Non-profit

Our Revolution

Website:

ourrevolution.com

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax ID:

81-3260391

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Formation:

August 2016

Type:

Left-Wing Advocacy Group

Our Revolution is a left-wing advocacy group that was formed in the wake of the 2016 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Its primary focus is on supporting the election of candidates on the left-flank of the Democratic Party through campaign resources and activism. Notable Our Revolution-supported candidates include U.S. Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI),[1] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY),[2] Ilhan Omar (D-MN),[3] and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)[4] and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams (D-GA),[5] Ben Jealous (D-MD),[6] and Andrew Gillum (D-FL). [7] It also sponsors a host of local chapters, which operate throughout the country.

Our Revolution has been critiqued by outlets such as Politico for having shown “no ability to tip a major Democratic election in its favor” and appearing to act purely “as a promotional vehicle for its leader,” Nina Turner. [8]

History

2016 Election

Following Senator Bernie Sanders’ loss in the 2016 Democratic primaries, the former candidate began Our Revolution to support electing left-wing “progressives” and to set the groundwork for a potential 2020 presidential run.

Initially, Sanders’ former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, was appointed as president, but his selection was met with resignations from the organization. According to The New York Times, former Sanders campaign worker Claire Sandberg explained, “[She] left and others left because we were alarmed that Jeff would mismanage this organization as he mismanaged the campaign.” [9]

The organization was able to raise over $1.3 million from its August inception until election day, 2016. [10]

Post-2016

In June 2017, former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner was appointed to the position of president, stating in an interview to left-wing magazine The Progressive that her job—and that of the organization—would be centered on “pushing the Democrats back to where they should be”; namely, the far-left of American politics. [11]

According to Politico, however, Turner has had great difficulty in doing so. Our Revolution endorsed of left-wing former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) in 2017’s Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary; Our Revolution advisors expected the endorsement to yield upwards of $300,000 in donations, yet only netted $74,000. [12] Perriello lost the primary election to then-Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA).

Likewise, Our Revolution’s ability to support successful candidates has dropped in recent years. In 2018, out of 296 supported candidates and 42 ballot initiatives, 82 and 26 won, respectively. [13] In other words, only 27% of backed candidates won in 2018, compared to 50% in 2016.

Present Activities

Much of the organization’s work in 2019 has been focused on Senator Bernie Sanders’s Presidential campaign. The Wall Street Journal reported that: “Mr. Sanders’s campaign said more than 60,000 people attended more than 4,700 house parties and other events as part of his April 27 ‘organizing kickoff,” which “included parties hosted and advertised by Our Revolution chapters.” [14]

Controversies

President Nina Turner has faced strong criticism in her leadership. She was accused by board members and Sanders presidential delegates from 2016 for using Our Revolution as a mechanism to enable a potential presidential run in the future. [15] She also received pushback from the left for her decision to retain personal consultant Tezlyn Figaro, after she supported Trump’s “travel ban” and once tweeted “Please! #buildthewall.” [16] Following a public outcry, Figaro was fired, and as of May 30, 2019, is suing Our Revolution for racial discrimination. [17]

Leadership

Nina Turner is president of Our Revolution. [18]

Board of Directors

Larry Cohen is chair of the group’s board of directors and president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

Deborah Parker is the board’s vice chair, a political activist, and founder of Indigenous Women Rise.

Jim Hightower is a center-left political activist, syndicated columnist, and former Agriculture Commissioner for the state of Texas.

Jim Zogby is a former DNC executive committee member and co-founder of the Arab American Institute and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Huck Gutman is a Democratic Party campaign operative and academic. He formerly worked as chief of staff to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Shailene Woodley is an actress and political activist involved in a number of environmentalist groups.

Justin Bamberg is a Democratic Party politician representing Bamberg County in the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Lucero E. Mesa is a South Carolina-based political activist.

Richard Rodriguez is an Illinois-based political activist.

Jane Kleeb is chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party and a political strategist.

Funding

Tax filings by Our Revolution from 2017 show total revenues of $3,468,736 and total expenses of $3,188,192. [19] Disclosed in the filings was a $242,924 cash grant to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, for the purpose of an “Environmental Event”; the tribe was involved in controversial demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline. [20]

Financial Documents

Our Revolution’s 2017 IRS Form 990 filing is available here.

References

  1. “Tulsi Gabbard.” Our Revolution. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://ourrevolution.com/candidates/tulsi-gabbard-2018/. ^
  2. “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” Our Revolution. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://ourrevolution.com/candidates/alexandria-ocasio-cortez/. ^
  3. “Our Revolution Affirms Support for Rep. Ilhan Omar.” Our Revolution. February 15, 2019. Accessed May 29, 2019. https://ourrevolution.com/press/our-revolution-affirms-support-rep-ilhan-omar/. ^
  4. “Rashida Tlaib.” Our Revolution. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://ourrevolution.com/candidates/rashida-tlaib/. ^
  5. “Stacey Abrams.” Our Revolution. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://ourrevolution.com/candidates/stacey-abrams/. ^
  6. “Ben Jealous.” Our Revolution. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://ourrevolution.com/candidates/ben-jealous/. ^
  7. “Andrew Gillum.” Our Revolution. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://ourrevolution.com/candidates/andrew-gillum/. ^
  8. Frostenson, Sarah. “Bernie’s Army in Disarray.” POLITICO. May 21, 2018. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/21/bernie-sanders-democrats-2018-599331. ^
  9. Rappeport, Alan, and Yamiche Alcindor. “Bernie Sanders’s New Political Group Is Met by Staff Revolt.” The New York Times. August 24, 2016. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/25/us/politics/bernie-sanders-our-revolution-group.html?_r=0. ^
  10. Guttenplan, D.D. “Bernie Sanders’s Our Revolution Faces Its First Big Test.” The Nation. November 07, 2016. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://www.thenation.com/article/bernie-sanderss-our-revolution-faces-its-first-big-test/. ^
  11. Stockwell, Norman. “‘Great Things Come Out of Discomfort’: Our Revolution’s Nina Turner.” Progressive.org. November 01, 2017. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://progressive.org/magazine/great-things-come-out-of-discomfort-Nina-Turner/. ^
  12. Frostenson, Sarah. “Bernie’s Army in Disarray.” POLITICO. May 21, 2018. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/21/bernie-sanders-democrats-2018-599331. ^
  13. “2018 Election Results.” Our Revolution. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://ourrevolution.com/results/2018/. ^
  14. Bykowicz, Julie. “Bernie Sanders, a Front-Runner With Financing to Prove It, Struggles to Retain Outsider Status.” The Wall Street Journal. May 13, 2019. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://www.wsj.com/articles/bernie-sanders-a-front-runner-with-financing-to-prove-it-struggles-to-retain-outsider-status-11557759378. ^
  15. Frostenson, Sarah. “Bernie’s Army in Disarray.” POLITICO. May 21, 2018. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/21/bernie-sanders-democrats-2018-599331. ^
  16. Dovere, Edward-Isaac. “Our Revolution Keeps Consultant Who Made Anti-immigrant Comments.” POLITICO. May 22, 2018. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/22/our-revolution-sanders-turner-figaro-603410. ^
  17. Cramer, Ruby. “An Our Revolution Staffer Fired For “Anti-Immigrant” Remarks Is Suing The Pro-Bernie Group For Racial Discrimination.” BuzzFeed News. May 17, 2019. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/rubycramer/bernie-sanders-our-revolution-suit. ^
  18. “About.” Our Revolution. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://ourrevolution.com/about/#staff. ^
  19. “Our Revolution Form 990 2017.” Politico. Accessed May 30, 2019. https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000167-5b8d-d097-a777-7baf5a8d0001. ^
  20. Brady, Jeff. “2 Years After Standing Rock Protests, Tensions Remain But Oil Business Booms.” NPR. November 29, 2018. Accessed June 07, 2019. https://www.npr.org/2018/11/29/671701019/2-years-after-standing-rock-protests-north-dakota-oil-business-is-booming. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Deborah Parker
    Board Vice Chair
  2. Richard Rodriguez
    Board Member
  3. Lucero E. Mesa
    Board Member
  4. Justin Bamberg
    Board Member
  5. Shailene Woodley
    Board Member
  6. Huck Gutman
    Board Member
  7. Jim Hightower
    Board Member
  8. James Zogby
    Board Member
  9. Larry Cohen
    Board Chair
  10. Paco Fabian
    Director of Campaigns

Supported Movements

  1. Medicare-for-All
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Our Revolution

603 2nd St NE
Washington, DC 20002