August 4, 2008 Founded in 2003, this liberal — though officially nonpartisan — organization was created to encourage single women to vote. The group says its research shows unmarried women are a particularly underrepresented, yet potentially powerful part of the American electorate.
August 4, 2008 Top Democratic donors and operatives set up this 527 in 2007 as a big pot of money to fund pro-Democrat organizations. Its main donors included George Soros and the SEIU. It folded operations in June 2008.
August 4, 2008 Progress Now serves as a gateway for progressive politics in Colorado, offering grassroots networking tools on its site for more than 350,000 online members. Using new media tools, it informs members about local politics.
August 4, 2008 MoveOn.org is a liberal, anti-war organization with 3.3 million members. It was started in 1998 to urge Congress to "move on" to issues more pressing than impeaching President Clinton.
August 4, 2008 As a liberal 501(c)(4) group set up by operatives of MoveOn.org, the Campaign to Defend America was originally supposed to become a vehicle for attack ads against the Republican presidential candidates.
August 4, 2008 Founded by veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Vets For Freedom supports current U.S. policy in Iraq and promotes continuing the war until "victory." In July, the group launched a national campaign that promises to include millions of dollars in TV advertising supporting the Iraq war.
August 4, 2008 The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, draws 2 million members from the service sector — from health care workers and social workers to janitors and window cleaners. So far, it is one of the biggest spenders on TV time among independent groups, buying an estimated $3.2 million worth of ads in the first half of 2008.
August 4, 2008 As a union for government employees affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has 1.4 million members. The group originally endorsed New York Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primaries but is now backing Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
July 29, 2008 This political action committee is now focused solely on opposing Democrat Barack Obama through a Web site called Expose Obama. The man behind the project is the same person who created the "Willie Horton" ad that hurt Democrat Michael Dukakis in his 1988 presidential bid.
July 18, 2008 Independent groups have yet to unveil an ad as damaging as the Swift Boat Veterans spot that hurt Sen. John Kerry's presidential bid in 2004. But as the summer goes on, more groups are producing radio and TV spots targeting the presidential race and key Senate battles.
June 25, 2008 No outside organization has thrown a roundhouse punch this election season like the one Swift Boat Veterans for Truth delivered four years ago. But they're quietly mobilizing, using small staffs and new technologies to stoke the public's attention.
May 18, 2008 After weeks of criticism and some embarrassing episodes, John McCain's campaign has tightened its standards for lobbyists who work on the campaign: they can't do both. Despite his public reputation as a maverick, McCain's campaign is populated with lobbyists and Washington consultants.