- Center for American Progress
Center for American Progress Founder(s) John Podesta Type Public policy think tank Founded 2003 Location Washington, D.C. Motto Progressive ideas for a strong, just, and free America. Website americanprogress.org
The Center for American Progress is a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization. Its website states that the organization is "dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action." It has its headquarters in Washington D.C.
Its President and Chief Executive Officer is John Podesta, who served as chief of staff to then U.S. President Bill Clinton. Located in Washington, D.C., the Center for American Progress has a campus outreach group, Campus Progress, and a sister advocacy organization, the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Citing Podesta's influence in the formation of the Obama Administration, a November 2008 article in Time stated that "not since the Heritage Foundation helped guide Ronald Reagan's transition in 1981 has a single outside group held so much sway."
History and mission
Since its inception, the Center has gathered a group of high-profile senior fellows, including Lawrence Korb, Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan; Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; Ruy Teixeira, political scientist and author of The Emerging Democratic Majority; and, most recently, former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and Elizabeth Edwards, late wife of former Presidential candidate and former U.S. Sen. from North Carolina John Edwards.
The Center manages a radio studio, and offers the studio for use to shows across the ideological spectrum. It is used daily by the Bill Press Show, a syndicated talk radio program broadcast from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern Time weekday mornings. Jones Radio Networks is the syndicator.
The Center was often featured prominently on the Al Franken Show on the now defunct Air America Radio network, where Christy Harvey and Al Franken criticized the Bush administration at length, accusing it of dishonesty and incompetence.
The Center for American Progress publishes a daily email newsletter entitled The Progress Report, which is a recap and analysis of major political news in the United States, providing a progressive perspective on the day's stories. The authors are Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matthew Corley, Ali Frick, and Benjamin Armbruster.
The newsletter has four main sections:
- in-depth item on a major topic of the day, such as the economy or foreign policy;
- "Under the Radar," less prominent stories of the day including links to op-eds and news;
- "Think Fast," links to new stories; and
- the sidebar, entitled the "Daily Grill," which compares major right wing figures' current remarks with their past remarks.
The Center for American Progress began experimenting with video delivered over the internet to complement their policy work in early 2006. This video strategy, currently known as SEEPROGRESS, is distributed through the Center's website as well as YouTube and other video distributors, such as Google video, Blip.tv and Yahoo! video.
The Center publishes the daily global warming blog Climate Progress. Edited by climate and energy expert Joseph J. Romm, the blog discusses climate science, climate and energy technology solutions and political news related to climate change. It is a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. In 2008, Time magazine named this blog one of the "Top 15 Green Websites", writing that it "counters bad science and inane rhetoric with original analysis delivered sharply.... Romm occupies the intersection of climate science, economics and policy.... On his blog and in his most recent book, Hell and High Water, you can find some of the most cogent, memorable, and deployable arguments for immediate and overwhelming action to confront global warming." In 2009, Thomas L. Friedman, in his column in The New York Times, called the blog "indispensable", and Rolling Stone magazine named Romm to its list of "100 People Who Are Changing America". Time magazine named Romm one of its "Heroes of the Environment (2009)", calling him "The Web's most influential climate-change blogger" and, in 2010, it included Climate Progress in a list of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010" Romm's 2010 book, Straight Up is a compilation of some of his best blog entries from Climate Progress, with introductions and analysis by Romm.
Think Progress is a blog edited by Shakir that "provide[s] a forum that advances progressive ideas and policies."
Campus Progress, launched in February 2005, is the Center for American Progress’s comprehensive effort to help young people make their voices heard on issues and to empower new generations of progressive leaders. Campus Progress is active on over 500 U.S. campuses and in communities across the United States.
Campus Progress has five main components:
- a daily web magazine, offering journalism, analysis, opinions, cartoons, video and organizing tools. CampusProgress.org has attracted millions of readers and has published more than 1000 pieces including interviews with Barack Obama, Helen Thomas, Stephen Colbert, Margaret Cho, Larry David and Seymour Hersh. Print editions of the web magazine are distributed on campuses across the nation. The site also features an active blog with hundreds of contributors.
- support for student publications on more than fifty campuses including The Claremont Port Side at Claremont McKenna College, Songhai News: The Black Collegiate Voice at the University of Houston, The Big Green at Michigan State University, The Fine Print at the University of Florida, Vanderbilt Orbis at Vanderbilt University, and The Dartmouth Free Press at Dartmouth College.
- an events team that has worked with students and other partners to hold over 500 speaking programs, film screenings, debates and training programs.
- national campaigns, as well as action grants that support student issue campaigns on individual campuses. Current Campus Progress campaigns focus on issues including student debt and access to higher education, the Iraq war, global warming and academic freedom. Action grants cover student campaigns on issues from Sudan to living wages, affirmative action to the death penalty.
- the National Student Conference. The first annual conference was held on July 13, 2005, in Washington, D.C. and featured President Bill Clinton.
- From The Nation: “For the first time ever, campus progressives convened, conversed and organized at their own national conference ― something right-wing groups have done annually since the 1970s.... The conference left students, from Young Democrats to radical activists, energized and teeming with hope. Almost everyone I spoke with left the conference believing that a real, thriving and broad-based progressive student movement was overdue, necessary and most importantly, possible.”
- The second annual conference, held on July 12, 2006, in Washington, featured Senator Barack Obama, and was attended by over 1000 students from 48 states. The third annual conference was held in Washington on June 26, 2007, and featured Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Other speakers at these and other Campus Progress events have included Cornel West; Rev. James A. Forbes; Majora Carter; John Passacantando; Adrienne Maree Brown; Ralph Nader; music artists Talib Kweli, M1, Fat Joe, Yo-Yo, and Ted Leo; Members of Congress Russ Feingold, John Lewis, Keith Ellison, and Tammy Baldwin; and journalists Helen Thomas, Samantha Power, Seymour Hersh, E.J. Dionne, Katrina vanden Heuvel and Barbara Ehrenreich. The fourth annual conference was held July 8, 2008.
Center for American Progress Action Fund
Formerly known simply as the American Progress Action Fund, the Center for American Progress Action Fund is a "sister advocacy organization" and is organizationally and financially separate from the Center for American Progress, although they share many staff and a physical address. Whereas the Center for American Progress is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the fund is a 501(c)(4), allowing it to devote more funds to lobbying. In 2003, George Soros promised to financially support the organization by donating up to three million dollars.
Some open government groups, such as the Sunlight Foundation and the Campaign Legal Center, criticize the Center's failure to disclose its contributors, particularly since it is so influential in appointments to the Obama administration.
In March 2008, Think Progress posted that John McCain had plagiarized from a 1996 speech by Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer. However, it was revealed that McCain had used similar lines in a speech during 1995 and Think Progress retracted the error the next day. In October 2010, Think Progress posted that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was bypassing campaign finance laws by using foreign money to fund campaign attack ads. FactCheck.org called it "a claim with little basis in fact", while The New York Times wrote, "[T]here is little evidence that what the chamber does in collecting overseas dues is improper or even unusual, according to both liberal and conservative election-law lawyers and campaign finance documents".
In February 2011, Lee Fang, a researcher for Think Progress, wrote an expose of Governor Scott Walker’s "conservative honey pot" donors, which included such “union-busting” organizations as Americans for Prosperity, and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, and the Bradley Foundation, all supported in some way by businessman Harry Bradley. The article was criticized by John Hinderaker, a conservative blogger and fellow at the Claremont Institute in a response on Power Line which criticized Fang for hypocrisy, pointing out CAP’s ties to the Obama administration and that “CAP is funded, quite lavishly, by rich liberals” and “receives donations from companies, including Wal-Mart.” He also says that “Liberals are always hot to follow the money, except to where it really leads–their own paychecks.” 
A report from the Center for American Progress concludes that a $100 billion federal investment in clean energy technologies over 2009 and 2010 would yield 2 million new U.S. jobs, cutting the unemployment rate by 1.3% and put the nation on a path toward a low-carbon economy. The report, prepared by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, proposes $50 billion in tax credits for energy efficiency retrofits and renewable energy systems; $46 billion in direct government spending for public building retrofits, mass transit, freight rail, smart electrical grid systems, and renewable energy systems; and $4 billion for federal loan guarantees to help finance building retrofits and renewable energy projects. The Center believes that clean energy investments would yield about 300,000 more jobs than if the same funds were distributed among U.S. taxpayers. The clean energy investments would also have the added benefits of lower home energy bills and reduced prices for non-renewable energy sources, due to the reduced consumption of those energy sources.
Staff and fellows
- Bracken Hendricks
- Andrew Light is a Senior Fellow working on Climate, Energy, and Science Policy
- John Podesta, President and Chief Executive Officer
- Joseph Romm is a Senior Fellow and the editor of climateprogress.org
- William F. Schultz
- Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow and the Director of Climate Strategy
- Anna Deavere Smith, artist in residence
- Matthew Yglesias, blogger
The Center for American Progress is classified as a 501(c)(3) organization under U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The institute receives approximately $25 million per year in funding from a variety of sources, including individuals, foundations, and corporations, but it declines to release any information on the sources of its funding. No funders are listed on its website or in its Annual Report. From 2003 to 2007, the center received about $15 million in grants from 58 foundations. Major individual donors include George Soros, Peter Lewis, Steve Bing, and Herb and Marion Sandler. The Center receives undisclosed sums from corporate donors.
- ^ "About Us". Americanprogress.org. http://www.americanprogress.org/aboutus. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
- ^ Center for American Progress mission statement. Retrieved June 19, 2006.
- ^ "Contact Us." Center for American Progress. Retrieved on December 15, 2009.
- ^ Michael Scherer, Inside Obama's Idea Factory in Washington, Time magazine, November 21, 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
- ^ Robert Dreyfuss, "An Idea Factory for the Democrats", The Nation March 1, 2004
- ^ CAP article, strategic redeployment. Retrieved November 15, 2006.
- ^ "ClimateProgress.org". Climate Progress. http://www.climateprogress.org. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
- ^ Roston, Eric (2008-04-17). "feature on "Top 15 Green Websites"". Time.com. http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1730759_1731034_1731042,00.html. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
- ^ Friedman, Thomas L. "The Inflection Is Near?", The New York Times, March 7, 2009
- ^ "The 100 People Who Are Changing America", Rolling Stone magazine, March 18, 2009
- ^ "Heroes of the Environment 2009". Time magazine feature, September 2009, linking to full article: Walsh, Bryan. "Heroes of the Environment 2009 – Activists: Joe Romm", Time magazine, September 2009.
- ^ "Best Blogs of 2010". Time magazine, June 28, 2010.
- ^ Somanader, Tanya. "Think Progress blog". Thinkprogress.org. http://www.thinkprogress.org. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
- ^ "Add to the Collective Genius." Retrieved 27 December 2006.
- ^ "Soros' Deep Pockets vs. Bush". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A24179-2003Nov10?language=printer. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
- ^ "Where's transparency of Podesta group? By Ben Smith and Chris Frates, Politico.com, December 9, 2008". Politico.com. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1208/16318.html. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
- ^ Krugman, Paul (January 28, 2010). "March of the Peacocks". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/opinion/29krugman.html?em. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- ^ Terkel, Amanda. "McCain's Foreign Affairs Speech". Think Progress. http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2008/03/27/20926/mccain-plagiarism/. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
- ^ Klein, Ezra. "McCain the Plagiarist". American Prospect. http://prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=03&year=2008&base_name=mccain_the_plagiarist. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- ^ Calderone, Michael. "Think Progress retracts McCain plagiarism charge". Politico. http://www.politico.com/blogs/michaelcalderone/0308/Think_Progress_retracts_McCain_plagiarism_charge.html. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- ^ Frates, Chris. "Chamber of Commerce under fire for foreign cash". Politico. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43144.html. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
- ^ Jackson, Brooks. "Foreign Money? Really?". FactCheck.org. http://www.factcheck.org/2010/10/foreign-money-really/. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
- ^ Lichtblau, Eric (8 October 2010). "Topic of Foreign Money in U.S. Races Hits Hustings". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/09/us/politics/09donate.html?_r=1. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
- ^ Fang, Lee (21 February 2011). "How John Birch Society Extremism Never Dies: The Fortune Behind Scott Walker’s Union-Busting Campaign". Think Progress. Center for American Progress. http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/02/21/145492/zombie-johnbirch-walker/. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- ^ Hinderaker, John (21 February 2011). "Think Stupidity". Power Line. http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/02/028429.php. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- ^ "EERE News: EERE Network News". Apps1.eere.energy.gov. http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/enn.cfm#id_11979. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
- ^ Savage, Charlie (November 7, 2008). "John Podesta, Shepherd of a Government in Exile". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/07/us/politics/07podesta.html?_r=1&ref=politics. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
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