A membership drive got underway this week for a new group that aims to make the political process more accessible to the average person, just in time for the 2014 election cycle.
PleaseGovern.Org is a social welfare outfit that aims to educate and organize rank and file Americans to take a more active role in their government.
And since it’s organized under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, the non-partisan group can also spend nearly half of its time raising and spending money to influence elections and lobby on behalf of its causes.
“Technological advances like laptops and video-conferencing have made it possible to politically mobilize Americans from coast to coast in unprecedented ways,” said Aldrin Brown, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of PleaseGovern.Org. “Much of the activity can now be done from the comfort of people’s homes.
“We’re leveraging that technology to help average, working-class folks to harness political power by organizing their friends, neighbors or like-minded people from across the country.”
The idea has been percolating since 2011, when the debt-ceiling crisis in Congress battered stock markets and led to the first-ever downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.
Brown, a journalist for the past 20 years who largely avoided politics, said he increasingly met fellow Americans who were disgusted and frightened by the growing influence of extremist ideology in mainstream politics but felt powerless to do anything about it.
The latest government shutdown, as well as threats of another debt-ceiling crisis fight in the weeks to come, finally spurred the group into existence.
The group has launched a website bearing its name (PleaseGovern.Org), where interested Americans can sign up to join, donate, blog or otherwise support the cause.
During a virtual organizational meeting scheduled for mid-January, participants will use free video conferencing technology to begin the process of deciding which candidates, races and issues will get the movement’s support during the 2014 elections cycle.
PleaseGovern.Org will help members set up political organizations under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, which can then engage in unfettered political activity.
Organizers of the group said that some of those candidates could come from the ranks of members.
“We tell people to ‘support a campaign or start your own,’” Brown said. “Thanks to technology, PleaseGovern.Org can help put the levers of power back where the belong: In the hands of regular Americans.”