impeachment against the president.” People’s World. December 10, 2019. Accessed May 14, 2021. https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/house-leaders-put-forward-articles-of-impeachment-against-the-president/. ^
  45. “Meet Our People.” CREDO Mobile. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://www.credomobile.com/meet-people. ^
  46. “Our Board of Directors.” Beneficial State Foundation. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://beneficialstate.org/board/. ^
  47. “Michael Kieschnick.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/. ^
  48. “Top Individual Contributors: All Federal Contributions.” OpenSecrets. Accessed May 29, 2019. http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/topindivs.php?cycle=2016&view=fc. ^
  49. “Meet Our People.” CREDO Mobile. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://www.credomobile.com/meet-people. ^
  50. Hinton, Eric L. “Color Of Change: Pursuing an “Unapologetically Black” Agenda.” Accessed May 29, 2019. https://www.africanamerica.org/topic/color-of-change-pursuing-an-unapologetically-black-agenda. ^
  51. “Fairness in Taxation Act: make millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share.” Color of Change Petition. Undated. Accessed March 13, 2018. https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/taxes ^
  52. “Tell Undecided House Democrats to support #MedicareForAll!” Color of Change Petition. Undated. Accessed March 13, 2018. https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/medicare-forall  ^
  53. Nichols, John. “Outrage Is Rising Against Stand Your Ground.” The Nation. July 17, 2013. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://www.thenation.com/article/outrage-rising-florida-and-nationally-against-stand-your-ground/ ^
  54. “Meet Our People.” CREDO Mobile. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://www.credomobile.com/meet-people. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Becky Bond
    Former Political Director
  2. Michael Kieschnick
    Co-Founder, Board Member, Former CEO
  3. Drummond Pike
    Co-Founder
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