Political Party/527

People For The American Way Action Fund

This is a logo for People For the American Way. (link)



Anti-religious advocacy group

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

People for the American Way Action Fund (PFAWAF) is a 527 political organization which advocates for politicians and policies on behalf of People for the American Way (PFAW),1 a left-of-center advocacy group that originated as a project of the Tides Foundation.

Throughout the 1990s, PFAWAF actively advocated for anti-discrimination laws, opposed constitutional and legislative efforts backed by religious groups, and opposed conservative judicial nominations. The organization’s activity decreased in the early 2000s. 2


In 1988, People for the American Way Action Fund wrote a disparaging report on Bernard Siegan, a controversial legal theorist nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by then-President Ronald Reagan. Siegan was staunchly opposed by Democrats in the U.S. Senate for his libertarian views, and his confirmation was eventually blocked by the Senate. 3

In the early 1990s, PFAWAF advocated for laws meant to protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, particularly the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The organization supported several campaigns against local legislative efforts which sought to defend the rights of businesses to fire employees based on their sexuality, particularly in Tampa, Florida. 4

In 1991, PFAWAF campaigned against the re-election of U.S. Senator Jessie Helms (R-NC), who led Senate opposition to the Americans with Disabilities Act. 5 That same year, PFAWAF president Arthur Krupp testified before the U.S. Senate to oppose the nomination of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for his views towards workplace discrimination and abortion. 6

In 1994, PFAWAF co-drafted a bill with the Media Access Project which proposed to reserve 20% of internet bandwidth for nonprofit and governmental use. Former U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) went on to propose a revised version of the bill. 7

In the mid-1990s, PFAWAF rallied local support to combat supposed “right-wing takeover(s)” of public schools. The organization accused the Family Defense Council and Concerned Parents for Educational Accountability, two conservative religious organizations, of running “stealth campaigns” coordinated by televangelist Pat Robertson to elect school-board members in New York City. 8

Also in the mid-1990s, PFAWAF joined Protect Our Children, a coalition of over 90 left-of-center advocacy groups which opposed a an amendment to Colorado’s state constitution which sought to protect the rights of parents against alleged state intrusions on matters of education, healthcare, and other issues. 9

In 1995, PFAWAF joined the Digital Future Coalition, an alliance of 27 groups opposed to the intellectual property rights reforms proposed in President Bill Clinton’s “White Paper on Intellectual Property and the NII.” The coalition accused the reforms of strengthening digital copyright protection in favor of large content producers at the expense of the general public. 10

In January 1996, PFAWAF launched the “Expose the Right!” campaign to advocate against what it viewed as far-right religious advocacy and to dissuade Republican presidential candidates from embracing the most conservative wing of their party. 11

In 1997, PFAWAF opposed a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution proposed by former U.S. Representative Ernest Istook (R-OK) which would guarantee anti-discrimination protections for religious individuals and affirm the rights of religious people to express their beliefs and traditions within government institutions. 12

In 1999, PFAWAF joined the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), a left-of-center education advocacy group. 13

In 2018, PFAWAF supported at least two Texas candidates for the U.S. House of Representative. The organization donated $1,000 to Elizabeth Markowitz (D-TX)’s campaign. Markowitz was the sole Democrat running for House District 28 in Texas, losing to U.S. Representative Gary Gates (R-TX) in the general election. 14 PFAWAF also donated $2,000 to Travis Boldt (D-TX), who lost to U.S. Representative Ed Thompson (R-TX). 15


People for the American Way Action Fund engaged in lobbying in 2001, 2003, and 2004, during which the organization spent $30,000, $280,000, and $45,000 respectively. After 2001, PFAWAF made all of its expenditures to the Strategic Consulting Group, a Democratic Party-aligned lobbying firm. 16


  1. “People for the American Way.” ProPublica. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/521366721/201842549349301104/full.
  2. “People for the American Way.” The Body. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://www.thebody.com/author/people-for-the-american-way.
  3. “People for the American Way Action Fund’s report on Bernard Siegan.” Stanford University. 1988. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/1784635.
  4. “People for the American Way.” The Body. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://www.thebody.com/author/people-for-the-american-way.
  5. Walsh, Peter. “In the Realm of the Censors.” Boston Review. February 1991. Accessed April 14, 2021. http://bostonreview.net/archives/BR16.1/walsh.html.
  6. “Opposition to Judge Thomas Nomination.” C-Span. July 30, 1991. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://www.c-span.org/video/?19897-1/opposition-judge-thomas-nomination.
  7. Behrens, Steve. “Inouye bill would reserve capacity on infohighways.” Current. June 20, 1994. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://current.org/wp-content/uploads/archive-site/in/in412.html.
  8. “People for the American Way Action Fund – Action Alert.” Centro. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://centroca.hunter.cuny.edu/Detail/objects/19697.
  9. “”Parental Rights.”” People for the American War. Accessed April 14, 2021. http://lobby.la.psu.edu/_107th/094_Right_to_Know/Organizational_Statements/People%20for%20Amer%20Way/People_for_the_american_way_and_parents.htm.
  10. Samuelson, Paul. “Digital Future Coalition.” WCL. December 13, 2005. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://www3.wcl.american.edu/cni/9512/7767.html.
  11. “Expose the Right! Campaign.” QRD.com. January 24, 1996. Accessed April 14, 2021. http://www.qrd.org/qrd/religion/anti/expose.the.right.project.
  12. “People for the American Way: Press Release.” Religious Tolerance. May 8, 1997. Accessed April 14, 2021. http://www.religioustolerance.org/prayer_2.htm.
  13. “Coalition Groups.” Intercultural Development Research Association. March 6, 1999. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://www.idra.org/resource-center/coalition-groups/#.
  14. Yates, David. “Dark money from Dems powering push to make Markowitz next Rep of HD 28.” Southeast Texas Record. October 24, 2019. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://setexasrecord.com/stories/515401022-dark-money-from-dems-powering-push-to-make-markowitz-next-rep-of-hd-28.
  15. “Travis Boldt.” Transparency USA. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://www.transparencyusa.org/tx/candidate/travis-boldt/donors.
  16. “Client Profile: People for the American Way Action Fund.” Open Secrets. Accessed April 14, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/summary?cycle=2002&id=F196084+++.
  See an error? Let us know!