Non-profit

Rock the Vote Action

Website:

rockthevoteactionfund.org/

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

26-2678740

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Executive Director:

Heather Smith

Type:

Nonprofit

Rock the Vote Action Fund is the lobbying affiliate of Rock the Vote, a progressive-aligned organization in the United States which seeks to to engage and “build the political power of young people.” [1] The group is noted as having a liberal-Democratic lean, especially in its issue-based voter guides, which have historically been published in presidential election years. [2]

Rock the Vote Action Fund supports the passing of gun control legislation, most notably the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019; as of March 2020, the gun control legislation led the organization’s homepage. [3]

Activities

In past presidential election years, Rock the Vote Action Fund has published issue-based voter guides, identifying where candidates stand on issues geared towards young voters, such as college affordability, criminal justice, gun control, and liberalizing immigration. [4]

A college student noted Democratic bias in the 2008 voter guide, suggesting the guide’s language was “designed to make the Republican hopeful appear as callous and stingy as possible, while the Democrat columns are practically an endorsement.” [5]

In 2018, Rock the Vote Action Fund accused Donald Trump’s son, Eric Trump, of stealing its intellectual property. The group claimed that Trump made a post on Twitter that included a graphic very similar to one that the Fund had posted days before. Tweets from both the Fund and Eric Trump were encouraging citizens to register to vote. [6]

At present, the Fund’s website maintains an active link to register to vote through its site, and a link to its press release in support of passing the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, gun control legislation made a priority by the House Democratic majority. [7]

People

Heather Smith

Executive Director Heather Smith has been with the Rock the Vote since 2007. Smith also works as senior advisor to the left-wing environmentalist group Pluribus Project. She has formerly worked with groups like Green Corps, and Student PIRG’s New Voters Project. Smith is the founder of former executive director of Young Voter Strategies, and sits on the boards of Nonprofit VOTE, and Advocates for Youth (AFY). [8]

Ricki Seidman

Ricki Seidman, former executive director of the Rock the Vote Action Fund, previously worked for former President Barack Obama’s general election campaign and as communications director to former Vice President Joe Biden. Seidman assisted with the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee. [9]

Seidman served in senior positions at White House during the Clinton administration, including White House Deputy Communications Director, and Counselor to the Chief of Staff, and later served as Deputy Associate Attorney General in the Department of Justice. [10] He also formerly held a senior position at People for the American Way (PFAW). [11]

Seidman was an adviser to Christine Blasey Ford, an academic who accused then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were both teenagers. Seidman had previously helped prepare Anita Hill for her testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. [12]

Board of Directors

Antha Williams is the treasurer of the board. Williams is an environmentalist activist and head of environmental programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Prior this, Williams was senior vice president at Corridor Partners, an advocacy executive at Atlantic Philanthropies, program officer at Beldon Fund, and a campaigner and organizer with Green Corps. [13]

Williams sits on the boards of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, European Climate Foundation, League of Conservation Voters, and Oceans 5. [14] She formerly sat on the board of Greenpeace. [15]

Ivan Frishberg is the secretary of the Rock the Vote Action board and is a vice president at the labor union-aligned Amalgamated Bank. He is the former founding president of Work for Progress, and former political director of Environment America, groups aligned with the Public Interest Network. Frishberg is also a former senior climate advisor for Organizing for Action (OFA). [16]

Jon Rubin is the president of the board, and a co-founder of Rock the Vote. [17]

Funding

Rock the Vote Action Fund’s last filed a full publicly available “Form 990” tax return for tax year 2013, with no reported revenue; in subsequent tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 it filed the “E-Postcard” for organizations reporting less than $50,000 in gross receipts. [18] In prior years, the Fund received substantial donations from the Tides Advocacy Fund ($80,000 in 2008,[19] and $60,000 in 2009[20]), a group with close associations to the Tides Foundation, an influential progressive funding organization. The Tides Foundation reported contributing $77,500 to the Fund in 2018. [21]

References

  1. “Home.” Rock the Vote, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://www.rockthevote.org/. ^
  2. Fults, Brian. “Letter: Rock the Vote Literature Bias Misleads Students.” The Collegiate Times, Novemebr 2008. Accessed March 22, 2020. http://www.collegiatetimes.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/letter-rock-the-vote-literature-bias-misleads-students/article_e83241fa-e81e-51e6-86e0-5f6f6af47a34.html. ^
  3. “Home.” Rock the Vote Action Fund, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://rockthevoteactionfund.org/. ^
  4. Goodman, Jessica. “The Smart Girl’s Guide to Voting.” Cosmopolitan, November 5, 2018. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a24565792/voting-guide-midterm-election-2018/. ^
  5. Fults, Brian. “Letter: Rock the Vote Literature Bias Misleads Students.” The Collegiate Times, Novemebr 2008. Accessed March 22, 2020. http://www.collegiatetimes.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/letter-rock-the-vote-literature-bias-misleads-students/article_e83241fa-e81e-51e6-86e0-5f6f6af47a34.html. ^
  6. Moye, David. “Rock The Vote Accuses Eric Trump of Stealing Its Voting Registration Graphic.” HuffPost, October 9, 2018. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/eric-trump-rock-the-vote-graphic_n_5bbd04fee4b01470d056461e. ^
  7. “Home.” Rock the Vote Action Fund, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://rockthevoteactionfund.org/. ^
  8. “Heather Smith.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-smith-b90bbb4/. ^
  9. “Ricki Seidman.” TSD Communications. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://www.tsd.biz/our-team/ricki-seidman/. ^
  10. “Ricki Seidman.” TSD Communications. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://www.tsd.biz/our-team/ricki-seidman/. ^
  11. “Ricki Seidman.” TSD Communications. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://www.tsd.biz/our-team/ricki-seidman/. ^
  12. Karni, Annie. “Kavanaugh Accuser Leans on Democratic Operative for Advice.” Politico, September 20, 2018. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/20/kavanaugh-accuser-democratic-operative-advice-833013. ^
  13. “Antha N. Williams.” Bloomberg Philanthropies, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://www.bloomberg.org/press/our-team/antha-williams/. ^
  14. “Antha N. Williams.” Bloomberg Philanthropies, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://www.bloomberg.org/press/our-team/antha-williams/. ^
  15. “2012-2013 Greenpeace Inc. Board Member Bios.” GreenPeace, Accessed March 22, 2020. http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/wp-content/uploads/legacy/Global/usa/planet3/PDFs/2012-2013%20Inc%20Board%20Bios%20(1).pdf. ^
  16. “Ivan Frishberg.” LinkedIn, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ivanfrishberg/. ^
  17. “Interview with Heather Smith.” Democracy in Action, 2010. Accessed March 22, 2020. http://www.p2012.org/electorate/smith111109int.html. ^
  18. Retrieved from the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search, for Rock the Vote Action Fund, EIN 26-2678740 ^
  19. Tides Advocacy Fund, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2008, Schedule I, Part II ^
  20. Tides Advocacy Fund, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2009, Schedule I, Part II ^
  21. Tides Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule I, Part II ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Ricki Seidman
    Former Executive Director

Associated Organizations

  1. Rock the Vote (Non-profit)

Coalition Memberships

  1. Spread The Vote

Supported Movements

  1. Strike With Us
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2015

  • Available Filings

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Rock the Vote Action

    1875 CONNECTICUT AVENUE NW 10TH FL
    WASHINGTON, DC 20009-6046