Non-profit

Demand Progress Action (DPA)

Website:

demandprogress.org

Location:

SILVER SPRING, MD

Tax ID:

46-1493219

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $651,059
Expenses: $1,194,999
Assets: $180,969

Formation:

2010

Executive Director:

David Segal

Fiscal Sponsor:

Sixteen Thirty Fund

Not to be confused with Demand Progress Action (PAC)

Demand Progress Action (DPA) is a left-of-center organization that advocates for policies relating to foreign policy and civil liberties.[1] It describes itself as “a fiscally-sponsored project of Sixteen Thirty Fund,” a left-of-center 501(c)(4) funder and advocacy organization, but it operates as an IRS-registered 501(c)(4) nonprofit.[2]

Demand Progress Action (PAC) is the 527 political action committee (PAC) affiliated with Demand Progress Action.

Background

Demand Progress rose to prominence in 2010 as part of the coalition which defeated the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a controversial intellectual property proposal. Demand Progress began as a petition campaign within Sixteen Thirty Fund.[3]

Demand Progress filed to become its own 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization and was granted the status in 2013. Demand Progress transfers funds to Sixteen Thirty Fund and Sixteen Thirty Fund’s corporate stable-mate the New Venture Fund: Demand Progress Action gave over $600,000 to Sixteen Thirty in 2016, according to tax filings.[4]

Demand Progress has a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate, Demand Progress Education Fund, which uses online campaigns to advance its agenda.

Net Neutrality

Demand Progress Action (DPA) campaigns for “net neutrality,”[5]  a Google-backed policy that would regulate internet service providers.[6] According to its website, members of the organization took millions of undefined “actions” in support of the Obama-era FCC’s net neutrality regulations.[7] The organization claims that the last event it helped to organize in support of net neutrality occurred in 2014 in the “Internet Slowdown Day,” an attempt by supporters of net neutrality to create heavy traffic on popular websites to slow them down for most users.[8]

The regulations were repealed by the FCC during the Trump administration.[9]

DPA is a self-proclaimed “ally”[10] of Free Press, a pro-net neutrality and anti-business media advocacy organization.[11]

Leadership

Co-Founders

Left-wing computer programmer Aaron Swartz and Democratic politician David Segal founded Demand Progress Action. Segal, a former Democratic member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, remains executive director of the organization.[12]

Swartz was arrested at MIT in 2011. Federal prosecutors alleged that Swartz broke into a computer closet and used the school’s networks to steal more than 4,000,000 articles and documents from JSTOR, a not-for-profit digital library of books and scholarly journals. His alleged crimes were punishable by up to 35 years in prison.[13] Swartz killed himself in January 2013 while awaiting trial.[14]

Demand Progress Action holds that the arrest and prosecution of Swartz was unjust and campaigns for the repeal of the law under which he was prosecuted.[15]

Board of Directors

According to its 2016 tax filing, DPA’s board of directors consists of David Segal, Marvin Ammori, Rachel Miller, David Moon, Elizabeth Stark, and Michael Masnick.[16]

Elizabeth Stark is the CEO and founder of Lightning Labs, a company which aims to increase the usability of cryptocurrencies. Starks is a part of the Socrates Program at the Aspen Institute. [17]

David Moon is a self-proclaimed “progressive Democrat” and member of the Maryland House of Delegates, representing the D.C. suburb of Montgomery County.[18] Moon has worked in left-wing politics throughout his career, holding positions with FairVote, Communities for Transit, and numerous Maryland Democratic officials.[19]

Michael Masnick is the founder and current CEO of Techdirt, a technology blog that covers issues such as public policy and legal issues that affect “companies’ ability to innovate and grow.”  He is an activist dedicated to defending the rights of internet-based companies, and a strong proponent of net neutrality.[20]

Marvin Ammori is an attorney working as General Counsel for Protocol labs, a research lab devoted to improving the internet. He is a self-proclaimed defender of net neutrality who helped lead “the online movement that killed the SOPA bill in 2012 as well as the movements defending network neutrality,” one of these movements being DPA. He serves as the president of the board for Fight for the Future Education Fund, the 501(c)(3) branch of Fight for the Future (FFTF). FFTF is a nonprofit advocacy group that focuses mainly on issues related to net neutrality and online privacy. Ammori also served as a Senior Fellow to the Democracy Fund, a left-of-center, policy-oriented foundation that contributes to left-of-center media organizations.[21]

Rachel Miller is a member of the Providence, Rhode Island City Council. She is a former board member of American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker-affiliated organization that supports a number of left-wing policies.[22] She also served as a board member for Jobs With Justice, a coalition of labor-union backed activist groups.[23]

Staff

Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett works as a campaigner for DPA.[24] Hayslett led an unsuccessful coalition in 2013 to remove libertarian billionaire David Koch from the boards of PBS and the Smithsonian museums.[25]

Sean Vitka serves as policy counsel for DPA and director for the Fourth Amendment Advisory Committee, which claims to “advise key decision-makers on issues related to the Fourth Amendment, especially in areas where law and technology intersect.”[26] Vitka , according to his DPA profile, has supported “federal funding for Planned Parenthood; support[ed] net neutrality; pass[ed] reforms to the Freedom of Information Act, among numerous other government transparency efforts; and end[ed] mass surveillance.”[27]

Robert Cruickshank is the campaign director for DPA, leading online campaigns for both DPA as well as Demand Progress Education Fund. He previously served as senior communications advisor to former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn (D) and as a public policy director at Courage Campaign.[28] His Demand Progress profile claims that he “helped lead successful campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels on issues such as economic justice, climate action and taking on the fossil fuel companies, protecting and expanding LGBT rights, funding for public education and mass transit, and government reforms including expanding voting rights, among others.”[29]

Funding

According to Demand Progress Action’s website, “Demand Progress is a fiscally-sponsored project of Sixteen Thirty Fund, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization.” [30] The Sixteen Thirty Fund is a major left-of-center funding and fiscal sponsorship nonprofit.

Demand Progress Action’s website lists five “organizations or entities”[31] that donated over $50,000 to its cause in 2017. It listed “Contributions from individuals” at $706,000. Voqal, a collective of EBS Licensees, donated $170,000. Open Society Policy Center, a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization affiliated with George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, made a $150,000 donation. Democracy Fund Voice, the lobbying arm of Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar’s advocacy empire, made a $100,000 donation. The movie and TV streaming service Netflix, a staunch supporter of net neutrality, also donated $50,000. [32]

DPA has also received $145,000 in two grants from the left-wing Proteus Fund, $20,000 from the Tides Foundation, and almost $168,000 from the Essex County Community Foundation.[33]

According to its 2016 tax filing, DPA reported revenues of $651,059. It reported expenditures of $1,195,000. [34]

In 2016, DPA gave $672,292 to the Sixteen Thirty Fund in “financial assistance” for a program intended to “promote civil liberties, privacy and open government and to reduce corporate influence over our political system.” [35]

In 2016, DPA gave $173,651 to the New Venture Fund in “financial assistance” for a program engaged in “public education, policy development, and other efforts in furtherance of civil liberties, privacy and open government, and the reform of the American political system.” [36]

References

  1. Demand Progress. “Major Progressive Groups Call for Resolution to End US Involvement in Yemen.” Common Dreams. September 26, 2018. Accessed February 01, 2019. https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2018/09/26/major-progressive-groups-call-resolution-end-us-involvement-yemen. ^
  2. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed February 01, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/. ^
  3. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/ ^
  4. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Demand Progress Action (2016). Part 3 (Line 4a); Additional Data for Part 3, Line 4a. ^
  5. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/. ^
  6. Lucas, Fred. “Net Neutrality: Strangling the Information Highway with Red Tape.” Capital Research Center. January 1, 2010. Accessed February 01, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/net-neutrality-strangling-the-information-highway-with-red-tape/. ^
  7. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/. ^
  8. Newcomb, Alyssa. “Internet Slowdown Day: Why Your Favorite Sites Have the ‘Spinning Wheel of Death’.” ABC News. September 10, 2014. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/internet-slowdown-day-favorite-sites-spinning-wheel-death/story?id=25403426. ^
  9. Downey, Caroline. “Keep Calm & Celebrate the End of Net Neutrality.” Capital Research Center. June 26, 2018. Accessed February 01, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/keep-calm-celebrate-the-end-of-net-neutrality/. ^
  10. “Press Release.” Demand Progress. July 12, 2017. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/demand-progress-statement-on-tomorrows-net-neutrality-day-of-action/. ^
  11. “About.” Free Press. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://www.freepress.net/about. ^
  12. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/. ^
  13. Schwartz, John. “Open-Access Advocate Arrested for Huge Download.” The New York Times. July 19, 2011. Accessed February 01, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/us/20compute.html?ref=us. ^
  14. Sam Gustin. “Aaron Swartz, Tech Prodigy and Internet Activist, Is Dead at 26.” Time. January 13, 2013. Accessed January 23, 2019. http://business.time.com/2013/01/13/tech-prodigy-and-internet-activist-aaron-swartz-commits-suicide/ ^
  15. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/. ^
  16. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Demand Progress Action (2016). Part 7 (Section a) ^
  17. “Elizabeth Stark.” The Aspen Institute. Accessed January 28, 2019. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/our-people/elizabeth-stark/. ^
  18. “David Moon.” Maryland State Archives. Accessed February 01, 2019. https://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/msa17063.html. ^
  19. “David Moon’s Biography.” Vote Smart. Accessed February 01, 2019. https://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/150121/david-moon. ^
  20. “Michael Masnick.” Bloomberg.com. Accessed January 28, 2019. https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=30993153&privcapId=30945304. ^
  21. “About Marvin Ammori.” Marvin Ammori. September 19, 2018. Accessed January 28, 2019. https://ammori.org/about/. ^
  22. “No More Funding for Walls, ICE, or Border Patrol.” American Friends Service Committee. January 25, 2019. Accessed January 28, 2019. https://www.afsc.org/action/no-more-funding-walls-ice-or-border-patrol. ^
  23. “Miller Track Record.” SquareSpace. September 12, 2018. Accessed January 28, 2019. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b478bd6372b96b5c65f8d20/t/5b85b1190ebbe8abbfeaf0a1/1535488282234/miller_track_record.pdf. ^
  24. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/. ^
  25. “Reuben Hayslett.” Netroots Nation. Accessed February 01, 2019. https://www.netrootsnation.org/profile/rhayslettworkingfamilies-org/. ^
  26. “About.” Fourth Amendment Advisory Committee. Accessed January 23, 2019. http://www.fourthadvisory.org/about/. ^
  27. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/. ^
  28. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/. ^
  29. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/. ^
  30. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/. ^
  31. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/. ^
  32. “About Demand Progress.” Demand Progress. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://demandprogress.org/about/. ^
  33. “Grant Visualizer: Demand Progress Action.” Foundation Search. Accessed October 15, 2018. www.foundationsearch.com ^
  34. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Demand Progress Action (2016). Part 1 (Lines 12 and 18). ^
  35. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Demand Progress Action (2016). Part 3 (Line 4a); Additional Data for Part 3, Line 4a. ^
  36. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Demand Progress Action (2016). Part 3 (Line 4b); Additional Data for Part 3, Line 4b. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 2013

  • 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
    2016 Dec Form 990 $651,059 $1,194,999 $180,969 $157,223 N $601,059 $50,000 $0 $37,880
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,131,567 $1,115,520 $827,077 $131,632 N $973,707 $157,860 $0 $101,620 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,003,787 $661,264 $732,905 $54,475 N $1,003,787 $0 $0 $131,676 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $625,907 $318,121 $364,091 $56,096 N $625,907 $0 $0 $6,000 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990EZ $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

    Demand Progress Action (DPA)

    30 RITCHIE AVE
    SILVER SPRING, MD 20910-5110