The CREDO Super PAC was created by CREDO Mobile to leverage the company’s list of 3.5 million activists and CREDO Action’s high-impact team of professional organizers. CREDO Mobile is the nation’s only progressive phone company and has raised more than $76 million for social change since its founding in 1985. CREDO Action boasts the nation’s second-largest list of online to offline progressive activists, and this list has been highly active in challenging Tea Party extremism in Congress. . During the Obama Administration, our activists have been intensely involved in the fight to protect Social Security and Medicare from benefit cuts by the Obama Administration, the defense of Planned Parenthood, the protection of the Clean Air Act, the blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline, and the organizing of the Rush Limbaugh advertiser exodus, just to name a few. Michael Kieschnick is the CEO of CREDO Mobile, and CREDO Action is led by Becky Bond.
CREDO Super PAC rewrote the book on super PACs in 2012 by launching a massive data-driven field operation that went toe-to-toe with big money and corporate interests–and won. CREDO played a major role in defeating five of the worst Tea Party Republicans in Congress, and giving Michele Bachmann the electoral scare of her career.
CREDO raised over $3 million for its Tea Party Ten Campaign, with nearly $2.5 million from 70,000 small donors. And CREDO engaged more than 3,000 volunteers in a year-long grassroots campaign. In a political landscape in which incumbents are reelected 98 percent of the time, CREDO won ﬁve of the races where we had boots on the ground by April 1: Allen West (FL-18), Joe Walsh (IL-8), Frank Guinta (NH-1), Chip Cravaack (MN-8) and Dan Lungren (CA-7).
In the February 2013 special election in IL-02, CREDO Super PAC helped defeat two NRA A-rated Democrats. CREDO mobilized a canvass operation that knocked on the doors of over 20,000 strategically chosen voters in IL-02 urging them to vote against the NRA Democrats Debbie Halvorson and Toi Hutchinson. The Democrat who won the primary and then the general election was Robin Kelly.
And, after coming within 4,000 votes of defeating Michele Bachmann in 2012, CREDO helped push Michele Bachmann out of congress, by announcing in April 2013 a $500,000 field campaign against her. She declared she would not be seeking re-election 6 weeks later.
For its Tea Party Ten Campaign, CREDO relied on its national activist base to provide the vast majority of funds for this effort. CREDO activists responded, with nearly 70,000 people donating $2.5 million online, with an average donation of $22.53. With these funds CREDO hired 80 organizers, opened 12 offices and recruited over 3,000 volunteers to distribute 20,000 yard signs, knock on 120,000 doors and make well over 1 million phone calls, in Congressional-scale, volunteer-driven ﬁeld operations across the country.
CREDO’s message testing in the ﬁeld quickly identiﬁed that the Tea Party’s extreme attacks on women resonated the most with voters, especially with female voters. As the campaign grew to 3,000 volunteers, CREDO made more than 1.2 million phone calls and knocked on over 120,000 doors, targeting a strategic universe of voters who would not likely turn out unless we reached out to them with our targeted and tested messages.
The primary goal was voter contact, but CREDO wrapped these efforts within a community-based Tea Party accountability campaign that engaged volunteers, rattled our opponents and helped drive stories in the local and national media to expose the extreme views of these Tea Party Republicans.
CREDO’s ﬁeld campaigns were the ﬁrst independent efforts on the ground in our races, and remained the largest independent grassroots efforts in the district through Election Day in almost every district.
Even as CREDO fought extensively to overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision, we recognized that all of our work on behalf of progressive issues would be at risk if we stood by silently as countless corporations waged an assault on our priorities in the 2012 election. We realized that we have a resource that these right-wing corporations do not—more than 3 million activists. So we launched CREDO Super PAC in an effort to engage our activists in electoral ﬁghts across the country.
If we could overturn Citizens United tomorrow, and put an end to all super PACs (including our own), we would do it in a heartbeat. But with this disastrous decision as the law of the land, we used every resource at our disposal in to ﬁght corporate-funded Tea Party extremism — at the state and federal level. Through our work, we showed that we could stand up to corporate inﬂuence, and that our grassroots power could ﬁght — and defeat — their millions and millions of dollars.