Profile: Patriot Majority

Patriot Majority
Patriot Majority

Patriot Majority is one in a network of 527 organizations run by veteran political consultant Craig Varoga in order to help Democrats in Senate, House and gubernatorial races this year.

Varoga, manager of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack's short-lived presidential campaign, has set up several affiliates to Patriot Majority, which ran ads in 2006 to help defeat the Republican candidate for Massachusetts governor.

Patriot Majority West, for example, produced an ad in the New Mexico Senate race this year. It used to be called Citizens for Progress, which ran ads criticizing the Republican candidate for Colorado governor in 2006. Patriot Majority Midwest, which used to be the Oklahoma Freedom Fund, received $2 million in union money this year to target Republican members of Congress. Varoga also set up Patriot Majority New Mexico and Patriot Majority For A Strong America this year.

Varoga traditionally raises money from unions and the Democratic Governors Association, which has contracted Varoga's firm in the past. Varoga also has a group, Alliance for North Carolina, targeting the Republican candidate for governor in that state. It used to be called Pioneer Majority.

Other Varoga groups include: Bluegrass Freedom Fund (which ran ads to help defeat Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky in 2007); American Alliance for Energy Independence; American Public Policy Committee; American Affordable Health Care; and Midwest Alliance for Better Government (formerly Public Security Now).

Funders:

Patriot Majority: In 2008, $1.2 million from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; $500,000 from the Change to Win labor federation (which is spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union); and $125,000 from the United Food and Commercial Workers union. In 2006, $400,000 from SEIU Local 1199; $250,000 from the Massachusetts Teachers Association; $200,000 from the Democratic Governors Association; $50,000 from Patricia Cornwell of CEI Enterprises.

Patriot Majority West: In 2008, $2.18 million from AFSCME. In 2006, $250,000 from the Democratic Governors Association; $200,000 from Colorado Education Association; $120,000 from AFSCME; $100,000 from SEIU; $25,000 from Tim Gill.

Patriot Majority Midwest: In 2006, $370,000 from the Democratic Governors Association.

Alliance for North Carolina: In 2006, $45,000 from Democratic Governors Association.

Bluegrass Freedom Fund: In 2007, $1 million from William Yung of Columbia Sussex; $640,000 from the Democratic Governors Association, $238,000 from AFSCME.

American Public Policy Committee: In 2008, $60,000 from the Democratic Governors Association.

Midwest Alliance for Better Government: In 2008, $50,000 from AFSCME, $45,000 from the Democratic Governors Association.

Leadership: Craig Varoga, Dave Contarino, Mike Rice, Patrick J. Hall, Joe Householder, George Rakis. Read more about these leaders in The Secret Money Project's Who's Who Directory of Key Leaders of Independent Groups.

Will Evans is a reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting, NPR's partner for the Secret Money Project. The Center's Daniella De Franco contributed to this report.

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