New PAC vows to hold Democratic incumbents accountable

That’s the mission of the Accountability Now PAC:

“We need members of Congress to leave the bubble of Washington, D.C. and stand with their constituents,” said Jane Hamsher, founder of and co-founder of Accountability Now. “We need members of Congress to ask the tough questions about continued Wall Street bailouts that reward the donor class, two wars without seeming end, the ceaseless assault on our civil liberties, and other issues that separate the citizenry from the DC cocoon.”

“Accountability Now is an organization built around a single guiding principle: challenging the institutional power structures that make it so easy, so consequence-free for Congress to open up the government coffers for looting by corporate America while people across the country are losing their jobs and their basic constitutional rights while unable to afford basic health care,” said Glenn Greenwald of and co-founder of Accountability Now. “Accountability Now believes that members of Congress in both parties need to hear from their constituents, and that nothing focuses the mind of a politician on listening to citizens better than a primary.”

“Accountability Now PAC will recruit, coordinate, and support primary challenges against vulnerable Congressional incumbents who have become more responsive to corporate America than to their constituents,” said Accountability Now’s new Executive Director, Jeff Hauser. “By empowering the grassroots, Accountability Now will help create the political space needed to enable President Obama to make good on the many progressive policies he campaigned on – such as getting out of Iraq, ensuring access to affordable health care for every man, woman and child, restoring our constitutional liberties and ending torture.”

In 2007, grassroots activists banded together to oust Al Wynn out of office, and it shook House Democrats to their core. Similarly, we learned in 2006 how even a primary challenge that does not win could change behavior, as Jane Harman has been more accountable to the concerns of her constituents after a tough primary race against Marcy Winograd.

Out of these recent lessons, diverse and politically powerful groups have decided to support Accountability Now’s efforts, such as MoveOn, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), DailyKos,, and Democracy for America, 21st Century Democrats and BlogPAC.

On principle, I agree with the goals of this PAC. Like some guy once said, “the system in Washington is rigged and our government is broken. It’s rigged by greedy corporate powers to protect corporate profits. […] We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats […]”

However, I won’t get excited about the Accountability Now PAC until I learn more about the criteria it will use to determine which Democratic incumbents are “bad enough” to be primaried, and which primary challengers are “good enough” to be endorsed.

To my knowledge, Democracy for America was the only organization in the Accountability Now PAC that helped Ed Fallon in last year’s primary in Iowa’s third district (a D+1 district represented by Blue Dog Leonard Boswell).

How would someone thinking about a primary challenge know whether he or she is likely to get full support, like Donna Edwards in MD-04, or almost nothing, like Fallon?

Speaking of Democracy for America, it’s not too late to RSVP for their training academy in Des Moines on February 28 and March 1. Come meet noneed4thneed while you learn to be a more effective grassroots activist.

  • Like You, I'll wait and See...

    If the criteria is just more liberal lip service, count me out.

    BTW- A DCC member acknowledged to me yesterday that someone has indeed been approached to discern making a primary challenge to dear old Lennie if he doesn’t step down next time.  I won’t say who, but you know her well.  And it’s not my wife.

    It would be nice to see her get support in challenging that mangy old blue dog if need be, so please keep us in the loop on this PAC as you learn more.

    And apologies to need4thneed, I am otherwise occupied.  And a little tired after two days worth of Direct Democracy yesterday and today.  I got arrested yesterday at a group “lobby day” at Tom Harkin’s Des Moines office.

    On March 1st I have a St. David’s Day parade to coordinate, so that’s what is taking me out of the loop.

    Any idea if mr. desmoinesdem and kiddies can attend?

  • Glad they waited FIFTY DAYS before eating our own...

    So at the same time we laugh at the Republicans for their in-fighting, we start our own witch hunt?

    • I think you're missing the point

      First, this PAC will create grassroots pressure that will help Obama get his agenda through Congress. Otherwise a minority within the Dem caucus will shoot it down the way they failed to act on Jimmy Carter’s energy policies and Bill Clinton’s health care plan.

      Second, this is a pre-emptive action to put Democratic incumbents on notice that they will not get a pass for obstructing the change we need. Obviously this PAC won’t primary every Blue Dog, but a Democrat representing a safe district who votes like a corporate whore (e.g. Al Wynn) may be held accountable.

  • Accountability PAC

    When are we going to hold democrats in the Iowa legislature accountable?  They can’t muster the 51 votes needed with a 58 member majority to pass prevailing wage.  Shame on the 8 who are unable to see how important for Iowa’s future it is to take what amount to baby steps toward digging us out of our shameful status as a “low wage” state.

    • 56-member majority

      but I agree with your sentiment. I don’t mind the handful of Dems from tough districts who voted against prevailing wage, but for the ones in safe districts to vote against it is not acceptable.

      Over the weekend I wrote a post about this, saying that if I were a labor activist I would start recruiting primary challengers for the Dems in safe districts who refused to support prevailing wage. Electing more Dems from marginal districts will not get the 51st vote–we need better Dems from blue districts.

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