Feingold returns: ‘Progressives United’ PAC to fight corporate influence

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 13:00 EDT
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Former Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) was defeated in 2010 amid a tea party wave that thumped Democrats’ majority in Congress, but did not topple it completely. As one of the Senate’s top progressive voices, many on the left saw the Wisconsin vote as a great loss to their cause.

But now, Feingold has returned — and like so many other former politicos, he’s leading a new political action committee.

Called “Progressives United,” Feingold said he intended for the group to stand up to undue corporate influence in the halls of American governance.

“As progressives, it’s time we made our voices heard,” he said in a video published to YouTube. “Washington, sadly, has become a playground for corporations and their lobbyists. For too long we’ve watched as our jobs have been shipped overseas, and we’ve seen our leaders in Washington coddle the Wall Street banks, then turn around and water down the very financial reforms that our country desperately needs.”

And the key component of Feingold’s solution: “Together, we’ll start a movement. We’re starting a new organization: Progressives United. It will help us fight back.”

He said the group would work to support progressive candidates and encourage officials to take a more friendly view of progressive causes. He even said they would actively “call out the media” when they “hide from the real story.”

Feingold also called the Supreme Court’s Citizens United vs. FEC decision “one of the most lawless decisions in the history of our country,” and pitched the group as a potential bulwark against the renewed influence of money in elections.

The Citizens United case overturned generations of US campaign law by allowing political ad buys to be made by groups that do not reveal their financial backers. Feingold and many other Democrats, including President Barack Obama, have been ardent in criticizing it as permitting limitless corporate and foreign influence in US elections.

Former Rep. John Hall (D-NY), who was also defeated in 2010, even went so far as to say that Citizens United put America on the path to fascism, and a Washington economic development panel warned that it could lead to corporations becoming akin to subsidiaries of the major political parties.

“That’s why I need your help,” Feingold implored.

This video is from Progressives United, published to YouTube on Feb. 15, 2011.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Zentrails/100001475536421 Bob Zentrails

    Thank you Russ. This is more like it.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3NVQSZZC5IM66JEOCSFJUV7FCE Jacques G

    Your loss was a loss to Progressives and Americans who didn’t know it. Gotta keep fighting the good fight! I’m on!

  • Anonymous

    Thank GOD..(I would like to see Kucinich involved, too, the whole progressive caucus!) some one finally gets it…! (Our President doesn’t!) Where can I sign up….?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCRNBMCPGAOEFGLTXYZVLQ2QPA Razi Masoud

    I’d say this dude needs to join the Zeitgeist Movement. Same thing only WAYYYYY BETTER

  • Anonymous

    We need more money in politics as long as I agree with the politics of the money.

    So, no.

  • P Matthews

    McLean, Virginia — It’s a bit late to see this turn of events. I expect Barack Obama to attempt to prevent any such organization from doing anything. Our “Democratic” Administration is the most useless authority we have had for years. Even the Bush Administration might have something more useful when faced with Roberts.

  • Anonymous

    You should go read the Wikipedia page on PACs.

    They’re not Repub Corporations.

    There was a huge disparity in the amount of money spent since 1988 by PACs that tilt Democratic as opposed to Republican.

    Which is pretty much surprising since I was PROMISED we were living in a Republican Plutobomacracry.

  • P Matthews

    McLean, Virginia — You haven’t understood the Wikipedia page you referenced. My concern is with the effects of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United vs. FEC decision, which led to “Super PACs.”

    I suggest you do some additional research.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t read?


    Well blow THAT out your ass.

    Have a nice day.

  • P Matthews

    McLean, Virginia — Well, I suppose you do read; at least you understood my reply to your comment above.
    Better luck next time.

  • Mein Furor

    Russ Feingold was one of the only members of Congress who put his country first; a true patriot. It’s a depressing reflection of the state of our collective intelligence and patriotism as a country to have voted him out of office. Wisconsin should be ashamed of itself.

  • Anonymous

    as the trailer shrinks to dog house size hummmmm?…… Wifey? or Wofey?


  • http://plus.google.com/u/0/111051039748078110427/about novenator

    Good to have Feingold back on the scene, and getting to the heart of the issue that threatens the very fabric of our democracy: the takeover by large, multinational corporations.

  • gypski®

    I think its the opposite. political parties becoming subsidiaries of corporations. That is totally un-American.

  • Anonymous

    Here we are people. Here is our chance to change things. Lets make it a movement.

  • Anonymous

    Feingold for president!

  • http://twitter.com/honorablelordk Karim Walker

    Time to stand and fight. Go Russ Go!

  • Anonymous

    Glad he didn’t go quietly. go Russ! Be a lobbyist for us!

  • Anonymous

    love your avatar….or rather….hate him!

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    I signed up and donated. Russ Feingold is a hero and will always have my support!

  • Anonymous

    If there new Governor is any indication, they have lost their minds.

  • hegesias

    I signed up. Can’t donate yet as I just started working (part time) after much time off.

    Feingold, Progressive for President 2012.

  • Anonymous

    PACs are not Progressive.

    One person = One vote is Progressive.

    And yeah, a Redneck Fascist in Alabama gets as much power as everybody else.

    One person in Alabama = One person in New York City = One Vote.

    This PAC shit is bull shit.

  • Anonymous

    Hey – he stole the idea from The Onion:

    “American People Hire High-Powered Lobbyist To Push Interests In Congress”


  • Anonymous

    You think this is bad ?? Just wait until 2012 !! (25 Dem seats to defend)We are looking at a home in Belize this Summer. No joke.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

    Great concept, I wish him the best…but how do you beat this corrupt and evil system we have.
    Velvet – R-E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N.

  • Anonymous

    Belize is a beautiful place, but can you earn a living there (aside from working in the tourist industry)?

  • Anonymous

    Russ Feingold is the man I had hoped Barack Obama would be. I just donated to his PAC and he’d have my support if he ever decided to run for president.

  • Anonymous

    No offense. Money isn’t an issue.

  • Anonymous

    Organize, organize, organize.

  • Helen Wheels

    Excellent. We need a big progressive leader. This could be a start. Very inspiring and exciting. Espcially after hearing the news today that across the nation, new teabagger (fascist) governors are busting up unions so we can all be good little slaves of capitalism again.

  • Helen Wheels

    HA! THere was such a huge response on his website:


    That it crashed. I see that as a good sign.

  • cannotvote

    Can’t keep a good man down!

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    I have to admit: Obama chumped a lot of us.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    The problem with REAL revolutions is that they almost invariably result in a more repressive regime than the one they replaced.

  • http://www.balmorheaprogressive.blogspot.com/ BaileyWuXiang

    And then go knocking on doors.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

    Yes, I know. See change above.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, Nick, that’s not a bad idea; especially with the highest of unlikelyhoods that Biden will run. The D’s are in the same position that the R’s were in last elections season (2008) when there was no VP to run for the R’s.

    Russ comes up with an organization and a platform to knock it out of the park and I’m IN.

  • Anonymous


  • RottenJohnny

    Wow, tell that to the tea baggers, the Kochs and the wall streeters and their pacs. Oh, ya, don’t forget Kunich in Kansas, where evidently a progressive vote is one voter = many votes. You might not get such a red neck if you quit burying your head in the sand. Try up to your shoulders.

  • Anonymous

    He didn’t chump ANYONE on his policy re: war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    He said he would continue the Bush policy in Iraq and escalate the war in Afghanistan. And he did.

    Oh … I guess you must be talking about something else. SORRY.

  • PrissyPatriot®

    He’s not a coward afraid to put his country first-a quality I find very attractive. WI doesn’t know a good thing when they had it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QMPOO3PZFN7XV2XZKCGSXXR3WM Joe Somebody

    Generally, we’re agreed. But until the corporate money is removed, one must use the tools at hand to build a better.. anything.

    Feingold is one of the guys that wrote/passed a bill to limit corporate money (PACs) in elections, and the SCOTUS turned it over. Russ wants to use this PAC to eventually shut down all corporate funding of elections. Without building a bigger hammer to beat at the problem with, we’ll continue to be crushed under the massive weight of “corporate speech” as represented by money.

    The SCOTUS got two things wrong that are destroying this country. One is that “money = speech”, and two is that “corporations are people; they get freedom of speech too”. Obviously money is not speech, it’s volume.. more money is louder speech, and in that din all other voices get drowned out. All of us little people having “freedom of speech” is immaterial when no one can hear us over the loudspeakers of Fascism funded by huge sums of money from corporations. — Feingold wants to try and level that field a bit.

  • Anonymous

    I would definitely VOTE for Feingold for President

  • Jaimie11

    Agree, but without the utopian mandates attached and the quasi anti-religious hooey wooey replacing one set of beliefs with another. Just the criminal money system exposed and overturned.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QMPOO3PZFN7XV2XZKCGSXXR3WM Joe Somebody

    what “beliefs” do you think are being attempted to be “put in place” from the zeitgeist model?

  • Jaimie11

    can’t fight evil with evil – you just get dirty and then join it.

  • Jaimie11

    Unless you get real with outlawing and replacing the debt based money system, no matter who’s in office, no matter what you do, you are slaves to the oligarchs and their banksters.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3NVQSZZC5IM66JEOCSFJUV7FCE Jacques G

    But unfortunately it has become the Way of the World. We have Move On. Org and others to combat corporates. They upped the ante with a Corporate supportive Supreme Court with Citizens United. You either fight with the weapons of the time or you perish. Unions were the “PAC’s” of the 20th Century that created the middle Class. Now the PEOPLE need a “union” to speak for them against the corporates and not the TEA thing which is corporate fueled anyway. And, you still can VOTE.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3NVQSZZC5IM66JEOCSFJUV7FCE Jacques G

    It’s the LOGICAL thing to do!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UJ4XRIA3A3E6MYGK755EGWLN4Q Dani A

    WOOT! I’ve missed Russ! so good to see hes back in action.

    He aint no pansy ass to go sulk for a decade after being defeated :D