Data for Progress


Tax-Exempt Status:



Sean McElwee

Project of:

Tides Advocacy

Data for Progress is a left-of-center public opinion research group. It is a project of Tides Advocacy, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization. [1] Data for Progress was founded by Sean McElwee, a political activist who also co-founded the far-left immigration agitation group AbolishIce. Data for Progress primarily produces data-based reports and scorecards designed to shift the future of the Democratic Party in a more populist and radical left-wing direction. [2]

Data for Progress supports far-left policies, including Medicare-for-All, the Green New Deal, and the dismantling of U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). [3] [4]

Data for Progress campaigned for socialist Senator Bernie Sanders’ (D-VT) 2020 presidential campaign, declaring that “Progressives control the future of the [Democratic] Party.” [5]

Political Activities

Give Smart Initiative

In the lead-up to the 2020 elections, Data for Progress created the Give Smart Initiative and set up an ActBlue page asking for donations of $80 that would be split between the campaigns of eight Democratic Party candidates in close races at the state level. [6]

Involvement in Selection of President Biden’s cabinet

Data for Progress was extremely vocal following President Joe Biden’s successful campaign in 2020 in encouraging the new president to select progressive cabinet members. In early 2020, the organization launched the Progressive Cabinet Project which published four separate memos in 2020 showing popular support for progressive cabinet selections. [7] One memo gave specific recommendations for progressive candidates to fill each cabinet position. Among the suggested cabinet members were Janet Yellen for Secretary of the Treasury, Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior, Xavier Becerra for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Marcia Fudge for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Katherine Tai for United States Trade Representative, all of whom were chosen for their respective offices. [8] These memos were cited in several articles by mainstream news outlets, and after President Biden announced his cabinet picks Sean McElwee criticized President Biden for not being progressive enough with his selections, saying, “Biden does coalition politics and figures out who are the people who will offend the least number of coalition interest groups.” [9]

Generating Support for the Green New Deal

Data for Progress is also very active in supporting the Green New Deal. During the 2020 Democratic Presidential primary Data for Progress published a Green New Deal scorecard, ranking each candidate on their level of support for the Green New Deal and its individual policy prescriptions. [10] Data for Progress has also published extensive research on the level of public support for the Green New Deal, and has encouraged the Biden administration and other elected officials to support its policies.


Data for Progress is led by co-founder and executive director, Sean McElwee. McElwee is a self-described socialist; prior to founding Data for Progress, McElwee worked as a policy analyst at Demos, and helped to found AbolishIce, a far-left immigration agitation group. [11] [12] McElwee’s company bio on Data for Progress’ website makes no mention of his history with AbolishIce, neither does it mention his socialist beliefs. [13] McElwee is also the director of polling at Take Back the Courts, a far-left judicial advocacy group that supports packing the Supreme Court, and is on the board of Secure Elections for America Now. [14] [15]

Data for Progress is also led by vice president of policy and strategy Julian Brave NoiseCat. NoiseCat has previously been involved in left-of-center organizing in native American communities and worked for as a leader on U.S. policy. [16]

Data for Progress’ on-the-ground operations are overseen by principal Gustavo Sanchez who previously worked as director of data engineering for Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2020 Presidential campaign, and at the Movement Cooperative. [17]


Information about Data for Progress’ funding is not available since the organization operates as a fiscally-sponsored project of Tides Advocacy and thus does not make public financial disclosures of its own. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, however, the organization received roughly $89,000 in payments from various PACs for polling services during 2020, including the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund and Justice Democrats. [18]


  1. “Support.” Data for Progress. Accessed August 14, 2019. Original URL: Archived here: ^
  2. “Future Of The Party Report.” Data For Progress. Accessed May 25, 2021. ^
  3. “Medicare-for-All.” Data for Progress. Accessed August 14, 2019. ^
  4. “Green New Deal.” Data for Progress. Accessed August 14, 2019. ^
  5. McElwee, Sean. “Memo: Progressives Control the Future of the Party.” Data For Progress. Data For Progress, February 17, 2020. ^
  6. “Give Smart: Donate to Flip 8 State Legislatures.” ActBlue. Accessed May 25, 2021. ^
  7. Kanfer, Billie. “Progressive Cabinet Project.” Data For Progress. Data For Progress, June 11, 2020. ^
  8. Smith, Aidan. “Progressive Cabinet Project: Shaping a Progressive Administration .” Data for Progress, 2020. ^
  9. Seitz-Wald, Alex. “Biden’s Cabinet Isn’t Shaping up to Be Progressives’ Dream, but It’s Far from Their Nightmare.” NBCUniversal News Group, December 7, 2020. ^
  10. “Green New Deal Scorecards.” Data For Progress. Accessed May 25, 2021. ^
  11. “Who We Are.” Data For Progress. Accessed May 25, 2021. ^
  12. Perlberg, Steven. “How ‘Abolish ICE’ Went From Twitter Slogan To Winning Over Progressives And Dividing Politics”. Buzzfeed News. July 28, 2018. Accessed January 31, 2020. ^
  13. “Who We Are.” Data For Progress. Accessed May 25, 2021. ^
  14. “Who We Are.” Data For Progress. Accessed May 25, 2021. ^
  15. Take Back the Court Action Fund. Accessed May 25, 2021. ^
  16. Julian Brave NoiseCat. Accessed May 25, 2021. ^
  17. “Who We Are.” Data For Progress. Accessed May 25, 2021. ^
  18. “Vendor/Recipient Profile: Data+for+Progress.” OpenSecrets. Center for Responsive Politics. Accessed May 25, 2021. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Sean McElwee
    Founder, Executive Director
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