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.