For-profit

Democracy Engine

Website:

democracyengine.com

Type:

Left-Wing Fundraising Service

CEO:

Jonathan Zucker

Formation:

2009

Democracy Engine is a left-of-center, for-profit fundraising platform that primarily works with politicians associated with the Democratic Party and left-of-center nonprofit organizations. The firm was founded by Jonathan Zucker, a Democratic operative who formerly worked as executive director for the left-of-center fundraising service ActBlue. Zucker also worked as national director of operations for finance with the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Background

Democracy Engine provides an online fundraising platform for lobbyists, candidates, PACs, and nonprofit organizations. Democracy Engine also offers various online tools to help donors navigate the regulatory landscape around nonprofit donations and campaign finance. [1] [2] Through its fundraising platform, Democracy Engine has partnered with other organizations to prevent donors from giving more to a candidate than they are legally allowed to give. [3] [4]

Democracy Engine channels funding between donors and various political causes, offering online tools for both donors and fund recipients. [5] When an individual donates to a given candidate or organization, Democracy Engine receives the donation through its online platform, and then distributes the donations to each organization by check or direct deposit on a weekly basis. [6] Parties who accept the donations pay Democracy Engine to use the company’s software and each of the clients retains control over its own fundraising account. [7]

In addition to facilitating donations to individual candidates and organizations, Democracy Engine’s online platform allows recipient clients to establish slates of candidates, nonprofit organizations, and PACs to encourage and distribute donations across a range of candidates and organizations. [8]

Though Democracy Engine claims that people can use the system to donate to candidates and organizations affiliated with either major party, the platform has overwhelmingly contributed to Democratic candidates. [9] During the 2020 federal election cycle, Democracy Engine processed just a single, $2,800 donation for U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE). In contrast, Democracy Engine processed over $3 million in donations for Democratic federal candidates alone. [10]

Leadership

Jonathan Zucker is the founder of Democracy Engine and a long-time Democratic operative. Zucker previously worked as the national director of operations for finance at the Democratic National Committee during the 2004 election cycle. [11] Zucker was also previously the executive director for ActBlue, a large fundraising group for left-of-center candidates and causes. Zucker previously worked in fundraising for a number of left-of-center organizations, including the Interfaith Alliance, Human Rights Campaign, Gill Foundation, and the Democratic Leadership Council. [12]

Erik Pennebaker is the chief technology officer for Democracy Engine. Pennebaker worked on digital fundraising for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. [13] Pennebaker also ran web-based fundraising for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. [14]

References

  1. How it Works. Democracy Engine. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://democracyengine.com/how-it-works/ ^
  2. Democracy Engine. TracXN. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://tracxn.com/d/companies/democracyengine.com ^
  3. Campaign Finance. Democracy Engine. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://democracyengine.com/how-it-works/#campaign ^
  4. Democracy Engine. TracXN. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://tracxn.com/d/companies/democracyengine.com ^
  5. Democracy Engine. ActLocal. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.actlocal.network/organizations/democracy-engine ^
  6. How it Works. Democracy Engine. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://democracyengine.com/how-it-works/ ^
  7. Democracy Engine. Personal Democracy Media. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://personaldemocracy.com/company-reviews-2010/democracy-engine ^
  8. Democracy Engine. Personal Democracy Media. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://personaldemocracy.com/company-reviews-2010/democracy-engine ^
  9. About. Democracy Engine. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://democracyengine.com/about/ ^
  10. Democracy Engine. Open Campaign. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.opencampaign.com/corporation/democracy-engine,-inc.,-pac/6626 ^
  11. Democracy Engine. Personal Democracy Media. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://personaldemocracy.com/company-reviews-2010/democracy-engine ^
  12. Team. Democracy Engine. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://democracyengine.com/about/team/ ^
  13. Democracy Engine. Personal Democracy Media. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://personaldemocracy.com/company-reviews-2010/democracy-engine ^
  14. Team. Democracy Engine. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://democracyengine.com/about/team/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Jonathan Zucker
    Chief Executive Officer
  See an error? Let us know!