Person

Robert Creamer

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Political Consultant/Strategist

Community Organizer

Author, “Listen To Your Mother: Stand Up Straight! How Progressives Can Win”

Political Party:

Democratic Party

Spouse:

Rep. Janice Shakowsky

Co-Founder:

Democracy Partners

Robert Creamer has been a left-leaning political operative since 1970 and is a co-founder of Democracy Partners (DP), a liberal political consulting firm that supports Democratic Party political campaigns and issue campaigns promoting left-of-center policies. [1] [2] In late 2005, Creamer pleaded guilty to bank fraud and non-payment of taxes relating to his 22 years of working with Citizen Action Illinois, and was sentenced to five months in a federal prison and 11 months of home detention. [3] [4]

Creamer is married to U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D–Illinois), a left-wing politician who has numerous associations with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA),[5] and both Creamer and Schakowsky have reported socialist affiliations dating to the 1970s. [6] Creamer was an active policy and political ally of the Obama administration, visiting the Obama White House 342 times and President Barack Obama himself 45 times, to support Obamacare and many other policy goals. [7] [8] In his official Democracy Partners biography, Creamer notes that he “worked as an organizer with Saul Alinsky’s last major project in Chicago,” referring to the far-left community organizer infamous for devising much of the modern Left’s use of deception, misdirection, and violence as political tactics. [9]

In 2016, surreptitiously recorded videos of Creamer and a subordinate appeared to implicate Creamer in schemes to incite disturbances and physical altercations at rallies supporting then-Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Right-wing media outlet Project Veritas released the videos in October 2016, shortly before the general election. The videos show Creamer’s subordinate, Scott Foval, bragging of creating “anarchy” and paying the mentally ill to carry out the schemes. Creamer announced he was removing himself from participation in the 2016 Presidential race after the release of the video, but denied wrongdoing. [10] [11]

Background

Robert Creamer has been a left-leaning political operative since 1970, when he began working in Chicago with the Citizen Action Program (CAP), a creation of the radical far-left organizer Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation. [12]

He is a co-founder of Democracy Partners (DP), a liberal political consulting firm that supports Democratic Party political campaigns and issue campaigns promoting progressive policies. [13] Examples of Democracy Partners clients include the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the NARAL Pro-Choice America (formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the AFL-CIO, the United Steelworkers (USW), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and AFSCME. [14] He is also the founder of Strategic Consulting Group (SCG), another left-leaning firm serving similar clients. [15]

He is the author of Listen to Your Mother: Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win (2007). Among the book’s strategic suggestions is passage of an amnesty law and path to citizenship for currently-undocumented aliens, which he asserts would create “gigantic block of progressive voters—a block that could be decisive in the battle for the future.” Similarly, he proposes ending the influence of private health insurance companies, which he asserts would create a general reliance on the federal government that would benefit left-of-center politicians. [16]

Creamer is from Illinois and is married to U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois).

Socialist Affiliations

Midwest Academy

As of mid-2019, Creamer was a board member of Chicago-based Midwest Academy, continuing an association with the far-left training project for community organizers that began in the early 1970s. [17]  Midwest Academy was founded in 1973 by Heather Booth and other activists from the radical Students for a Democratic Society. In 1969 Booth and other soon-to-be founders of Midwest Academy wrote the pamphlet “Socialism and the Coming Decade,” a manifesto advocating a long-term community organizing strategy to create a mass movement for socialism. [18] [19]

Creamer was also on the Midwest Academy board in its early years. His first wife, Day Creamer, was an early collaborator in the Midwest Academy with Booth, and with her, Day co-wrote “Socialist Feminism: A Strategy for the Women’s Movement,” a pamphlet later re-printed by the Midwest Academy and used in its training sessions. [20]

Despite the low-key strategy of Midwest Academy, Booth retained a belief that more assertive steps might be needed, telling a socialist-feminist conference in 1975: “Truly reaching socialism or feminism will likely take a revolution that is in fact violent, a rupture with the old ways in which the current ruling class and elites are wiped out.” [21] Booth, as of 2019, remains chair of the Midwest Academy board that also includes Creamer. [22]

Illinois Public Action Council

In 1974, Creamer founded the Illinois Public Action Council (IPAC)—which later became Citizen Action Illinois. [23]

Ethics & Public Policy Center researcher Stanley Kurtz[24] has written that IPAC “was effectively the Midwest Academy’s action arm,” and that a “number of socialists served on IPAC’s governing board.” [25]

Kurtz also identifies Cramer’s second and current wife, Jan Schakowsky (now a U.S. Representative representing northern Cook County, Illinois), as IPAC’s program director from 1976 to 1985. His research into the files of the Chicago affiliate of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) show Schakowsky to have had continuing associations with the DSA, updating the socialist organization regarding “IPAC’s annual conference … its political program, and the continuing role of DSA members on IPAC’s board.” [26]

Bank Fraud Conviction

In June 1997, days after being questioned by the FBI about a multi-million-dollar check kiting scheme taking place at banks in Chicago and in Portland, Oregon, Creamer resigned as executive director of Citizen Action Illinois, the left-wing public advocacy organization he had founded as the Illinois Public Action Council (IPAC) 22 years earlier. The FBI’s investigation would eventually result in Creamer pleading guilty in 2005 to bank fraud and non-payment of taxes. In April 2006, he was sentenced to five months in a federal prison to be followed by 11 months of home confinement. [27] [28]

At the time of Creamer’s resignation from Citizen Action Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reported numerous irregularities that had been taking place at the organization and its predecessor while both were under Creamer’s supervision. “Beneath the group’s carefully crafted image of respectability and influence were problems that had festered for years,” reported the Tribune. “The biggest: The group was financially overextended and used questionable techniques to raise funds.” [29]

Among the concerns raised by the newspaper:[30]

  • Creamer’s group had been using telemarketers to sell credit card insurance and other products into Ohio and Indiana, raising objections and threats of legal action from consumer advocates in those states. Previously, the attorney general of Oregon had stated the same behavior from Creamer’s organization in that state violated state law.

 

  • The organization persistently filed taxes late or failed to file at all, dating back to the founding of IPAC. Late payment of state taxes to Illinois resulted in suspension of the organization’s bingo license in 1987. By 1989, tax debts, including payroll tax debts owed to the IRS, exceeded $1 million. By 1994, the Illinois attorney general was still reporting the Creamer organization with a tax debt that exceeded $500,000.

 

  • In March 1997, two local police departments in Illinois barred canvassers from Citizen Action Illinois from going door-to-door in their communities after discovering many of them had felony convictions. Police in one community found convictions on 18 of the 20 canvassers, with charges including “narcotics, burglary, retail theft and possession of a firearm in a public school.” The other department reviewed 30 proposed canvassers and said only “one or two” would have been permitted to ring doorbells.

 

  • Lack of transparency was also a concern. “This is the only board I’ve ever sat on where there are no financial reports,” a Citizen Action Illinois board member told the “I don’t even know what Creamer’s salary is.”

2016 Presidential Campaign Controversy

During the 2016 Presidential election, in his role as a consultant with Democracy Partners, Creamer was directing some parts of the sprawling collection of political advocacy groups that supported Democrat Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign. In mid-October 2016, just weeks shy of the election, right-wing outfit Project Veritas released videos showing a Creamer subordinate then working through Americans United for Change boasting in front of a hidden camera about controversial political stunts, such as his and Creamer’s alleged involvement in inciting disturbances at Trump campaign events. Within days of the videos’ release, Creamer announced he was removing himself from Clinton campaign activity. [31]

Speaking to an undercover Project Veritas staffer, the Creamer subordinate, Scott Foval, brags about their role in using agitators to create “conflict engagement in the lines at Trump rallies” with the goal of “starting anarchy” at the events and obtaining negative media coverage for the then-Republican candidate. “We know that Trump’s people will [tend to] freak the f*** out…,” Foval said in a video. “It is not hard to get some of these assholes to ‘pop off.’”[32]

Foval describes Creamer’s role as the “kingpin” who is “diabolical, and I love him for it.” [33]

One example Foval cites is a September 2016 event in North Carolina where a 69-year-old woman demonstrating against Trump was struck by a Trump supporter. On one Project Veritas video, Foval claims the woman as “one of our activists.” [34]

In another incident, from August 2015 in Iowa, Foval alleges Creamer was behind the work of a protester in Iowa who shoved a sign in the face of former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, then a candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination. A report from the Wisconsin State Journal says the demonstrator disrupted the rally by shoving the sign “inches” from the face of Walker as he tried to speak. Walker denounced the protester, saying “I am not intimidated by you, sir!” This was followed by a scuffle in which another attendee ripped the sign away and tore it up. [35] [36]

“That was all us,” boasts Foval. “The [protester] is my counterpart who works for Bob [Creamer].” [37]

The videos also capture Foval bragging of a history of “twenty years” of such behavior, stating the involvement of organized labor (“A lot of union guys, they’ll do whatever you want”), and exploiting the mentally ill (“I’m saying we have mentally ill people that we pay to do shit, make no mistake”). [38]

“It doesn’t matter what the friggin’s legal and ethics people say,” says Foval in the videos, regarding the corners they might be willing to cut. “We need to win this mother***er!”[39] Creamer also unwittingly appears in the hidden camera videos, making statements which—along with other revelations from Foval—have led to speculation regarding whether the duo participated in schemes to help non-citizens vote and commit other election law violations. [40]

Democracy Partners issued a response alleging they had been the “victim of a well-funded, systematic spy operation that is the modern day equivalent of the Watergate burglars,” and the intent had been to “goad unsuspecting individuals into making careless statements on hidden cameras” that “do not reflect our values.” Shortly after release of the videos, Foval was laid off by Americans United for Change. [41] [42]

Other Political Activity

During the George W. Bush administration, Creamer worked in 2005 with Americans United to Protect Social Security (which later became Americans United for Change[43]) to impede the President’s attempt to reform Social Security. In this capacity, he was arrested in June 2005 while participating in an Americans United to Protect Social Security demonstration to protest President Bush’s arrival at the Capitol Hilton in Washington, D.C. A Chicago Tribune account of the incident quotes police claims that Cramer “charged officers as Bush’s motorcade pulled up.” At his court appearance, Creamer pleaded not guilty. (This incident occurred after Creamer’s federal indictment for fraud, but before his guilty plea and sentencing in that separate legal matter). [44]

In 2003, Creamer worked as a consultant to oppose the Bush tax cuts. During the 2008 and 2012 Presidential races, he was a consultant to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), leading rapid response teams replying to Republican candidates and campaigns. [45]

Creamer was very active assisting the Obama administration on many projects. White House logs show he visited 342 times, and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) revealed 45 of those meetings were with the President. [46]

As a consultant with Americans United for Change, he assisted with passage of President Obama’s economic plan during the first term and then during the second term, participated in the work leading to the Iran Nuclear Agreement in 2015. Other federal issue campaigns he worked on during the Obama years included passage of Obamacare, as well as efforts to increase the minimum wage, secure liberal expansionist immigration policy, enact gun control, and confirm Supreme Court nominees. [47]

References

  1. McBride, Jessica. “Robert Creamer “Bob”: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know.” Heavy.com. October 21, 2016. Accessed June 12, 2019. https://heavy.com/news/2016/10/robert-creamer-bob-white-house-video-barack-obama-dnc-voter-fraud-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-democracy-partner-wife/ ^
  2. “Board of Directors.” Midwest Academy. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://www.midwestacademy.com/about/board/ ^
  3. Cohen, Laurie; Ray Gibson and Rick Pearson. “CONSUMER GROUP IN FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL.” Chicago Tribune. June 8, 1997. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zid-Hc7ek7wJ:https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1997-06-08-9706080376-story.html+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us ^
  4. Hafkin, Greg; and Elizabeth Gibson. “U.S. rep’s husband sentenced for fraud.” Daily Northwestern. April 4, 2006. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://dailynorthwestern.com/2006/04/05/archive-manual/us-reps-husband-sentenced-for-fraud/ ^
  5. Selby, W. Gardner. “Dewhurst Claim That Wendy Davis Raised Money for Socialists Group Unsupported and Ridiculous.” Politifact. May 9, 2014. Accessed June 25, 2019. https://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2014/may/09/david-dewhurst/dewhurst-claim-wendy-davis-raised-money-socialists/. ^
  6. Kurtz, Stanley. RADICAL-IN-CHIEF: BARACK OBAMA AND THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SOCIALISM. New York: Threshold Editions. 2010. ^
  7. “Robert Creamer “Bob”: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know.” Heavy.com. October 21, 2016. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://heavy.com/news/2016/10/robert-creamer-bob-white-house-video-barack-obama-dnc-voter-fraud-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-democracy-partner-wife/ ^
  8. “Robert Creamer.” Democracy Partners. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.democracypartners.com/partners/robert-creamer ^
  9. “Robert Creamer Profile.” Democracy Partners. Accessed July 21, 2020. Original URL: https://www.democracypartners.com/partners/robert-creamer. Archived: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2020/07/Robert-Creamer-Democracy-Partners-Bio.-07.21.20.pdf ^
  10. Ludwig, Hayden. “Creamer and Foval: An Ongoing Pony Express.” Capital Research Center. January 10, 2018. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/two-creamer-and-foval/ ^
  11. Weigel, David. “Two local Democratic operatives lose jobs after video sting on voter fraud.” Chicago Tribune. October 19, 2016. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-video-sting-democratic-operatives-james-okeefe-20161019-story.html ^
  12. “Board of Directors.” Midwest Academy. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://www.midwestacademy.com/about/board/ ^
  13. McBride, Jessica. “Robert Creamer “Bob”: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know.” Heavy.com. October 21, 2016. Accessed June 12, 2019. https://heavy.com/news/2016/10/robert-creamer-bob-white-house-video-barack-obama-dnc-voter-fraud-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-democracy-partner-wife/ ^
  14. “Client list.” Democracy Partners. Accessed June 12, 2019. https://www.democracypartners.com/?q=page/client-list#ppc ^
  15. “About the Author.” Strategic Consulting Group. Accessed June 12, 2019. http://www.stratcongroup.com/publication/about.php ^
  16. Ludwig, Hayden. “Creamer and Foval: Partners in Deception.” Capital Research Center. January 10, 2018. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/one-creamer-and-foval/ ^
  17. “Board of Directors.” Midwest Academy. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://www.midwestacademy.com/about/board/ ^
  18. Kurtz, Stanley. RADICAL-IN-CHIEF: BARACK OBAMA AND THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SOCIALISM. New York: Threshold Editions. 2010. ^
  19. Creamer, Robert. Listen to Your Mother: Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win. Santa Ana, California: Seven Locks Press. 2007. ^
  20. Kurtz, Stanley. RADICAL-IN-CHIEF: BARACK OBAMA AND THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SOCIALISM. New York: Threshold Editions. 2010. ^
  21. Kurtz, Stanley. RADICAL-IN-CHIEF: BARACK OBAMA AND THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SOCIALISM. New York: Threshold Editions. 2010. ^
  22. “Board of Directors.” Midwest Academy. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://www.midwestacademy.com/about/board/ ^
  23. “Board of Directors.” Midwest Academy. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://www.midwestacademy.com/about/board/ ^
  24. “Stanley Kurtz.” Ethics & Public Policy Center. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://eppc.org/author/stanley_kurtz/ ^
  25. Kurtz, Stanley. RADICAL-IN-CHIEF: BARACK OBAMA AND THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SOCIALISM. New York: Threshold Editions. 2010. ^
  26. Kurtz, Stanley. RADICAL-IN-CHIEF: BARACK OBAMA AND THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SOCIALISM. New York: Threshold Editions. 2010. ^
  27. Cohen, Laurie; Ray Gibson and Rick Pearson. “CONSUMER GROUP IN FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL.” Chicago Tribune. June 8, 1997. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zid-Hc7ek7wJ:https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1997-06-08-9706080376-story.html+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us ^
  28. Hafkin, Greg; and Elizabeth Gibson. “U.S. rep’s husband sentenced for fraud.” Daily Northwestern. April 4, 2006. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://dailynorthwestern.com/2006/04/05/archive-manual/us-reps-husband-sentenced-for-fraud/ ^
  29. Cohen, Laurie; Ray Gibson and Rick Pearson. “CONSUMER GROUP IN FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL.” Chicago Tribune. June 8, 1997. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zid-Hc7ek7wJ:https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1997-06-08-9706080376-story.html+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us ^
  30. Cohen, Laurie; Ray Gibson and Rick Pearson. “CONSUMER GROUP IN FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL.” Chicago Tribune. June 8, 1997. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zid-Hc7ek7wJ:https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1997-06-08-9706080376-story.html+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us ^
  31. Weigel, David. “Two local Democratic operatives lose jobs after video sting on voter fraud.” Chicago Tribune. October 19, 2016. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-video-sting-democratic-operatives-james-okeefe-20161019-story.html ^
  32. Ludwig, Hayden. “Creamer and Foval: An Ongoing Pony Express.” Capital Research Center. January 10, 2018. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/two-creamer-and-foval/ ^
  33. Ludwig, Hayden. “Creamer and Foval: An Ongoing Pony Express.” Capital Research Center. January 10, 2018. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/two-creamer-and-foval/ ^
  34. Ludwig, Hayden. “Creamer and Foval: An Ongoing Pony Express.” Capital Research Center. January 10, 2018. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/two-creamer-and-foval/ ^
  35. Sommerhauser, Mark. “Scott Walker finds familiar foil in confrontation with protesters at Iowa State Fair.” Wisconsin State Journal. August 17, 2015. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/scott-walker-finds-familiar-foil-in-confrontation-with-protesters-at/article_ba172e92-5010-5442-b05e-76d9387457b5.html ^
  36. Ludwig, Hayden. “Creamer and Foval: An Ongoing Pony Express.” Capital Research Center. January 10, 2018. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/two-creamer-and-foval/ ^
  37. Ludwig, Hayden. “Creamer and Foval: An Ongoing Pony Express.” Capital Research Center. January 10, 2018. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/two-creamer-and-foval/ ^
  38. Ludwig, Hayden. “Creamer and Foval: An Ongoing Pony Express.” Capital Research Center. January 10, 2018. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/two-creamer-and-foval/ ^
  39. Ludwig, Hayden. “Creamer and Foval: Dreamers and Schemers.” Capital Research Center. January 10, 2018. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/three-creamer-and-foval/ ^
  40. Weigel, David. “Two local Democratic operatives lose jobs after video sting on voter fraud.” Chicago Tribune. October 19, 2016. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-video-sting-democratic-operatives-james-okeefe-20161019-story.html ^
  41. Weigel, David. “Two local Democratic operatives lose jobs after video sting on voter fraud.” Chicago Tribune. October 19, 2016. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-video-sting-democratic-operatives-james-okeefe-20161019-story.html ^
  42. Ludwig, Hayden. “Creamer and Foval: An Ongoing Pony Express.” Capital Research Center. January 10, 2018. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/two-creamer-and-foval/ ^
  43. Lucas, Fred. “Americans United for Change.” Capital Research Center. July 2, 2012. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/americans-united-for-change/ ^
  44. Armour, Terry. “Creamer arrested during Social Security protest.” Chicago Tribune. June 15, 2005. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:IliQgdAUD_0J:https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2005-06-15-0506150301-story.html+&cd=6&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us ^
  45. “Robert Creamer.” Democracy Partners. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.democracypartners.com/partners/robert-creamer ^
  46. “Robert Creamer “Bob”: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know.” Heavy.com. October 21, 2016. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://heavy.com/news/2016/10/robert-creamer-bob-white-house-video-barack-obama-dnc-voter-fraud-donald-trump-hillary-clinton-democracy-partner-wife/ ^
  47. “Robert Creamer.” Democracy Partners. Accessed June 14, 2019. https://www.democracypartners.com/partners/robert-creamer ^

Connected Organizations

  1. A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) (Non-profit)
    Political Consultant (Strategic Consulting Group, Democracy Partners)
  2. Democracy Partners (DP) (For-profit)
    Co-Founder and Partner
  3. Democratic National Committee (DNC) (Political Party/527)
    Former Consultant
  4. Rapid Resist Action (Non-profit)
    Advisory Board Member
  5. Strategic Consulting Group (SCG) (For-profit)
    Founder
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