Non-profit

Majority Forward

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

47-4368320

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $7,224,024
Expenses: $3,628,739
Assets: $3,595,285

Formation:

2015

Type:

Voter Registration and Turnout Group

President:

Rebecca Lambe

Majority Forward is a Democratic Party-aligned advocacy group that campaigns against Republicans and conservative causes. It works on voter registration and voter turnout operations. It is associated with the Senate Majority PAC and has established working relationships with other left-of-center groups such as Vote Vets.

The organization was founded in 2015. In the 2016 election cycle, Rebecca Lambe, the former chief political strategist for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), led Majority Forward. [1]

J.B. Poersch, the former head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and president of Senate Majority PAC, led Majority Forward in 2018. [2]

The left-leaning Center for Responsive Politics has raised concerns about the organization’s compliance with IRS tax-exemption rules. Tax-exempt 501(c)(4) organizations like Majority Forward (which CRP characterizes as “dark money”) are limited in their political expenditures, and CRP questioned whether Majority Forward had exceeded the limits. [3]

Ties to Senate Majority PAC

Majority Forward is associated with Senate Majority PAC, the super PAC aligned with Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate and controlled by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The two organizations often share personnel: Majority Forward founder Rebecca Lambe is a former Senate Majority PAC staffer, and J.B.Poersch simultaneously served as president of Senate Majority PAC and Majority Forward. [4] Susan McCue is a co-founder of Senate Majority PAC. [5]

The two organizations have a cost-sharing agreement. The two organizations share office space and staff. In the second half of 2015, Majority Forward reimbursed Senate Majority PAC over $300,000 for staff, office space, and other expenses. [6]

Policy Advocacy

Majority Forward’s first campaign activity was spending $3.4 million on digital ads to urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to hold hearings for then-President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, federal appellate judge Merrick Garland. [7]

Electoral Activities

2016 Cycle

Majority Forward spent heavily on the Senate race in Pennsylvania, with nearly $6 million in expenditures attempting to defeat U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA). [8]

The group was most active in New Hampshire. The group ran digital ads and ran $2.4 million worth of “issue ads” which do not have to be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission targeting then-U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). The organization also provided ground support to Ayotte’s opponent, Democratic candidate Maggie Hassan. Hassan eventually narrowly defeated Ayotte. [9]

The organization was also active in Kentucky, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin. [10]

2018 Cycle

Around Memorial Day in 2017, Majority Forward ran TV and digital issue advertisements in Arizona, Indiana, Nevada, Montana, and North Dakota. The group coordinated with Vote Vets for advertisements in Missouri. [11]

In June 2017, Friends of the Earth, CREDO Action, and Climate Hawks Vote objected to Majority Forward’s advertising in support of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). The groups objected to the advertisements because they were pro-coal. The groups demanded “total resistance” to President Donald Trump’s policies. Eventually, the groups gained over 157,000 signatures opposing Majority Forward from the left. [12]

The group also teamed up with Vote Vets to air ads in Montana attacking Republican Senate candidate Matt Rosendale on veterans’ issues. [13] The group wound up being the largest outside spender in the Montana U.S. Senate race, spending $4.2 million; Democratic incumbent Jon Tester was reelected. [14]

In the end, Majority Forward reported spending around $46 million in the 2018 election cycle. [15]

As of September 2018, Majority Forward had spent $5.6 million on Senate races in five states. The group produced two ads attacking Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott over budget cuts and environmentalist issues. [16]

2019 Government Shutdown

Majority Forward kicked off its 2020 election cycle by targeting Republican Senators during the government shutdown. The group spent $600,000 on TV advertisements in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, and North Carolina. [17][18]

Leadership

J.B. Poersch serves as president. Rodell Mollineau and Susan McCue serve as directors. [19]

Funding

Majority Forward is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that is not required to disclose its donors, a setup criticized by some progressive groups as “dark money.” The Tides Foundation reported Majority Forward as a “grantee” on its website, but did not specify the amount contributed. [20]

In 2016, Majority Forward received $2.5 million in contributions from three left-wing 501(c)(4) nonprofits. The Advocacy Fund (formerly Tides Advocacy Fund) contributed $1,500,000 to Majority Forward, NEO Philanthropy Action Fund contributed $500,000 to the group, and Sixteen Thirty Fund gave it $500,000. [21]

Other funders include the American Health Care Association, which gave Majority Forward $200,000 in 2016; the Environmental Defense Action Fund, which  donated $200,000 to it between 2015 and 2016; Fair Share, which gave the group $135,000 between 2016 and 2017; Intercontinental Exchange PAC, which gave it $20,000 in 2016; and the National Education Association, which donated $100,000 to Majority Forward in 2016. [22]

References

  1. “Rebecca Lambe”. 2019. Dark Money Watch. Accessed March 4. http://darkmoneywatch.org/key-players-person/rebecca-lambe/.
  2. Sullivan, Sean. “Groups Aligned with Senate Democrats Raise $31.8 Million in 2017, Edging out GOP Counterparts.” The Washington Post. January 30, 2018. Accessed March 04, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2018/01/30/groups-aligned-with-senate-democrats-raise-31-8-million-in-2017-edging-out-gop-counterparts/?utm_term=.c552e0707a40.
  3. Maguire, Robert. 2017. “In The Service Of Social Welfare, Democratic Operatives Get IRS Seal Of Approval”. Opensecrets News. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2017/04/service-social-welfare-democratic-operatives-get-irs-seal-approval/.
  4. Sullivan, Sean. “Groups Aligned with Senate Democrats Raise $31.8 Million in 2017, Edging out GOP Counterparts.” The Washington Post. January 30, 2018. Accessed March 04, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2018/01/30/groups-aligned-with-senate-democrats-raise-31-8-million-in-2017-edging-out-gop-counterparts/?utm_term=.c552e0707a40.
  5. Maguire, Robert. 2017. “In The Service Of Social Welfare, Democratic Operatives Get IRS Seal Of Approval”. Opensecrets News. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2017/04/service-social-welfare-democratic-operatives-get-irs-seal-approval/.
  6. Levine, Carrie. 2016. “Democratic Super PAC Aided By Secret Money”. Center For Public Integrity. https://publicintegrity.org/federal-politics/democratic-super-pac-aided-by-secret-money/.
  7. Maguire, Robert. 2017. “In The Service Of Social Welfare, Democratic Operatives Get IRS Seal Of Approval”. Opensecrets News. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2017/04/service-social-welfare-democratic-operatives-get-irs-seal-approval/.
  8. Maguire, Robert. 2017. “In The Service Of Social Welfare, Democratic Operatives Get IRS Seal Of Approval”. Opensecrets News. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2017/04/service-social-welfare-democratic-operatives-get-irs-seal-approval/.
  9. Maguire, Robert, and Ashley Balcerzak. 2016. “In New Hampshire And Other States, Democrats Seem Just Fine With Dark Money”. The Daily Beast. https://www.thedailybeast.com/in-new-hampshire-and-other-states-democrats-seem-just-fine-with-dark-money.
  10. Maguire, Robert, and Ashley Balcerzak. 2016. “In New Hampshire And Other States, Democrats Seem Just Fine With Dark Money”. The Daily Beast. https://www.thedailybeast.com/in-new-hampshire-and-other-states-democrats-seem-just-fine-with-dark-money.
  11. “Majority Forward Launches More Than $3.5 Million State-Based Issue TV And Digital Ads In Six States: Arizona, Indiana, Nevada, Missouri, Montana & North Dakota”. 2017. PR News Wire. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/majority-forward-launches-more-than-35-million-state-based-issue-tv-and-digital-ads-in-six-states-arizona-indiana-nevada-missouri-montana–north-dakota-300463277.html.
  12. “157,000 Call On Schumer’s Majority Forward To Stop Funding Attacks On Public Health And Environment”. 2017. Friends Of The Earth Action. https://foeaction.org/news/call-on-schumer-to-stop/.
  13. “Votevets, Majority Forward, Team Up For New Ad On Matt Rosendale’s Horrendous Veterans Record”. 2019. Vote Vets. Accessed March 4. https://m.votevets.org/press/votevets-majority-forward-team-up-for-new-ad-on-matt-rosendales-horrendous-veterans-record.
  14. “Liberal ‘Dark Money’ Groups Spent More In 2018 Than Conservative Groups”. 2019. Countable. https://www.countable.us/articles/20103-liberal-dark-money-groups-spent-2018-conservative-groups.
  15. “Liberal ‘Dark Money’ Groups Spent More In 2018 Than Conservative Groups”. 2019. Countable. https://www.countable.us/articles/20103-liberal-dark-money-groups-spent-2018-conservative-groups.
  16. Lemongello, Steven, and Steven Lemongello. “Rick Scott vs. Bill Nelson: Who Are the outside Groups Spending Millions on the Senate Race?” Orlandosentinel.com. April 06, 2019. Accessed June 03, 2019. https://www.orlandosentinel.com/politics/os-senate-race-pacs-and-spending-20180925-story.html.
  17. “Liberal ‘Dark Money’ Groups Spent More In 2018 Than Conservative Groups”. 2019. Countable. https://www.countable.us/articles/20103-liberal-dark-money-groups-spent-2018-conservative-groups.
  18. Sullivan, Sean. 2019. “Democratic Group To Launch Ads Targeting Six GOP Senators Over Shutdown”. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/democratic-group-to-launch-ads-targeting-six-gop-senators-over-shutdown/2019/01/17/64d2bb2e-1a84-11e9-9ebf-c5fed1b7a081_story.html?utm_term=.46b489f3abc3.
  19. Maguire, Robert. 2017. “In The Service Of Social Welfare, Democratic Operatives Get IRS Seal Of Approval”. Opensecrets News. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2017/04/service-social-welfare-democratic-operatives-get-irs-seal-approval/.
  20.  “Majority Forward”. 2019. Tides. Accessed March 4. https://www.tides.org/project/majority-forward/.
  21. Montellaro, Zach. “A Look behind the Dark Money Curtain.” POLITICO. September 20, 2018. Accessed June 03, 2019. https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-score/2018/09/20/a-look-behind-the-dark-money-curtain-345762.
  22. Montellaro, Zach. “A Look behind the Dark Money Curtain.” POLITICO. September 20, 2018. Accessed June 03, 2019. https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-score/2018/09/20/a-look-behind-the-dark-money-curtain-345762.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Rebecca Lambe
    President
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: May - April
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 2017

  • 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 May Form 990 $7,224,024 $3,628,739 $3,595,285 $0 N $7,224,024 $0 $0 $90,000 PDF

    Majority Forward

    700 13TH ST NW STE 600
    WASHINGTON, DC 20005-5998