Just days after President Obama was criticized for making a politically charged speech as the Navy Yard shooting unfolded, his political group, Organizing for Action (OFA), is using the tragedy to ask for donations and promote gun control.
Organizing for Action was formerly President Obama's reelection campaign organization, but after he was sworn in for a second term, that political machine was renamed and reorganized into a political advocacy group. According to its own website, "Organizing for Action is a nonprofit organization established to move forward the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012. OFA will advocate for these policies....including gun violence prevention."
Wednesday evening, Organizing for Action sent out an email to supporters simply titled "Navy Yard." It was signed by Jon Carson, executive director of OFA and former White House Director of Public Engagement, and uses the tragedy to promote gun control:
If you're like me, you heard the news about the 12 Americans who died in D.C.'s Navy Yard shooting -- and you had those familiar feelings of grief and frustration. It's almost unbelievable: More than 8,259 Americans have died due to gun violence since Newtown.
As President Obama said, these events are too common. Yet, even though nine in 10 Americans have said they support common-sense measures that would prevent gun violence, Congress has failed to act. After tragedies like this, now is the time for people like you and me to renew our call for action. Add your name right now to tell Congress you're not backing down in the fight to prevent gun violence.
The President has done what he can to help -- taking executive action to close loopholes in background checks on gun sales, nominating Todd Jones to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and more. But, as he put it, "Ultimately this is something that Congress is going to have to act on."
We can pass legislation that helps prevent future gun violence -- we just can't back down now. The more voices we have on our side, the stronger our call will be.
The email then directs you to a gun control petition at the Organizing for Action website. After you add your name, the real reason for the email emerges: money.
"Thanks - now take the next step," the website says against the background of President Obama speaking to a large crowd. "We're up against powerful special interests that will spend whatever it takes to stand in the way of progress. Chip in today to fight back and help get the job done." You are then given the option of making a donation in different amounts, between $15 and $1000. You can also fill in your own donation amount.
The enclosed slideshow includes screenshots from Organizing for Action's website. The first slide shows the petition the email linked to, and the second slide shows the donation page shown to visitors who sign the petition. The other slides show various pages on the OFA website.
Although President Obama maintains that Organizing for Action is an independent entity not under his control, their use of his domain - BarackObama.com - as well as the number of Obama officials working for the organization - says otherwise.
Victor Medina writes for Yahoo News and his political blog WhenLiberalsAttack.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. Click here to receive a weekly email update from WhenLiberalsAttack.com. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SUBSCRIBE link at the top of this page.