Bernie Sanders Launches Nonprofit, Staffers Immediately Resign
On Wednesday, the Vermont senator announced the creation of Our Revolution, a 501(c)(4) political organization, The New York Times reported. According to its website, the group’s goals are to revitalize American democracy, empower progressive leaders and elevate political consciousness. This year, it will specifically support seven ballot initiatives and more than 100 candidates.
But things haven’t exactly gotten off to a smooth start. Eight of the organization’s core staffers, including organizing director Claire Sandberg, quit following the appointment of Jeff Weaver to director of Our Revolution. Digital director Kenneth Pennington is another notable staff member who stepped down.
Why the mass exodus?
Sandberg told The New York Times that many of those who left are suspicious of Weaver’s decision to structure the group as a 501(c)(4), which allows the organization to receive large donations from anonymous sources and billionaires—the antithesis of Sanders’ grass-roots-funded presidential campaign. People also believe Weaver, who was Sanders’ campaign manager, mismanaged the presidential campaign and played a key role in its failure.
While the group aims to support candidates who can push forward its progressive ideas, as a 501(c)(4), the organization cannot directly work with or contribute to candidates. That also means Sanders will not have a leadership role in the group.
Sanders, who has worked with Weaver for 30 years, remained confident in Weaver’s abilities despite the loss of staff.