Progress for America

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Definition

Progress for America (Google) is a 527 group that was formed to raise tens of millions of dollars for the Republican party, that has also produced TV ads in support of GOP candidates and ads against Democratic candidates, as shown during the 2004 election when they attacked John Kerry and John Edwards, and in 2005 when they released television commercials supporting President Bush's Social Security Privatization plan.

They recently established the PFA Voter Fund, which they describe as a "conservative issue advocacy organization dedicated to keeping the issue record straight on the campaign trail and serving as a “Political Truth Squad”."

In October of 2003, the organization threw a party to discuss their fundraising plans. Among the attendees were Grover Norquist, Ken Mehlman, and Ed Gillespie.

Personnel

Affiliations

Key Backers

  • Alex Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers and Bush "Ranger"
  • Dawn Arnall, wife of the chairman of Ameriquest Capital Corp. and Bush "Ranger"
  • Boone Pickens, president of Pickens Capital LLC
  • Carl H. Lindner Jr., chairman of American Financial Group
  • Jerry Perenchio, chief executive of Univision Communications Inc. Raised at least $700,000 for Bush in 2000.
  • Paul Singer, Elliott Capital Advisors
  • Sig Rogich, one of President Bush's fundraising Rangers and former Ambassador to Iceland under President Bush whom he served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President.

Television Ads

6/25/04 - issued "What If" ad that aired in New Mexico, Nevada, Wisconsin, praising Bush's "strength and compassion"; questions how John Kerry would have led, stating that Kerry's votes "against billions for America’s intelligence" and "against 13 weapon systems our troops depend on" show that he is weak on terror. The budget for the ad was $1,000,000.

10/18-11/2/04 - issued "Ashley's Story" ad, a 60 second commercial seen on local stations in nine states: Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin - in addition to cable networks. The commercial (Hollywood production) tells of an encounter between Ashley Faulkner and President Bush. See USA Today website: [2] . The commercial's budget: $14 million.

3/05 - issued "Titanic" ad falsey alleging and exaggerating the true state of Social Security by comparing it to the Titanic and stating that we must "rescue" the program "before it hits the iceberg".

6/22/05 - issued "Get Ready" ad falsely alleging that "Democrats will attack anyone the President nominates", as well as twisting comments that Howard Dean and Sen. Harry Reid have made.

7/20/05 - issued "Brilliant" ad after President Bush's pick of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. for the Supreme Court, a 30 second ad airing on Fox, CNN, CNN Headline News, MSNBC, CNBC ; also in Washington, D.C. media market on Sunday only.

Feb. 2006 - ran a series of ads in Minnesota, claiming that our enemies in Iraq are responsible for the 9/11 attacks. These ads are narrated by soldiers and their families, and were produced in association with Families United.

Web Sites launched by Progress for America

  • UporDownVote.com - Launched to support their "Get Ready" ad falsely alleging that Democrats were on the "attack" and that all judicial nominees deserved an up or down vote.
  • JudgeRoberts.com - Launched on July 19, 2005 to support the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the United States Supreme Court.
  • AshleysStory.com - Launched in connection with its television ad, listed above.
  • NHforJudgeRoberts.com - Launched to support the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the United States Supreme Court. The group, NH for Judge Roberts is chaired by Greg Hahn of Laconia, NH.
  • ARforJudgeRoberts.com - Launched to support the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the United States Supreme Court. The group, AR for Judge Roberts is co-chaired by Jonann Chiles, Former Arkansas Assistant Attorney General and Partner at Friday Eldredge & Clark, and Timothy Hutchinson, a Partner at Williams & Hutchinson and a State Representative who serves as a Member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Sources

From "Spanos a top donor to group targeting Kerry" by Jeanne Cummings in The Wall Street Journal on August 27, 2004:

Stockton businessman Alex Spanos is among the top donors to a political group recently formed by backers of President Bush that has amassed a treasure chest of $35 million. The group plans a barrage of commercials criticizing Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry, even though the president this week denounced such outside organizations for running negative campaign ads.
The Progress for America Voter Fund was launched in May after the Federal Election Commission refused to shut down a crop of well-funded liberal organizations that were going after the president. Those groups, known as 527s, had formed quickly and begun raising large sums in the wake of new campaign laws, gaining a substantial edge on Republicans. Now, in an election already steamrolling fund-raising records, the new Republican group's deep pockets -- matching those of some of the big Democratic groups -- seem sure to set up an intense, and highly partisan, big-money battle on airwaves this fall.
The money spent by the groups will be on top of the $75 million in taxpayer money that will be available to each of the campaigns -- which are unlikely to apply serious pressure to shutter the groups, even if they decry some of their messages.
Among the backers of Progress For America are Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers football team, and Dawn Arnall, wife of the chairman of Ameriquest Capital Corp., a mortgage-financing company. Each has donated $5 million in personal funds. Both rank among the president's top donors and have been granted "Ranger" status by raising at least $200,000 for Bush's campaign.
Other supporters of the group include Boone Pickens, president of Pickens Capital LLC; Carl H. Lindner Jr., chairman of American Financial Group; and Jerry Perenchio, chief executive of Univision Communications Inc., the Spanish-language television company.

External Links

  • Republican group forms to push for Roberts in NH by James W. Pindell, July 25, 2005
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