People for the American Way is a left-of-center advocacy group formed in 1981 by liberal Hollywood television producer Norman Lear, ostensibly to oppose the conservative principles espoused by Christian conservative televangelists.  It is the 501(c)(4) social welfare organization arm of the People For the American Way Foundation, a progressive nonprofit organization in the United States.
People For the American Way monitors what it characterizes as “right-wing” activities, advocates for a left-of-center policy agenda, and helps to elect liberal political candidates.  PFAW’s policy includes left-of-center positions on a wide-range of issues including public funding of abortion providers, a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, tax and spend big government budgeting, and a general opposition to President Donald Trump’s policies and appointments.   
PFAW has been particularly active in U.S. Supreme Court judicial nomination battles. PFAW spent $1.5 million in the “borking” campaign opposing President Ronald Reagan’s nominee, Judge Robert Bork; ran advertisements supporting President Barack Obama’s nomination of now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor; and sharply opposed President Trump’s nomination of now-Justice Neil Gorsuch.  
PFAW also publishes the website RightWingWatch, which has published thousands of posts monitoring and attacking conservative political beliefs in support of the PFAW’s left-of-center agenda.
PFAW has spent over $1.6 million lobbying congress and state governments on hundreds of liberal policy prerogatives, and through its affiliated PAC has given out nearly $1.7 million in political contributions to Democratic candidates and causes.  
PFAW began as a project of the Tides Foundation, a left-of-center donor-advised fund provider which allows contributors to obscure the endpoint of their contributions; it ultimately gained its independent tax status and now exists as a stand-alone “social welfare” lobbying nonprofit. 
After the election of President Ronald Reagan, liberal Hollywood TV producer Norman Lear (known for “All in the Family,” “Maude,” and “The Jeffersons,” among other shows), then-U.S. Representative Barbara Jordan (D-TX), Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, and Time Inc. Chairman Andrew Heiskell founded Citizens for Constitutional Concerns, Inc. in 1981 as a left-of-center 501(c)(4) nonprofit advocacy organization.    The group was renamed People for the American Way (PFAW) in 1985. 
At its inception the organization was largely focused on oppose the policies and organizations of Christian conservatives and popular televangelists, such as Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, and Pat Robertson.  PFAW was notable for its participation in the “borking” campaign to block the Reagan administration‘s nomination of conservative legal scholar and federal appellate judge Robert Bork by portraying Judge Bork as a right-wing extremist; the group commissioned an advertisement narrated by liberal activist actor Gregory Peck to rally opposition to Bork’s nomination.
Located in Washington, D.C., People For the American Way monitors what it characterizes as “right-wing” activities, and uses rapid response, political lobbying, volunteer mobilization, press releases, op-eds, and other press tools to push a left-of-center policy agenda and to elect liberal political candidates.   
PFAW also funds and deploys popularized media campaigns to advocate for its liberal issue priorities and preferred candidates. In its first seven years, “the organization produced approximately eighteen television ads and public service announcements, three film/videotape documentaries, twenty-five print ad campaigns, and twelve radio spots.” 
PFAW’s affiliates, People For the American Way Foundation and People For the American Way Voters Alliance, run programs designed to complement its liberal advocacy agenda pushing for voter education and left-wing political infrastructure building. 
Left-Wing Policy Campaigns
Initially, the organization focused on countering conservatives through three primary areas: secularizing government and society, expanding the public education system, and securing liberal control of the judiciary.  In 1988, the group’s issue focus broadened to attract new donors. PFAW added liberal issue priorities such as voter registration, abortion, and immigration issues to its advocacy. Current PFAW advocacy campaigns support a wide range of liberal policies.
The “Trump’s Dangerous Team” campaign criticized President Trump’s cabinet members and demanded that that Senators refuse to confirm President Trump’s future conservative nominees. 
PFAW’s “Fighting the Right’s Tax and Budget Agenda” attacked conservative fiscal policy and President Trump’s proposed budget, while at the same time pushing for welfare handouts, government-funded healthcare, expansions of food stamps, and environmentalist financial handouts. 
Some of PFAW’s other campaigns run advertisements supporting Democratic candidates for state or federal office and their efforts to give legal status to illegal immigrants and attacking Republicans for their strong border security positions.  PFAW has also pushed for federal funding of and unfettered access to abortions and supported labor union-aligned employment mandates such as higher minimum wage and mandatory paid leave.  PFAW has also argued religious institutions should be forced to comply with laws that offend their religious beliefs. 
PFAW has long been active in battles over judicial nominations. In 1987, PFAW reportedly spent $1.5 million on advertisements to defeat the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork, a campaign tactic that became notorious as “borking.”  Later, PFAW would join with other liberal groups such as the Alliance for Justice and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to run hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of advertisements in support of President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. 
In 2017, PFAW ran advertisements against President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court. 
People for The American Way released a letter January 31, 2019 opposing the confirmation of Neomi Rao, President Trump’s nominee for a seat on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. PFAW claimed that Rao has “belittled societal discrimination and those harmed by it,” criticizing what it calls her “disturbing writings on sexual violence,” and attacking Rao’s criticism of extreme environmentalists. The letter concludes by saying the confirmation of Rao as a D.C. Circuit Judge “would do great harm to the nation.” 
Right Wing Watch
PFAW publishes the website Right Wing Watch, which monitors and attacks right-of-center movements in support of the PFAW’s left-wing agenda.  The site has published countless reports on similar subjects, including reports that attack conservative political candidates, policies, and advocacy organizations.  
PFAW has run numerous advocacy advertisements attacking Republican political candidates based on their left-wing political agenda. In 2008, PFAW ran advertisements attacking Republican presidential candidate John McCain and five U.S. Senate candidates for supporting Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s confirmation. In 2012, PFAW funded an attack campaign against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. 
In 2016, PFAW ran numerous political campaign advertisements featuring anxious children discussing how they were scared of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. 
PFAW was “profoundly troubled” by his election and pledged to “work harder than ever” to fight for their liberal agenda.  The group opposed President Trump’s immigration policy and cabinet nominations.  
PFAW consistently opposed President Trump’s policies, attacked his alleged conflicts of interest, and funded an advertisement campaign against Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, now-Justice Neil Gorsuch.  
Since 2007, People For the American Way has spent $1.64 million lobbying congress on over 750 separate bills. 
PFAW opposed a bill to enhance penalties for convicted and deported criminals who reenter the United States illegally, supported federal funding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and supported for a federal budget proposal that stops sequestration and raised spending caps.   
PFAW also lobbies state legislatures for liberal political policies. In 2014, it lobbied the New York legislature to pass a resolution favoring a constitutional amendment that would deny Americans their constitutionally protected right to free speech in election campaigns.
Between 1999 and 2020, PFAW spent over $5.5 million lobbying congress: 
In 2016, PFAW reported revenues of $7,502,564 and expenditures of $6,162,094. Included in PFAW’s revenues were at least seven six-figure contributions between $100,000 and $500,000. 
PFAW often decries special interest political spending. For instance in 2012, PFAW joined forces with other liberal special interest groups such as Health Care for America Now (HCAN), Public Citizen, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to advocate for laws that would restrict the funding of campaign and advocacy speech. 
However, since 2004, People for the American Way’s associated 501(c)(3) Foundation has received $2.6 million from liberal billionaire George Soros‘ Open Society Foundations (formerly the Open Society Institute), according to data from the Foundation Center. As of 2014, the Democracy Alliance network of left-wing donors (including Soros) listed PFAW as part of the progressive infrastructure. 
Additionally, PFAW has received money from labor unions and other liberal-left foundations. It reported $900,000 from the Miriam G. and Ira D. Wallach Foundation; $810,000 from the Lear Family Foundation; $575,000 from the Bauman Family Foundation; and $500,000 from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. 
PFAW also consistently attacks so-called “dark money” in politics, even though it was created as a project of the Tides Foundation, a donor-advised fund provider which allows contributors to obscure the endpoint of their contributions.    Moreover, PFAW registered to become a 501(c)(4) lobbying group and did not have to disclose its donors, the very type of arrangement that PFAW classifies as “dark money” when practiced by conservatives.  
At a later point, PFAW voluntarily disclosed its top five donors and the amounts they had given (presumably over the course of PFAW’s existence, although the webpage does not specify).  They are:
- Henry van Ameringen – $795,000
- Lois Stainman – $650,000
- Searle Whitney – $644,015
- Priorities USA – $587,500
- Jan Griffiths – $566,717
In 2020, People for the American Way announced that it had hired former unsuccessful Democratic nominee for governor of Maryland and president and CEO of the NAACP Ben Jealous as its president.
Michael Keegan was the president and CEO of People For the American Way. Keegan has worked at PFAW since 1994. Keegan is also a founding national board member of The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).  In 2019, he announced his departure from the organization.
While as of September 2020 he did not list it on his LinkedIn profile nor in his biography on the Center for Election Innovation & Research‘s website, Becker was a senior staff attorney at the People For the American Way (PFAW) in 2006 before becoming the director of PFAW’s Democracy Campaign in 2007.      Becker is the founder and executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, an electoral policy advocacy group, and was previously the director of election initiatives at Pew Charitable Trusts and a trial lawyer in the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division.  
Board of Directors
PFAW’s board of directors includes a number of liberal Hollywood figures. Norman Lear is the founding chair of the PFAW board of directors.  Lear is a television producer who created the genre of politically charged television shows that include such show runners as “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “the Jeffersons,” and others.  Lear is a self-admitted liberal who has no problem using his celebrity to push a left-wing political agenda, including higher taxes and abortion.  
Other influential liberals and Hollywood celebrities on the PFAW board of directors include actors Alec Baldwin and Seth MacFarlane, actress Jane Lynch, producer Howard Klein, and labor union movement figure Dolores Huerta.