Non-profit

American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Square logo of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. (link) by Acslaw1776 is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0 (link)
Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

52-2313694

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $4,502,142
Expenses: $5,087,389
Assets: $4,075,097

Formation:

2001

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) is a legal organization that is often considered the liberal version of the center-right Federalist Society. The group endorses the left-of-center view of the Constitution as a “living document,” capable of substantial judicial interpretation that critics see as improper legislating from the bench.

The group is funded by George Soros and his Open Society Foundations. [1] The organization is also a member of the Democracy Alliance, a network of left-wing organizations. [2]

History

The ACS was founded in 2001 in order to promote a liberal, “living” interpretation of the United States Constitution.[3] David Strauss at the University of Chicago describes a “living constitution” as “one that evolves, changes over time, and adapts to new circumstances, without being formally amended.” [4]

Influence

The ACS had substantial influence during the Obama administration. Former Attorney General Eric Holder was a board member of the ACS. Former White House staff secretary Lisa Brown, Domestic Policy Council head Melody Barnes, and Vice President Joe Biden’s former chief of staff Ronald Klain also had ties to the organization. [5] The ACS also had members on the Obama transition team, and the New York Times speculated that other ACS members would be used to fill judgeships.

After the election of President Donald Trump, the ACS rallied progressive activists in opposition to Trump’s judicial nominees. The group held a conference call with progressive activists and urged them to encourage Democratic U.S. Senators to stall Trump’s nominees.[6] This was a reversal from ACS’s position from the Obama administration, during which the ACS complained about the stalling of President Obama’s judicial nominees.[7]

The ACS has also joined with other progressive organizations to form a progressive state policy think tank. In 2015, the ACS’s “American Legislative and Issue Campaign Exchange” joined with two other similar groups to form the State Innovation Exchange. All three groups received a combined total of $9.1 million from George Soros and organizations associated with the liberal billionaire, with the ACS receiving $5.8 million. [8]

In 2015, the ACS raised $2.6 million and spent $4.6 million. The largest single expenditure was $1.6 million for “network advancement.” This was money used to support the operations of ACS chapters on the state and local level. The goal was to build a more progressive legal community. The ACS spent $738,484 on public education and outreach and $718,044 on policy development and programming

The ACS made a $75,000 contribution to the Committee for a Fair Judiciary. It made $10,000 grants to the Mercer School of Law at Indiana University and the Prison Policy Institute.

Leadership

The ACS President is Caroline Frederickson. She is a former legal director at NARAL Pro-Choice America (formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League). She also served as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington). [9]

References

  1. “Organizations Funded By George Soros And His Open Society Foundations – Discover The Networks”. 2017. Discoverthenetworks.Org. Accessed September 21 2017. http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=1237.
  2. “Democracy Alliance – Ballotpedia”. 2017. Ballotpedia.Org. Accessed September 21 2017. https://ballotpedia.org/Democracy_Alliance.
  3. “Democracy Alliance – Ballotpedia”. 2017. Ballotpedia.Org. Accessed September 21 2017. https://ballotpedia.org/Democracy_Alliance.
  4. “The Living Constitution | University Of Chicago Law School”. 2017. Law.Uchicago.Edu. Accessed September 21 2017. https://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/living-constitution.
  5. Savage, Charlie. 2015. “Liberal Legal Group Is Following New Administration’s Path To Power”. Nytimes.Com. Accessed September 21 2017. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/11/us/politics/11network.html?mcubz=1.
  6. Lovelace, Ryan. 2017. “Liberal Activists Fretting Trump Takeover Of Federal Judiciary Rally Grassroots In Obstruction Campaign”. Washington Examiner. Accessed September 21 2017. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/liberal-activists-fretting-trump-takeover-of-federal-judiciary-rally-grassroots-in-obstruction-campaign/article/2633618.
  7. “Federal Judicial Nominations | Brennan Center For Justice”. 2017. Brennancenter.Org. Accessed September 21 2017. https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/federal-judicial-nominations.
  8. “Soros Spends More Than $9 Million To Form New Political Money Machine”. 2015. Media Research Center. Accessed September 22 2017. http://www.mrc.org/articles/soros-spends-more-9-million-form-new-political-money-machine.[/note]

    Funding

    The ACS is funded by George Soros and his Open Society Foundations. It also receives money from the Tides Foundation and the National Education Association (NEA).[note] LLC, CitizenAudit.org. 2017. ” Citizenaudit.Org – AMERICAN CONSTITUTION SOCIETY FOR LAW AND POLICY “. Citizenaudit.Org. Accessed September 22 2017. https://www.citizenaudit.org/organization/522313694/american-constitution-society-for-law-and-policy/.

  9. “Caroline Fredrickson, President | ACS”. 2017. Acslaw.Org. Accessed September 22 2017. https://www.acslaw.org/about/staff/caroline-fredrickson.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. George Soros
    Funder (via Open Society Foundations)

Coalition Memberships

  1. Spread The Vote (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 2001

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Dec Form 990 $4,502,142 $5,087,389 $4,075,097 $170,660 N $3,780,558 $705,332 $4,597 $291,157 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $3,575,507 $4,627,486 $4,691,822 $202,138 N $2,693,040 $867,466 $7,101 $288,769 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $6,900,044 $4,466,589 $5,726,422 $184,759 N $6,042,545 $846,266 $4,069 $274,161 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $3,182,015 $4,166,211 $3,286,410 $178,202 N $2,405,265 $764,474 $1,346 $267,158 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $4,118,918 $4,087,829 $4,401,283 $308,879 N $3,375,739 $730,749 $3,476 $435,574 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

    1333 H ST 11TH FLOOR
    WASHINGTON, DC 20005-4707