Non-profit

PowerPAC

Website:

www.powerpac.org

Location:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Tax ID:

65-1218474

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $2,374,396
Expenses: $2,367,947
Assets: $380,342

Type:

Left-Wing Voter Mobilization Group

Founder:

Steven Phillips

President:

Andrew Wong

PowerPAC is a left-of-center lobbying organization based in San Francisco that specializes in voter mobilization. The organization was founded by liberal activist Steve Phillips and largely funded by left-of-center philanthropist Susan Sandler. [1]

PowerPAC sends money and people to areas involved in local liberal social policy campaigns. It works with the community activists to fund their movements, helps develop strategy, and in some cases is directly involved in advocacy. [2]

The organization also professes to represent historically underrepresented constituencies. The organization researches the political landscape it sends money and resources usually regarding local and state legislative fights or ballot initiatives. The organization engages in base building, formulates campaign strategy, conducts issue advocacy, and supports technical infrastructure. [3]

Since aiding Barack Obama’s first presidential bid, the super PAC has become involved with coordinating voter mobilization to help progressive candidates run for office. For example, in 2014 they assisted the campaigns for President Barack Obama, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). [4]

History

PowerPAC was established by Steve Phillips, a liberal social activist and lawyer, in 2003. He started the group with a $95,000 investment. Phillips’ father-in-law is Herbert Sandler, the late billionaire banker who was a major donor to the Democratic Party and liberal advocacy causes. [5]

Phillips was the youngest person ever elected to public office in San Francisco, serving on the Board of Education. [6]

PowerPAC is a sister organization to Vote Hope that began in 2008 as a special interest group raising and spending millions to help elect President Barack Obama. The two organizations set up what the New York Times called a “parallel campaign” for then-Senator Obama. Specifically, PowerPAC staff would find likely Obama voters and drive them to the polling location, then check with the poll workers to ensure the person voted. [7]

Phillips has described his background as radical-left. He wrote on his blog “Political Intelligence” in 2012: “I’ve studied Marx, Mao, and Lenin. In college, I organized solidarity efforts for freedom struggles in South Africa and Nicaragua, and I palled around with folks who considered themselves communists and revolutionaries …, and I did my research paper on the Black Panther Party. … My political baptism was the Jesse Jackson 1984 Presidential campaign.” [8]

The organization is primarily funded by San Francisco liberal donor Susan Sandler. [9] Sandler was one of the biggest donors to independent efforts promoting the election of President Barack Obama in 2008. She was also a top financial supporter of the California attorney general campaign of now-U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) in 2010. Sandler is also reportedly a member of the Democracy Alliance network of liberal mega-donors. [10]

Leadership

Andrew Wong is the president of PowerPAC. Wong has a background in math and computer data systems. He became involved with campaign infrastructure that targets voters using technology for niche constituencies. [11]

Lisa Le is the controller of the organization, and a certified public accountant. [12]

Pierre Barolette is the director of special programs. [13]

Edil Mari Los Reyes, who has a background in field organization and is a blogger, is the political director. [14]

Marvin Randolph is the president of the Southern Elections Fund. He is associated with the organization’s get-out-the-vote efforts. [15]

Controversies

The Georgia Ethics Commission issued a subpoena to PowerPAC Georgia for its expenditures, seeking evidence of possible coordination with other independent groups to promote the election of Democrat Stacey Abrams in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election. The Ethics Commission further was investigating if the groups violated legal spending limits. The commission wants records of correspondents between the Abrams campaign and various groups, including PowerPAC, which spent $5.6 million promoting Abrams and criticizing her opponent Republican Brian Kemp, who won the election. [16]

References

  1. Loudon, Trevor. “The Rainbow Coalition Re-visited: Why Kamala Harris Will Be the Democratic Presidential Nominee.” The Epoch Times. August 13, 2019. Accessed March 27, 2020. https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-rainbow-coalition-re-visited-why-kamala-harris-will-be-the-democratic-presidential-nominee_3027856.html ^
  2. Home. Powerpac Foundation. Accessed March 26, 2020. http://www.powerpacfoundation.org/. ^
  3. About Us. PowerPAC. Accessed March 26, 2020. http://www.powerpac.org/ ^
  4. Devine, Shane. “Steve Phillips: Putting Identity Politics into Practice.” Capital Research Center. January 19, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/steve-phillips-putting-identity-politics-into-practice/ ^
  5. Wayne, Leslie. “Outside Groups Aid Obama, Their Vocal Critic.” The New York Times. January 30, 2008. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/30/us/politics/30donate.html ^
  6. About. The Sandler Phillips Center. Accessed March 27, 2020. https://www.sandlerphillipscenter.com/about ^
  7. Wayne, Leslie. “Outside Groups Aid Obama, Their Vocal Critic.” The New York Times. January 30, 2008. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/30/us/politics/30donate.html ^
  8. Loudon, Trevor. “The Rainbow Coalition Re-visited: Why Kamala Harris Will Be the Democratic Presidential Nominee.” The Epoch Times. August 13, 2019. Accessed March 27, 2020. https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-rainbow-coalition-re-visited-why-kamala-harris-will-be-the-democratic-presidential-nominee_3027856.html ^
  9. Bluestein, Greg and Salzer, James. “Broad Georgia Ethics Probe Targets Abrams — and Her Backers.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution. May 28, 2019. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/broad-georgia-ethics-probe-targets-abrams-and-her-backers/NBT2JDLOZqDgUq1vTz4xOO/ ^
  10. About. The Sandler Phillips Center. Accessed March 27, 2020. https://www.sandlerphillipscenter.com/about ^
  11. About Us. PowerPAC. Accessed March 26, 2020. http://www.powerpac.org/ ^
  12. About Us. PowerPAC. Accessed March 26, 2020. http://www.powerpac.org/ ^
  13. About Us. PowerPAC. Accessed March 26, 2020. http://www.powerpac.org/ ^
  14. About Us. PowerPAC. Accessed March 26, 2020. http://www.powerpac.org/ ^
  15. About Us. PowerPAC. Accessed March 26, 2020. http://www.powerpac.org/ ^
  16. Bluestein, Greg and Salzer, James. “Broad Georgia Ethics Probe Targets Abrams — and Her Backers.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution. May 28, 2019. Accessed March 26, 2020. https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/broad-georgia-ethics-probe-targets-abrams-and-her-backers/NBT2JDLOZqDgUq1vTz4xOO/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 2005

  • 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
    2017 Dec Form 990 $2,374,396 $2,367,947 $380,342 $247,247 N $2,274,761 $59,200 $0 $130,000 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $4,103,271 $4,065,815 $234,284 $107,638 Y $3,464,815 $599,582 $0 $130,000 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,968,144 $1,912,925 $221,064 $131,874 N $1,403,524 $536,883 $0 $128,750 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,675,517 $1,671,486 $177,082 $116,181 N $1,118,460 $545,437 $0 $125,252 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,056,609 $1,122,049 $154,684 $97,814 N $636,270 $420,000 $0 $123,613 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $7,111,415 $7,145,019 $244,974 $130,773 N $7,047,343 $35,000 $23 $125,000 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $882,002 $1,041,556 $73,588 $31,108 N $875,740 $6,250 $12 $136,000 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $2,445,044 $2,397,722 $247,079 $45,045 N $2,420,400 $24,500 $144 $125,000 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    PowerPAC

    44 MONTGOMERY ST STE 2310
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94104-4711