Josh Silver




Political Activist

Co-Founder and Director, Represent.Us

Co-Founder and former CEO, Free Press

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Josh Silver is a left-of-center activist and co-founder and director of Represent.Us, an organization advocating for substantial restrictions on campaign advocacy with both 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) advocacy components. Silver also previously founded and led Free Press, a socialist-aligned media advocacy organization.


Josh Silver founded Represent.Us in November 2012 with former communications and banking executive Josh Gramm Lynn. Shortly after, the organization began organizing local chapters eventually growing to chapters in roughly 42 states. 1

As the organization’s leader, he has strongly advocated for policies through ballot measures and legislation that restrict anonymous speech, limit donors’ ability to dictate their intent, constrain public policy advocacy by businesses, and promote liberal-aligned voting procedures. 2

Represent.Us and its aligned Education Fund has received over-$100,000 contributions from groups that are secretive about their donors or are aligned with liberal institutional philanthropy such as the Atlantic Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Park Foundation, Tides Foundation, and Bohemian Foundation. Members of the board of directors and advisory council are major donors to Democratic Party candidates. 3 4 5

Represent.Us has tried to bolster its claims of bipartisanship by adding Richard Painter, a former lawyer in the George W. Bush administration who later ran for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota as a Democrat and former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer (R). However, as a conservative writer noted, “Richard Painter [was, as of early 2018] attempting to sue President Trump for a second time after his first lawsuit, CREW v. Trump, was thrown out by a New York federal judge. Buddy Roemer is a former Louisiana Governor that served his term as both a Democrat and a Republican, and in 2012 ran as a presidential candidate for the Reform party.” 6

Free Press

Free Press is a left-wing media watchdog organization, was founded in 2002 by Silver while he working as the development director for the cultural arm of the Smithsonian Institution.

According to the alumni magazine of arch-progressive higher education institution Evergreen State College, Silver was watching a 5pm evening news story related to rising lobster prices when he called fellow Evergreen State College alumnus Robert McChesney, a communications professor at University of Illinois, to eventually plan for a movement focused on media reorganization along far-left lines. 7

During his eight-year tenure as executive director, Silver was often critical of the Federal Communications Commission, pressuring to establish strict limits on media ownership. Later, he grew to become critical of the FCC for its regulation of telecommunications companies, specifically on the issue of “net neutrality.” To combat this, he founded an activist group, Save the Internet, to mobilize net neutrality and left-wing activists online. 8 9 10

Silver departed Free Press in 2011. 11

Arizona Clean Ballot Initiative

In 1998, Silver worked as the campaign manager for the so-called “Clean Ballots” measure in Arizona. The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act established a five-member commission that decided the amount of public funding that candidates for office received based upon the amount of private campaign donations that other candidates have received. The law eventually led to tax increases to fund the differences between the candidates. However, in 2011, the portion of the law that required matching fundraising levels between candidates was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. 12

Personal Life

Joshua Silver was born on April 16, 1968 in New York City to clinical psychologist Carl Silver and essayist Gene Zeiger. He grew up in Western Massachusetts. He went on to attend Evergreen State College and the University of Grenoble in France. He is based in Florence, Massachusetts. 13 14


  1. “Our History”. Represent Us. Accessed February 14, 2020.
  2. Silver, Josh. ”All Is Not Lost: How to Win Money-in-Politics Reform”. HuffPost. April 4, 2014. Accessed February 14, 2020.
  3. “Full Donor List.” Represent.Us. Accessed February 14, 2020. https://Represent.Us/donor-list/. ^
  4. Center for Responsive Politics. “Jack Black.” Accessed February 14, 2020. ^
  5. Center for Responsive Politics. “Elizabeth Banks.” Accessed February 14, 2020. ^
  6. Middleton, Matt. ”Who does Represent.Us Represent”. Capital Research Center. March 7, 2018. Accessed February 14, 2020.
  7. Shea, Carolyn. ”Reforming the Political Landscape.” Evergreen magazine. Accessed February 14, 2020.
  8. Karr, Timothy. ”Free Press President To Testify at FCC Hearing”. FreePress. July 9, 2010. Accessed February 14, 2020.
  9. Silver, Josh. ”Second Secret Study Surfaces at FCC” HuffPost. September 18, 2006. Accessed February 14, 2020.
  10. Silver, Josh. ”Google-Verizon Deal: The End of the Internet As We Know It.” Common Dreams. August 5, 2010. Accessed February 14, 2020.
  11. Karr, Timothy. “Free Press President Josh Silver Stepping Down; Craig Aaron to Take Helm.” Free Press. March 8, 2011. Accessed February 14, 2020.
  12. Middleton, Matt. ”Who does Represent. Us Represent?” Capital Research Center. March 7, 2018. Accessed February 14, 2020.
  13. Shea, Carolyn. ”Reforming the Political Landscape.” Evergreen magazine. Accessed February 14, 2020.
  14. “Joshua Silver”. LinkedIn. Accessed February 14, 2020.

Connected Organizations

  1. Free Press (Non-profit)
    Co-Founder and former CEO
  2. Free Press Action Fund (Non-profit)
    Co-Founder and former CEO
  3. Huffington Post (HuffPost) (For-profit)
  4. RepresentUs (Non-profit)
    Co-Founder and Director
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