Campaign to Defend America

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Campaign to Defend America is, according to a 2006 filing (registration #23820) under "Charities and Trusts" with the Office of the Secretary of State in the state of Washington, a spin-off from Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, the Democratic Party-oriented anti-war coalition led by MoveOn and lobbyist Tom Matzzie. [1] In March, 2008, the Campaign began running anti-McCain TV ads. [2] Months earlier, in September 2007, Campaign to Defend America ran ads against a number of other Republican senators. [[3]]

On March 5, 2008, the Associated Press reported: "According to FEC reports and filings with the Internal Revenue Service, the Campaign to Defend America has received at least $1.4 million from the Fund for America, a nonprofit group set up last year by John Podesta, a former chief of staff for President Clinton; Anna Burger, the secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union; and Rob McKay, a California philanthropist. The Campaign to Defend America is headed by Tom Matzzie, the former Washington director of the liberal activist group MoveOn. Among Fund for America donors are multimillionaire financier George Soros, who gave it $2.5 million last year and was a major contributor to an effort to defeat Bush in 2004. Burger's union also contributed $2.5 million last year, according to Fund for America's IRS records." [4]

Also on March 5, 2008, the Center for Investigative Reporting noted the leaders of the Campaign to Defend America: Jeff Blum, president: Blum is also the executive director of USAction; Tom Matzzie, treasurer: Matzzie left his position as Washington director of MoveOn.org to become a chief operative of CDA; Wes Boyd, secretary: Boyd is a cofounder of MoveOn.org." [5]

2008 Contact Information

Very little public information is available as of 3/17/08 from Campaign to Defend America regarding itself, its funding and its operations. This contact information is online at http://www.campaignda.com/:

  • Campaign to Defend America
  • PO BOX 65304
  • Washington DC 20035
  • 202-609-7600

2006 Contact information from Office of the Secretary of State, State of Washington[6]

  • 1825 "K" Street NW, Suite 400
  • Washington, DC 20006
  • Phone: (202) 454-6200
  • Fax (202) 263-4530
  • Email info@iraqcampaign.org
  • Web Site www.noiraqescalation.org

Leadership

A report by Center for Investigative Reporting lists the following leadership: [7]

2007 TV Ads and Grassroots Lobbying

Although Campaign to Defend America became prominent in 2008, its roots are in Americans Against Escalation in Iraq as early as 2006.

On September 6, 2007 Tom Matzzie and John Bruhns of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq held a news conference to announce that Campaign to Defend America would be airing TV ads. The news release stated, "A new ad campaign will begin airing today against Senators McConnell (R-KY), Coleman (R-MN), Collins (R-ME), and Domenici (R-NM) for their continued support of the President’s endless Iraq war policy, which leaves our troops in the crosshairs of someone else’s religious civil war. The ads show children going through mock basic training and will be aired by the Campaign to Defend America for the next ten days with large media buys in each of the four states. [8]

In July, 2007, AAEI was using Campaign to Defend America in robot phone calls to whip up anti-Republican sentiment in Congressional districts: "This is a message from the Campaign to Defend America. I'm John Bruhns, an Iraq War Veteran. On July 12, your Congressman, Randy Kuhl, voted against bringing our troops home. According to Bush and Cheney, Al Qaeda is now more dangerous than ever. Your congressman, Randy Kuhl is wrong on Iraq, and wrong on terrorism. 3,000 soldiers dead, 10,000 disfigured, in a war that's costing $10 billion a month. Now, terrorism, and the War in Iraq are worse than ever. Call Congressman Kuhl at 607-776-9142 and tell him to change his vote on Iraq. We need to protect America first, instead of Iraqi politicians." [9]

As early as June, 2007, AAEI webpages featured a claim at the bottom of being paid for by Campaign to Defend America.[10]

Politifacts.com Evaluation of CDA Advertisements

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