Tensions as DNC, OFA Ramp Up



Democrats are still figuring out exactly how the Democratic National Committee and Obama's dark money group Organizing for Action (OFA) will work together, TIME Magazine reports:

The Democratic National Committee is undergoing a recalibration as it learns to live with President Barack Obama’s permanent political presence – the independent issues group Organizing for Action that spun-off from the president’s re-election. Once vertically aligned in party flow chart, the two organizations are now co-equals with Obama at the head – independent organizations that some worry will fight for resources and attention from the president and supporters.

Obama campaign officials restructured the president's reelection campaign into OFA, a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) nonprofit, earlier this year rather than folding the campaign into the DNC.

As the DNC adapts to life with OFA, there are some growing pains and unresolved issues, according to TIME, including the DNC's debt, the potential for tapped out donors, and the question of who controls the campaign's famed tech and voter database:

Financing: The Democratic National Committee is nearly $22 million in debt, largely the result of a $15 million loan due next June taken shortly after the Democratic Convention last year. The borrowing isn’t unprecedented – the party took out a $15 million loan during the 2010 cycle as well – but the competition for fundraising with the new Obama organization has some state party officials worried. With Obama safely in office for four more years, they wonder if the national party can convert Obama donors to give to the Democratic Party. None would speak on the record citing relationships with the DNC and the Obama campaign. […]

Technology: The DNC is now in possession of the Obama campaign’s vaunted Project Narwhal, which combined data from once-separate sources like emails, form responses, and volunteer activity with donor data and the Democratic Party’s voter file. Narwhal allowed the campaign to identify those supporters most likely to volunteer, donate or make phone calls. Much of the underlying data — the records of the millions of Obama campaign supporters — remains with the dormant Obama campaign and not the DNC.

Despite OFA's vow to stay nonpartisan, the group has launched itself into a bevy of issues and drawn the scrutiny of liberal and conservative watchdog groups for fundraising schemes that trade big cash for access to President Obama.

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