Moving On to Internet Politics

  • Public-Policy Reform
  • 1998

Unhappy at the prospect of Bill Clinton’s impeachment, software entrepreneurs Joan Blades and Wes Boyd set up an online petition that soon grew into a major force for mobilizing liberal donors and voters via the Internet. The MoveOn.org website became a hub for communication and fundraising for left-wing causes, including environmental controls, liberal social issues, and opposition to the war on terror. The group has used a 501(c)(4) advocacy arm, a Political Action Committee, a 527 political fund, hundreds of Internet petitions, and other mechanisms to influence policies and politics with its donations. The group’s growth was accelerated by multimillion-dollar gifts during the 2004 election cycle from Linda Pritzker, George Soros, Peter Lewis, and other large patrons. It also accumulated many small donors and volunteer activists and claimed 8 million participants as of 2015. In its first decade-and-a-half of existence, MoveOn raised and spent close to $100 million to promote favored policies.