Non-profit

ACRONYM

Website:

www.anotheracronym.org

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax ID:

82-1630469

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Formation:

March, 2017

President and CEO:

Tara McGowan

Director:

Mike Durbin

ACRONYM is a left-of-center political and advocacy organization designed to launch voter mobilization and digital advertising programs while also working on communications and organizing for left-progressive causes. [1] ACRONYM advances a left-of-center agenda at the local, state, and national levels. [2]

Though ACRONYM is a 501(c)(4) organization whose funds are required to be used for social welfare causes, ACRONYM has been described as the umbrella organization for numerous for-profit, left-wing organizations and has participated in numerous initiatives with the Democratic Party.

History

Tara McGowan, a 31 year-old Democratic political strategist, founded ACRONYM in 2017. [3] As of 2018, ACRONYM had raised more than $18 million and registered 60,000 people to vote. [4] The organization has run 105 targeted ad campaigns covering 15 states, helping to elect 63 left-of-center candidates and winning 61 percent of all races in which they were involved. [5]

ACRONYM has been consistently linked to the Democratic Party and its initiatives. [6] ACRONYM controls a number of for-profit companies that are major players in Democratic Party politics, including campaign consulting firm Lockwood Strategy, a peer-to-peer political technology company known as Shadow, and a media company that invests in local left-leaning news outlets called FWIW Media. [7]

Activity

ACRONYM serves as a full-service digital campaign service, working with various interest groups and campaigns from across the country, including the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. [8] As of 2017, the group spent most of its resources on advertising and promotion, spending $846,431 on advertising in 2017 alone. [9]

ACRONYM has been tied to numerous organizations on the political left, running campaigns for left-of-center groups including Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, and Everytown for Gun Safety. [10]

In 2017, ACRONYM paid GMMB Inc $457,646 to run media campaigns. [11] GMMB is an influential left-wing media firm with ties to both the Obama and Clinton presidential campaigns, with director Jim Margolis serving as top media advisor to both Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama. [12]

In 2018, ACRONYM launched its controversial “Knock the Vote” project to target young voters to push for progressive policies and candidates. [13] Even though McGowan claimed that the voting campaign was designed to get young people to vote without influencing who they vote for, the campaign logo was a silhouette of President Donald Trump being punched in the head. [14] [15] ACRONYM spent over $3 million on the campaign, covering 36 states which have online voter registration. [16] The campaign specifically targeted Arizona, Florida, and Georgia, swing states with large unregistered populations who could be expected to vote in line with the political left. [17]

Just two weeks before launching Knock the Vote, ACRONYM announced a collaboration with the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee in a $10 million campaign to back 75 Democrats for state legislative seats. [18]

In 2019, ACRONYM pledged $1 million to the Dogwood, a left-wing local media outlet in Virginia, as the beginning of a nationwide initiative to invest in local media. [19] This prompted questions of potential conflicts of interest in July 2019 when the Daily Beast reported that the Dogwood had been providing favorable coverage to the very same candidates in which ACRONYM was heavily invested. [20]

In 2019, as the Democratic primaries take shape, ACRONYM has focused on registering left-leaning swing state voters and targeting state legislative seats in important primary states. [21] In August of 2019, Politico reported that ACRONYM launched a $10,000,000 online campaign to encourage young people in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, and Florida to register to vote. ACRONYM also announced the launch of its new software tool “Formation” which allows people to look up their friends’ voter registration data, apparently to peer pressure impressionable younger voters. [22]

In October of 2019, ACRONYM began releasing ads on YouTube about president Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal. The group has spent $100,000 on YouTube ads since 2018, and has spent around $1,500 on Twitter political ads. [23]

ACRONYM acquired Shadow Inc. in 2019, a technology and software development company that aims to “build political power for the progressive movement.” [24] [25]

People and Funding

ACRONYM, though an ostensibly “social welfare” organization, has donated to numerous causes and organizations affiliated with the Democratic Party, including a $150,000 donation to the Virginia Democratic Party in 2019. [26]

ACRONYM has also provided funding to a related super PAC, PACRONYM. [27] In 2018, ACRONYM put $300,000 into the super PAC. [28] PACRONYM has received funding from numerous Democratic Party-affiliated organizations, receiving $2 million from the National Democratic Redistricting Committee from 2018. [29]

ACRONYM’s primary staff members also have close ties to left-of-center politics. Co-founder and president Tara McGowan worked on Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, and has further experience running the largest ever ad campaign for super PAC Priorities USA Action in 2016. [30] Michael Dubin, co-founder and current director of ACRONYM, has donated to several Democratic candidates and causes, in addition to giving a $50,000 donation to PACRONYM in 2016. [31] [32]

Financial Documents

ACRONYM’s IRS Form 990 filing for 2017 is available here:

References

  1. ACRONYM. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Form 990, 2017. Section 4a. ^
  2. ACRONYM. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Form 990, 2017. Schedule O. Part One, Line 1. ^
  3. Fouriezos, Nick. “Meet the Democrats’ Most Dangerous Digital Strategist.” OZY, September 5, 2019. https://www.ozy.com/politics-and-power/meet-the-democrats-most-dangerous-digital-strategist/95569. ^
  4. Fouriezos, Nick. “Meet the Democrats’ Most Dangerous Digital Strategist.” OZY, September 5, 2019. https://www.ozy.com/politics-and-power/meet-the-democrats-most-dangerous-digital-strategist/95569. ^
  5. Fouriezos, Nick. “Meet the Democrats’ Most Dangerous Digital Strategist.” OZY, September 5, 2019. https://www.ozy.com/politics-and-power/meet-the-democrats-most-dangerous-digital-strategist/95569. ^
  6. Fouriezos, Nick. “Meet the Democrats’ Most Dangerous Digital Strategist.” OZY, September 5, 2019. https://www.ozy.com/politics-and-power/meet-the-democrats-most-dangerous-digital-strategist/95569. ^
  7. Fouriezos, Nick. “Meet the Democrats’ Most Dangerous Digital Strategist.” OZY, September 5, 2019. https://www.ozy.com/politics-and-power/meet-the-democrats-most-dangerous-digital-strategist/95569. ^
  8. Fouriezos, Nick. “Meet the Democrats’ Most Dangerous Digital Strategist.” OZY, September 5, 2019. https://www.ozy.com/politics-and-power/meet-the-democrats-most-dangerous-digital-strategist/95569. ^
  9. ACRONYM. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Form 990, 2017. Part Nine, Line 12. ^
  10. Fouriezos, Nick. “Meet the Democrats’ Most Dangerous Digital Strategist.” OZY, September 5, 2019. https://www.ozy.com/politics-and-power/meet-the-democrats-most-dangerous-digital-strategist/95569. ^
  11. ACRONYM. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Form 990, 2017. Section B, Part 1. ^
  12. “Clinton Recruiting Obama Veterans for Expected 2016 Campaign.” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, January 14, 2015. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-2910571/amp/Clinton-recruiting-Obama-veterans-expected-campaign.html. ^
  13. Bates, Karen Grigsby. “Getting Out The Youth Vote With A Dash Of Snark.” NPR. NPR, October 24, 2018. https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2018/10/24/660059052/getting-out-the-youth-vote-with-a-dash-of-snark. ^
  14. Bradner, Eric. “Democratic Group Launches Trump-Bashing $3 Million Online Voter Registration Campaign.” CNN. Cable News Network, September 24, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/24/politics/acronym-democratic-voter-registration-digital-push/index.html. ^
  15. Bates, Karen Grigsby. “Getting Out The Youth Vote With A Dash Of Snark.” NPR. NPR, October 24, 2018. https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2018/10/24/660059052/getting-out-the-youth-vote-with-a-dash-of-snark. ^
  16. Bradner, Eric. “Democratic Group Launches Trump-Bashing $3 Million Online Voter Registration Campaign.” CNN. Cable News Network, September 24, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/24/politics/acronym-democratic-voter-registration-digital-push/index.html. ^
  17. Bradner, Eric. “Democratic Group Launches Trump-Bashing $3 Million Online Voter Registration Campaign.” CNN. Cable News Network, September 24, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/24/politics/acronym-democratic-voter-registration-digital-push/index.html ^
  18. Bradner, Eric. “Democratic Group Launches Trump-Bashing $3 Million Online Voter Registration Campaign.” CNN. Cable News Network, September 24, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/24/politics/acronym-democratic-voter-registration-digital-push/index.html. ^
  19. Guaglione, Sarah. “Nonprofit Acronym Invests Over $1 Million In ‘The Dogwood’ Site, Shores Up Local News.” MediaPost, July 10, 2019. https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/338002/nonprofit-acronym-invests-over-1-million-in-the.html. ^
  20. Markay, Lachlan. “How Progressive Consultants Are Paying to Shape News Coverage in Virginia.” The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast Company, July 12, 2019. https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-democratic-consultants-are-paying-to-shape-news-coverage-in-virginia. ^
  21. Fouriezos, Nick. “Meet the Democrats’ Most Dangerous Digital Strategist.” OZY, September 5, 2019. https://www.ozy.com/politics-and-power/meet-the-democrats-most-dangerous-digital-strategist/95569. ^
  22. Severns, Maggie. “Progressive Group Launches $10 Million Online Voter Registration Drive.” POLITICO, August 14, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/14/progressive-online-voter-registration-drive-1461912. ^
  23. “Who’s Behind Dems’ New $75 Million Ad Campaign?” Sludge. Accessed November 13, 2019. https://readsludge.com/2019/11/06/whos-behind-dems-new-75-million-ad-campaign/. ^
  24. “Shadow.” Shadow. Accessed November 13, 2019. https://shadowinc.io/. ^
  25. “Who’s Behind Dems’ New $75 Million Ad Campaign?” Sludge. Accessed November 13, 2019. https://readsludge.com/2019/11/06/whos-behind-dems-new-75-million-ad-campaign/. ^
  26. “Democratic Party of Virginia.” The Virginia Public Access Project. Accessed September 24, 2019. https://www.vpap.org/committees/147878/top_donors/?order=amount&start_year=2019&end_year=2019. ^
  27. “Browse Individual Contributions: PACRONYM.” FEC.gov. Accessed September 24, 2019. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?data_type=processed&committee_id=C00646877&min_date=01%2F01%2F2017&max_date=12%2F31%2F2020 ^
  28. “Browse Individual Contributions: PACRONYM.” FEC.gov. Accessed September 24, 2019. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?data_type=processed&committee_id=C00646877&min_date=01%2F01%2F2017&max_date=12%2F31%2F2020 ^
  29. “Browse Individual Contributions: PACRONYM.” FEC.gov. Accessed September 24, 2019. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?data_type=processed&committee_id=C00646877&min_date=01%2F01%2F2017&max_date=12%2F31%2F2020 ^
  30. McCammond, Alexi. “Digital-First Startup Launches to Elect Progressive Dems.” Axios, October 26, 2017. https://www.axios.com/digital-first-startup-launches-to-elect-progressive-dems-1513306464-dc2e8881-2419-44ec-950f-8c5d3ba6e4b6.html. ^
  31. “Browse Individual Contributions: PACRONYM.” FEC.gov. Accessed September 24, 2019. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?data_type=processed&committee_id=C00646877&min_date=01%2F01%2F2017&max_date=12%2F31%2F2020 ^
  32. “Browse Individual Contributions: Michael Dubin.” FEC.gov. Accessed September 24, 2019. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=Michael+Dubin&min_date=01/01/2000&max_date=12/31/2020. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

Child Organizations

  1. Shadow Inc. (For-profit)
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ACRONYM

1342 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC