Person

Michael Kieschnick

Born:

1953

Nationality:

American

Organization:

CREDO Mobile

 Michael Kieschnick is the president and CEO of CREDO Mobile, a cellular service company than channels one percent of its revenues into left-of-center causes. Kieschnick has been involved with numerous left-wing groups, including the Real Justice PAC, the League of Women Voters, and NextGen Climate.

Kieschnick has been reported to be a member of the Democracy Alliance, a major donor clearinghouse for Democratic and left-wing organizations. [1]

Early Life and Education

Michael Kieschnick was born in Dallas, Texas in 1953. He grew up in a “liberal middle-class family in a right-wing town” where racial segregation was enforced until his sixth grade. Kieschnick’s parents started an anti-war, pro-integration church. [2]

Kieschnick first became involved in environmental activism in second grade when he tried to sabotage construction efforts on a road that was slated to run through a local wilderness. [3]

After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in biology in 1976, Kieschnick earned a doctorate in public policy analysis from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 1982. [4]

Early Career

In 1978, Michael Kieschnick became a research economist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Two years later, he became director of the California Office of Economic Policy under Governor Jerry Brown (D). [5]

In 1983, Kieschnick co-founded Dimensional Corporate Finance, a financial tech startup that evaluated corporate loans. Kieschnick worked as the company’s vice president of marketing. He left the company in 1988. [6]

In 1987, Kieschnick co-founded the Sandy County Venture Fund, an “impact investing fun,” and served as the company’s president. [7]

CREDO Mobile

In 1985, Michael Kieschnick, Peter Barnes, and Laura Scher co-founded CREDO Mobile, a “mobile virtual network operator” that provides wireless services through Verizon Wireless’s network. Kieschnick became president and CEO in 2010. [8]

CREDO Mobile was founded with an explicit mandate to produce “progressive social change.” The company channels 1 percent of its revenue to its advocacy, [9] and as of 2022, has donated more than $93 million to left-wing PACs, super PACs, and advocacy groups, and has rallied its customers to “become activists, through letters, calls, petitions and protests.” [10] Nonprofit recipients have included 350.org, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Rainforest Action Network, Vote Solar, the Sierra Club Foundation, [11] the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, [12] Greenpeace, and Planned Parenthood. [13]

CREDO Mobile has numerous subsidiary non-profit groups for its activism. In 1985, Kieschnick and Scher co-founded CREDO Action (also known as CREDO Victory Fund), a nonprofit financed by CREDO Mobile that donates to left-wing grassroots activist groups throughout the United States. [14]

In 2012, Kieschnick co-founded CREDO SuperPAC, which spent $3.4 million in the 2012 election cycle and $2.1 million in 2014 exclusively on opposing Republican candidates. [15] [16]

Other Work

In 2005, Michael Kieschnick founded the Beatitudes Society, a group that identifies and supports left-progressive faith leaders. He left the group in 2015. [17]

In 2015, Kieschnick became a national campaign manager of NextGen Climate and led a $60 million campaign targeting college campuses. [18]

In 2017, Kieschnick co-founded Real Justice PAC, a PAC supporting lenient criminal justice policies. [19]

Also in 2018, Kieschnick co-founded the Green Advocacy Project, a super PAC which supports local and state efforts to encourage weather-dependent energy. Kieschnick continues to run the group to this day. [20]

In January 2022, Kieschnick founded the Carbon Advocacy Project, a nonprofit that supports President Joe Biden’s (D) executive orders relating to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. [21]

Kieschnick is a board member of the League of Women Voters, [22] the Arkay Foundation, the Tides Foundation. He was formerly a board member of the Secretary of State Project. [23]

Political Views

Michael Kieschnick has espoused left-wing environmentalist views. He supports significantly raising fuel admissions standards for automobiles, reducing carbon emissions, and a far more active role for the government in combatting climate change. [24]

Kieschnick was a staunch opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline. In 2011, Kieschnick encouraged CREDO Mobile to spend $5 million on advocacy efforts. He was arrested in front of the White House during a protest against the project. [25] [26] [27]

Kieschnick supported the Occupy Wall Street movement. [28]

Kieschnick has been critical of the U.S. government’s spying programs on American citizens. In 2013, he said, “As the CEO of a mobile phone company, I’m deeply disturbed by the Obama administration’s growing record of executive power grabs at the expense of constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties.” [29]

Kieschnick’s favorite historian is Howard Zinn, the far-left author of “A People’s History of the United States.” [30]

In a 2007 interview, Kieschnick said the worst moment in his professional life was when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) to “steal” the 2000 presidential election. Kieschnick said the cost of the Bush presidency was “unbearably catastrophic.” [31]

Political Donations

Michael Kieschnick has personally donated $1.2 million to Democratic politicians and PACs since 1980. [32] In 2012, Silicon Valley Business Journal identified him as Silicon Valley’s tenth largest Democratic donor, having given $210,250. [33]

References

  1. “Democracy Alliance Company Turns On Obama.” Washington Free Beacon. June 7, 2013. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/politics/democracy-alliance-company-turns-on-obama/ ^
  2. “Michael Kieschnick, president of Working Assets, answers questions.” Grist. July 9, 2007. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://grist.org/article/workingassets/. ^
  3. “Michael Kieschnick, president of Working Assets, answers questions.” Grist. July 9, 2007. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://grist.org/article/workingassets/. ^
  4. “Michael Kieschnick (He/Him).” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/. ^
  5. [1] “Michael Kieschnick (He/Him).” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/. ^
  6. [1] “Michael Kieschnick (He/Him).” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/. ^
  7. “Michael Kieschnick (He/Him).” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/ ^
  8. “Michael Kieschnick (He/Him).” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/. ^
  9. “Democracy Alliance Company Turns On Obama.” Washington Free Beacon. June 7, 2013. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/politics/democracy-alliance-company-turns-on-obama/. ^
  10. [1] “Empowering Positive Change Since 1985.” CREDO Mobile. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.credomobile.com/our-story ^
  11. “Sierra Club teams up with green mobile phone company.” Sierra Club. March 2, 2015. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://content.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2015/03/sierra-club-teams-green-mobile-phone-company. ^
  12. O’Toole, James. “’Progressive’ phone company CREDO Mobile slams govt snooping, but can’t stop it.” CNN Business. June 6, 2013. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://money.cnn.com/2013/06/06/technology/mobile/credo-mobile/. ^
  13. [1] Stangel, Luke. “Silicon Valley’s 10 biggest Democratic super-donors.” Silicon Valley Business Journal. July 10, 2013. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2013/07/10/silicon-valleys-10-biggest-democratic.html. ^
  14. “CREDO Action.” Ballotpedia. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://ballotpedia.org/CREDO_Action. ^
  15. “Michael Kieschnick (He/Him).” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/. ^
  16. “PAC Profile: CREDO Mobile Super PAC.” Open Secrets. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/political-action-committees-pacs/credo-mobile-super-pac/C00507517/summary/2012. ^
  17. “Michael Kieschnick (He/Him).” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/. ^
  18. “Michael Kieschnick (He/Him).” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/. ^
  19. [1] “Michael Kieschnick (He/Him).” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/ ^
  20. “Michael Kieschnick (He/Him).” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/ ^
  21. “Michael Kieschnick (He/Him).” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/ ^
  22. “First Person: Michael Kieschnick.” Palo Alto Online. March 13, 2011. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2011/03/13/first-person-michael-kieschnick ^
  23. “Michael Kieschnick (He/Him).” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kieschnick-b554412/. ^
  24. “Michael Kieschnick, president of Working Assets, answers questions.” Grist. July 9, 2007. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://grist.org/article/workingassets/. ^
  25. “CREDO Mobile.” Facebook. February 13, 2013. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.facebook.com/CREDO/photos/credos-ceo-michael-kieschnick-was-arrested-at-the-white-house-today-representing/10151690119100968/. ^
  26. Patterson, Thom. “Green donors warn Obama: ‘Do the right thing’ on Keystone pipeline.” CNN Politics. October 28, 2011. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2011/10/28/politics/obama-donors-pipeline/index.html. ^
  27. Webster, Stephen C. “Top NASA climate scientist arrested at White House.” Raw Story. August 29, 2011. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.rawstory.com/2011/08/top-nasa-climate-scientist-arrested-at-white-house/. ^
  28. Kieschnick, Michael. “10 Ways to Support the Occupy Movement.” Huffington Post. October 20, 2011. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/10-ways-to-support-the-oc_b_1023279. ^
  29. O’Toole, James. “’Progressive’ phone company CREDO Mobile slams gov’t snooping, but can’t stop it.” CNN Business. June 6, 2013. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://money.cnn.com/2013/06/06/technology/mobile/credo-mobile/. ^
  30. Kieschnick, Michael. “10 Ways to Support the Occupy Movement.” Huffington Post. October 20, 2011. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/10-ways-to-support-the-oc_b_1023279 ^
  31. “Michael Kieschnick, president of Working Assets, answers questions.” Grist. July 9, 2007. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://grist.org/article/workingassets/. ^
  32. “Federal Exchange Commission search: Michael Kieschnick.” Federal Exchange Commission. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=Michael+Kieschnick+. ^
  33. Stangel, Luke. “Silicon Valley’s 10 biggest Democratic super-donors.” Silicon Valley Business Journal. July 10, 2013. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2013/07/10/silicon-valleys-10-biggest-democratic.html. ^

Connected Organizations

  1. CREDO Mobile (Working Assets) (For-profit)
    Co-Founder, Board Member, Former CEO
  2. Democracy Alliance (DA) (Other Group)
    Member, Funder
  3. Real Justice PAC (Political Party/527)
    Officer/Board Member
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