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Mike Lux is the founder of Progressive Strategies LLC and a director of the Center for Progressive Leadership, the Proteus Fund and the Arca Foundation. He was in a business-partnershiop arrangement with David Wilhelm, who ran The Strategy Group and was also the chairman for a time of the Democratic National Convention. These Democrat lobbyists all worked secretly for the tobacco industry, and Lux gave the industry a direct point of entry into the health-policy aides at the Clinton WhiteHouse.
Mike Lux was a compulsive think-tank founder (see Wilhelm/Lux (Doc Index). These were his main recent associations:
- President, American Family Voices
- Director, Women's Voices. Women Vote
- Founder, with Matt Stoller and Chris Bowers, OpenLeft.com
- Advisory Board, SumOfUs 
|David Wilhelm and Mike Lux worked with a relatively small coterie of Democrat associates:|
|David C Wilhelm - Robert S McIntyre
David Senter (AAM)
|The Strategy Group - Progressive Strategies
AFL-CIO - WLK Associates
Citizens for Tax Justice
Labor Management Committee
James Savarese - Susan Stuntz
Wilhelm/Lux (Doc Index)
According to the Progressive Strategies website, prior "to founding Progressive Strategies, Lux was Senior Vice President for Political Action at People For the American Way (PFAW), PFAW Foundation, and the PFAW Voters Alliance. He oversaw lobbying and legal advocacy, field operations, state and regional offices, voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts, and educational activities. He also was responsible for coalition building with other organizations and interest groups. He was also treasurer and CEO of PFAW Voters Alliance, a state and federal PAC launched earlier this year.
"While at PFAW, Lux was a leader in the effort to found a progressive response to rightwing domination of the ballot initiative process. Started as a PFAW project, the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center has become an important coalition, providing progressives a forum to strategize, research, train, and target on major ballot initiative fights. Lux is the chair of its board.
"Before coming to People For the American Way, Lux served at the William Jefferson Clinton White House as a Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison, where his role on health care and budget issues involved working closely with a wide range of constituency groups including labor, seniors, health care providers, trial lawyers, consumer groups and agricultural interests.
"Since leaving the White House in April 1995, Lux has become a significant fundraiser for progressive causes and candidates. He was a 1996 Clinton-Gore Finance Committee Vice Chair, and served in the 1996 cycle as a Democratic National Business Council Vice Chair. He has raised money for numerous charitable causes and political candidates over the last three years. Prior to his service at the White House, Lux was Constituency Director on both the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign and the Presidential transition. Lux was also a senior staffer for the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Paul Simon campaigns in the 1988 cycle.
"Lux has a diverse background in the consulting, labor and consumer advocacy world. He was a partner and co-founder, with former DNC Chair David Wilhelm, of the Chicago-based political consulting firm, Strategy Group. He was Executive Vice President, PAC director and chief lobbyist for the Iowa AFL-CIO in the early 1990s. During his tenure as Executive Director of the Iowa Citizen Action Network, Lux doubled the organization's annual budget from $500,000 in 1984 to almost $1 million in 1987 while raising the organization's membership from 30,000 to 75,000. His first organizing job was as a VISTA volunteer working with moderate income family farmers in southeast Nebraska.
"Lux contributed an essay to the book, 250 Ways to Make America Better, which was compiled and published by the editors of George magazine."
Lux is a contributor to The Huffington Post, which reports that "[w]hile at Progressive Strategies, Lux has founded, and currently chairs a number of new organizations and projects, including American Family Voices, the Progressive Donor Network, and BushRecall.org. Lux serves on the boards of several other organizations including the Arca Foundation, Americans United for Change, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, Center for Progressive Leadership, Democratic Strategist, Grassroots Democrats, Progressive Majority and Women's Voices/Women Vote."
Tobacco Institute activities
In 1988-90 Lux worked with David Wilhelm, a well-known labor lobbyist, through a company known as WLK Associates. Wilhelm had just resigned as Executive Director at Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ), a labor-based anti-excise-tax operation run by six labor unions with membership associated with the tobacco industry, and funded mainly by the Tobacco Institute. Wilhelm became a member of the tobacco industry's Labor Management Committee, which acted as a channel to fund tobacco money to a number of liberal/Democrat organizations willing to front excise tax operations for the industry.   
Lux and Wilhelm established The Strategy Group, a PR and lobby firm, which serviced the tobacco industry as the main public relations service to the Labor Management Committee, and they also set up for tobacco interests another 'grassroots' anti-excise tax operation, the Consumer Tax Alliance. They also ran two think-tanks, Leadership 2000 and Leadership for the New Century which occasionally acted as fronts for the tobacco industry.  
Connection with Campaign to Defend America
In March, 2008, the Center for Investigative Reporting noted that "A political organization financed by film producer Steve Bing has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to a liberal group running attack ads against Republican presidential candidate John McCain. American Family Voices Voters’ Alliance gave $300,000 to the Campaign to Defend America last November, according to government filings. The Campaign to Defend America aired ads last month calling McCain the “McSame” as President Bush. ... American Family Voices, which ran controversial automated telephone calls to voters in 2006, is headed by Mike Lux, a former aide to President Bill Clinton. Before contributing to the Campaign to Defend America, American Family Voices received $600,000 from liberal mega-donor Bing. Bing gave millions to pro-Democrat groups in the 2004 election cycle, and is currently a bundler for Sen. Hillary Clinton, raising at least $100,000 for her presidential campaign. Bing is also known for his playboy reputation, including a paternity dispute with actress Elizabeth Hurley. 
As of January 29, 2003, Lux was involved in assisting Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "in assembling and raising money for a new outside organization designed to provide a voice to the party's progressive wing. Although the finishing touches are still being put on the group, it is expected to be either a 501(c)(3) or 501c4 group aimed at 'countering the efforts by the right in terms of research and policy development as well as communications outreach,' according to one source familiar with its genesis." 
- "In addition to Clinton, a number of former aides to her husband during his eight years in the White House are also expected to play roles. Former White House Chief of Staff John D. Podesta has been spearheading the effort while former Clinton Press Secretary Joe Lockhart and political office director Doug Sosnik are also expected to assist with the new organization."
- "The structure of the new organization is expected to somewhat mirror that of Lux's firm, which advises wealthy donors and interest groups about how to put their money to its best use in the political process."
- "In the 2002 cycle, Lux helped form the Progressive Donor Network, which was comprised of several hundred contributors, and sought to connect them to like-minded groups."
An earlier report on the new fundraising organization was mentioned by Progress for America in the August 25, 2002 article New Ways To Harness Soft Money In Works. Political Groups Poised To Take Huge Donations
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- SumOfUs Who we are, organizational web page, accessed August 27, 2012.
- Will Evans, "More details on anti-McCain group", The Muckraker Blog, Center for Investigative Reporting, March 10, 2008.
- John Stauber, The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats, March 15, 2013, CounterPunch.
- Chris Cillizza and Mark Preston, "Clinton Broadens Role," National Republican Senatorial Committee, January 29, 2003.
- Will Evans, More details on anti-McCain group, CIR blog, March 10, 2008