Non-profit

RePower (Wellstone Action)

Taken by William Wesen on 09/25/2005 at Memorial Site (link)
Website:

www.repower.org

Location:

SAINT PAUL, MN

Tax ID:

33-1041433

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $1,303,234
Expenses: $1,186,100
Assets: $814,560

Formation:

2003

Type:

Far-Left Political Training Organization

Formerly:

Wellstone Action

Founder:

Jeff Blodgett

Executive Director:

Sara Beth Mueller

RePower (sometimes written Re:Power), formerly Wellstone Action, is a radical political training organization based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Formed in 2003 as tribute to the life and legacy of the liberal late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN), RePower is one of the biggest left-wing training organizations in the United States. [1] Although officially deemed nonpartisan for tax reasons, it is openly far-left in its ideological views. [2]

The mission of RePower is advancing radical political ideals in public policy. It works to achieve that mission through a means of advocacy, recruitment, and training individuals to become political candidates and operatives. [3] The group is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit.

RePower Fund (formerly the Wellstone Action Fund) is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate of RePower.

Origins

Wellstone Action was created to continue the political work of late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone (D) and his wife, Sheila. [4] Considered a torchbearer of the “Progressive” movement, Senator Wellstone, along with his wife and daughter, died in a plane crash on October 25, 2002. [5] Three months after his death, in January 2003, Wellstone Action was founded by Sen. Wellstone’s former campaign manager, Jeff Blodgett, along with the senator’s two sons, Mark and David Wellstone. [6]

Activities

The cornerstone of RePower is training individuals to become far-left political leaders. In 2016 alone the organization conducted 96 trainings throughout the country, including almost 5,300 people who received training. [7] Since its founding, the organization has trained over 90,000 people, and more than 850 of its former students have been elected to political offices. [8] [9] Those whom became elected officeholders have served at various levels of government, including local, state, and federal. [10] Current federal officeholders trained by Wellstone Action include U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D), and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D). [11] [12]

Camp Wellstone is the primary vehicle used to execute Wellstone Action’s mission to train liberal individuals. At the three-day seminar, left-wing activists, candidates, and campaign staff are taught how to attain their goals. [13] These seminars have taken place in different states across the United States. [14] Attendees of Camp Wellstone, based on their political aspirations, choose from one of its three-course options: political candidacy, working as a campaign staffer, and community organizing. [15]

RePower Fund

RePower has a sister organization called RePower Fund (formerly Wellstone Action Fund). Also created in 2003, the organization sponsors the philanthropic activities and objectives of Wellstone Action. [16]

Funding

In 2016, Wellstone Action reported nearly $1.7 million in annual revenues. Registration fees collected at training events accounts for a portion of its annual income, while the rest comes from grants and contributions. [17] There are a few outside groups which have given donations to Wellstone Action, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), both left-wing labor unions. [18] [19]

However, a large amount of the organization’s income is initially channeled into its charitable arm, RePower Fund (formerly the Wellstone Action Fund). Contributions received by the RePower Fund are partially transferred to RePower. [20] In 2016, the Foundation to Promote Open Society, run by left-of-center donor George Soros, contributed $537,000 to the RePower Fund. [21] The Ford Foundation gave $3 million in 2017. [22]

According to its 2015 tax records, the RePower Fund transferred over 30 percent of its revenue to RePower, funds exceeding $1 million. According to the organization, the RePower Fund is responsible for “the charitable purposes and functions of [RePower].” Its biggest “charitable” expense, however, is paying for RePower’s leadership trainings. [23]

Leadership

RePower is led by a board of directors consisting of seven members. [24]

Sara Beth Mueller currently serves as the group’s interim executive director. [25] Mueller, prior to her employment at Wellstone Action, was the Director of Communications at Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. [26]

In 2018, internal disputes caused a dramatic shift in leadership at Wellstone Action. Co-founders (and Wellstone’s sons) Mark and David Wellstone were voted off the board of directors after they raised questions about overspending in specific areas of the organization’s budget, and what its priorities should be going forward. [27]

References

  1. “Legacy Giving.” Wellstone Action. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.wellstone.org/legacy-giving.
  2. Wilgoren, Jodi. “Save Those Popsicle Sticks, This Camp Builds Politicos.” The New York Times. June 30, 2003. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/30/us/save-those-popsicle-sticks-this-camp-builds-politicos.html.
  3. “We Believe.” Wellstone Action. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.wellstone.org/about.
  4. Wellstone Action, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2016.
  5. Wilgoren, Jodi. “Save Those Popsicle Sticks, This Camp Builds Politicos.” The New York Times. June 30, 2003. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/30/us/save-those-popsicle-sticks-this-camp-builds-politicos.html.
  6. Snyder, Emily. “Founding Director of Wellstone Action, Jeff Blodgett, to Deliver Carleton College Convocation.” West Africa – Ghana, Mali, and Nigeria | World Ceramics | Carleton College. February 4, 2011. Accessed December 29, 2018. https://apps.carleton.edu/media_relations/press_releases/?story_id=706705.
  7. Weeks, Rachel. “2016 in Review: Building Power in the States.” Wellstone Action. December 05, 2016. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.wellstone.org/blog/2016/12/2016-review-building-power-states.
  8. Potter, Kyle, and Mark Zdechlik. “Wellstone Action Pushing out Senator’s Sons.” Minnesota Public Radio News. February 14, 2018. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/02/14/wellstone-action-pushing-out-senators-sons.
  9. “Alumni.” Wellstone Action. Archived from the original October 13, 2017. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20171013164701/https://www.wellstone.org/alumni.
  10. Siders, David. “Wellstone Legacy ‘goes Dormant’ after Family Ousted in Democratic Feud.” POLITICO. May 13, 2018. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/13/wellstone-family-legacy-feud-minnesota-democrats-584205.
  11. Siders, David. “Wellstone Legacy ‘goes Dormant’ after Family Ousted in Democratic Feud.” POLITICO. May 13, 2018. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/13/wellstone-family-legacy-feud-minnesota-democrats-584205.
  12. “Alumni Candidates: 2012.” Wellstone Action. Archived from the original August 17, 2017. Accessed December 29, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20160817191029/http://www.wellstone.org/sites/default/files/attachments/2012%20alumni%20candidates_2.pdf.
  13. Potter, Kyle, and Mark Zdechlik. “Wellstone Action Pushing out Senator’s Sons.” Minnesota Public Radio News. February 14, 2018. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/02/14/wellstone-action-pushing-out-senators-sons.
  14. “Camp Wellstone.” Wellstone Action. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.wellstone.org/programs/camp-wellstone.
  15. “Camp Wellstone Sessions by Track.” Wellstone Action. Accessed December 29, 2018. https://www.wellstone.org/camp-wellstone-sessions-track.
  16. Wellstone Action Fund, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2016.
  17. Wellstone Action, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2016.
  18. “Service Employees International Union (SEIU).” Influence Watch. Accessed December 30, 2018. https://www.influencewatch.org/labor-union/service-employees-international-union-seiu/.
  19. “American Federation of Teachers (AFT).” Influence Watch. Accessed December 30, 2018. https://www.influencewatch.org/labor-union/american-federation-of-teachers/.
  20. Wellstone Action Fund, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2016.
  21. Foundation to Promote Open Society, Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF). 2016.
  22. “Grants Database.” Ford Foundation. April 06, 2018. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.fordfoundation.org/work/our-grants/grants-database/grants-all?search=&SearchText=wellstone&page=NaN&minyear=2006&maxyear=2018.
  23. Wellstone Action Fund, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). 2015.
  24. “Board of Directors.” Wellstone Action. Archived from the original November 26, 2018. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20181126080341/https://www.wellstone.org/about/board-and-advisors.
  25. “Board of Directors.” Wellstone Action. Archived from the original November 26, 2018. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20181126080341/https://www.wellstone.org/about/board-and-advisors.
  26. “Sara Beth Mueller.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 29, 2018. https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarabethmueller/.
  27. Siders, David. “Wellstone Legacy ‘goes Dormant’ after Family Ousted in Democratic Feud.” POLITICO. May 13, 2018. Accessed December 27, 2018. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/13/wellstone-family-legacy-feud-minnesota-democrats-584205.

Coalition Memberships

  1. First Ask (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 2003

  • 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
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,303,234 $1,186,100 $814,560 $90,620 N $951,142 $326,767 $116 $78,120 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,780,043 $1,770,806 $709,788 $102,982 N $1,048,430 $730,894 $489 $95,268 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,896,693 $1,713,604 $650,258 $52,689 N $1,304,910 $598,708 $1,017 $85,932 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,902,244 $1,794,017 $492,354 $77,874 N $1,140,554 $765,244 $682 $86,705 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,509,050 $1,404,470 $377,881 $71,628 N $940,307 $566,118 $719 $79,498 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    RePower (Wellstone Action)

    2446 UNIVERSITY AVE W STE 170
    SAINT PAUL, MN 55114-1795