Credo 2012-activism-report


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Credo 2012-activism-report

  1. 1. ACTIVISM 2 20 1
  2. 2. 2012 IN REVIEW Dear Friend, 2012 was a huge year for CREDO. With the launch of CREDO SuperPAC , we played a major role in defeating five of the worst Tea Party Republicans in Con- gress, and giving Michele Bachmann the electoral scare of her career. In the process, we rewrote the book on superPACs—funding our grassroots field campaign with nearly $2.5 million from nearly 70,000 small donors, and engaging more than 3,000 volunteers in a year-long grassroots campaign that went toe- to-toe with big money and corporate interests—and won. Not only that, but we engaged our members in dozens of state initiative fights all over the country, winning 24 key battles for marriage equality, the environment, human rights and sanity in election spending. In addition to our electoral work, we launched hundreds of advocacy campaigns that delivered nearly 20 million petition signatures to decision-makers, generated more than 200,000 calls, and recruited 5,000 activists who engaged in on- the-ground fights in their communities. In 2012, we redoubled our already considerable efforts to hold the line as the strongest voice for uncompromised progres- sive positions on the issues we care about. Embracing our progressive flank positions, we knew from the start we wouldn't always win. But we fought for what we believed in, rather than concede from the start in the face of Republican obstruc- tionism and hostage-taking. We took on Democrats and Republicans alike in our fight for progressive values. Our campaigns reached all across the country, from recruiting a handful of our members to attend public meetings against coal export terminals in rural Montana to mobilizing half-a-million people against Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers after his sexist attacks on a feminist law student. Please enjoy the following report. While it describes only a fraction of more than 500 campaigns launched in 2012, it should give you a sense of the size and scope of the change and impact that CREDO and our 3 million members can make over the course of just 12 months. Thank you for being a part of this work. Working together, our activism is powerful. It is effective. And it remains of vital import. We look forward to many more fights and victories in the year ahead. Becky Bond and Michael Kieschnick
  3. 3. 1 CREDO WINS BIG AT THE BALLOT BOX There are times when, as progressives, the forces arrayed against us are so destructive that we have no choice but to go all-in. 2012 was one of those years. And CREDO met the challenge by launching a truly groundbreaking electoral campaign aimed at the House. At the same time, we marshaled activists across the country in our most extensive effort ever to help win state ballot initiative fights. Even as CREDO fought extensively to overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision, we recognized that all of our work on behalf of progressive issues would be at risk if we stood by silently as countless corporations waged an assault on our priorities in the 2012 election. We realized that we have a resource that these right-wing corporations do not—more than 3 million activists. So we launched CREDO SuperPAC in an effort to engage our activists in electoral fights across the country. If we could overturn Citizens United tomorrow, and put an end to all superPACs (including our own), we would do it in a heartbeat. But with this disastrous decision as the law of the land, we used every resource at our disposal in 2012 to fight corporate-funded Tea Party extremism—at the state and federal level. Through our work, we showed that we could stand up to corporate influence, and that our grassroots power could fight—and defeat—their millions and millions of dollars. CREDO Take Down the Tea Party Ten volunteers in Florida worked tirelessly to oust Tea Party Republican Allen West.
  4. 4. 2 Other superPACs spent tens of millions blasting your airwaves with misleading ads. CREDO superPAC set out to deliver a message to Tea Party extremists from real volunteers in their districts. Here’s the local, grassroots field campaign we built. WHAT A NATIONAL PROGRESSIVE, GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN LOOKS LIKE
  5. 5. 3 ELECTORAL WORK The 2010 election ushered in the most extreme Congress in our lifetime. And when planning our 2012 activism, we knew that nothing less than a massive, unprecedented effort on our part would be required to defend our progressive values from the blistering attacks launched against us by the right wing. And so over the last year, CREDO launched and executed our most ambitious electoral effort ever: We took on ten of the most odious Tea Party Republicans in Congress, and in a political landscape in which incumbents are reelected 98% of the time, we won five of the races where we had boots on the ground by April 1: Allen West (FL-18), Joe Walsh (IL-8), Frank Guinta (NH-1), Chip Cravaack (MN-8) and Dan Lungren (CA-7). We also added Michele Bachmann as a bonus race, and though we did not win, we helped give her the electoral scare of her career. A CONGRESSIONAL-SCALE, VOLUNTEER-DRIVEN FIELD OPERATION We raised more than $2.5 million from 70,000 donors. This money allowed us to hire 80 organizers, open 12 offices and recruit over 3,000 volunteers to distribute 20,000 yard signs, knock on 120,000 doors and make well over 1 million phone calls, in Congressional-scale, volunteer-driven field operations across the country. WINS IN FIVE OF OUR TEN RACES AGAINST TEA PARTY REPUBLICANS In three of our five victories—West, Lungren and Guinta—our grassroots field efforts clearly made the difference between victory and defeat for our targets. And in the Cravaack and Walsh races, our huge on-the-ground campaigns helped drive a wide margin of victory that sent a strong accountability message that has reverberations far beyond those specific races. THE MOST INNOVATIVE SUPERPAC OF 2012 By 2011, it was clear the Tea Party takeover of the House was one of the biggest threats to progressive values. These representa- CREDOTAKESDOWNTHETEAPARTYTEN
  6. 6. 4 ELECTORAL WORK tives who were swept in with money from the Koch brothers and Karl Rove’s cronies were not just extreme, they were downright crazy. We surveyed our CREDO Action members, and 85% said they would support the creation of a CREDO SuperPAC to defeat some of the most odious Tea Party Republicans. To stand up to the Republicans, we knew we needed an asymmetrical strategy—a campaign in which a smaller amount of money could compete effectively with our opponents’ massive television ad spending. The research on this topic was clear: Conversations between local volunteers and voters both at the door and on the phone are exponentially more powerful and effective than broad- cast television ads when it comes to persuading and turning out voters on Election Day. THE LARGEST INDEPENDENT GRASSROOTS EFFORT IN OUR HOUSE RACES We built the most innovative superPAC of 2012. To create this volunteer-driven field campaign, we knew we would have to start early. Our first organizers were on the ground in eight districts in April. And as many D.C.-based progressive groups continued to fight back with the traditional big-money media model, we built what became possibly the leanest, most cost-effective major cam- paign of the 2012 election cycle. Our field campaigns were the first independent efforts on the ground in our races, and remained the largest independent grassroots efforts in the district through Election Day in almost every district. MEET THE TEA PARTY TEN (PLUS THE BACHMANN BONUS) We didn't pick any of our races because they were easy; we picked them because they were hard, close, competitive contests where our chosen tactics of volunteers in the field could make a difference in the final vote count. Choosing our races almost a year out from the election posed a challenge, and we weighted dozens of factors and selected eight initial targets. We reserved two races for selection in late summer to allow for emerging races, and in August we added the two races, plus a bonus target. The First 8 Allen West (FL-18) The Tea Party’s “Mad Hatter,” his racist, delusional and downright crazy rhetoric seemed to know no bounds. Joe Walsh (IL-8) The self-described “crazy Tea Party freshman” went to Washington “ready to go to war.” His attacks were not limited to progres- sive policies; he even yelled at his own constituents.
  7. 7. 5 ELECTORAL WORK Frank Guinta (NH-1) The radically anti-woman Tea Party freshman was also named one of the most corrupt members of Congress by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Chip Cravaack (MN-8) The force of his hypocrisy was rivaled only by the force of his anti-woman, anti-labor and anti-senior views. Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) This Tea Party embarrassment missed his swearing-in to attend a fundraiser, and spread Tea Party paranoia and conspiracy theo- ries while in office. Sean Duffy (WI-7) The former “reality TV” star was an anti-woman Tea Party stalwart who also supported Gov. Walker’s attacks on Wisconsin workers. Dan Lungren (CA-7) “California’s Rick Santorum,” who has stood for Tea Party extremism and radical assaults on equality for more than three decades. Steve King (IA-4) The cofounder of the House Tea Party Caucus, and one of the most openly bigoted and anti-immigrant members of Congress. The Final 2, and Bachmann, Too Mike Coffman (CO-6) The hateful Tea Party freshman spread birther paranoia when he said he knew that “in his heart” President Obama wasn’t American. Jim Renacci (OH-16) This multimillionaire was a poster boy for Tea Party economics and his party’s radical assault on working people. Michele Bachmann (MN-6) The cofounder of the House Tea Party Caucus and the Tea Party’s undisputed “Queen of Crazy.” OUR VOLUNTEER-BASED GRASSROOTS MODEL In true grassroots fashion, we turned the superPAC funding model on its head—relying on our national activist base to provide the vast majority of funds for this effort. Our activists responded, with nearly 70,000 people donating $2.5 million online, with an aver- age donation of $22.53. No superPAC had more grassroots support than CREDO SuperPAC.
  8. 8. 6 ELECTORAL WORK With these funds we hired local field organizers, opened local district offices and then recruited from our local activist base to fill these offices with volunteers. The primary goal was voter contact, but we wrapped these efforts within a community-based Tea Party accountability campaign that engaged volunteers, rattled our opponents and helped drive stories in the local and national media to expose the extreme views of these Tea Party Republicans. We held local protests, we packed their town hall meetings and we pushed local and national journalists to cover the Tea Party Ten's extreme statements and actions we caught on tape—like when Joe Walsh said the goal of the Democratic Party was to get “Hispan- ics dependent on government, just like they got African-Americans dependent on government.” These efforts shaped these races and put our progressive values, and the Tea Party’s extreme values, squarely in the local and national conversations in this election. Our message testing in the field quickly identified that the Tea Party’s extreme attacks on women resonated the most with voters, especially with female voters. As our campaign grew to 3,000 volunteers, we were able to make more than 1.2 million phone calls and knocked on over 120,000 doors, targeting a strategic universe of voters who would not likely turn out unless we reached out to them with our targeted and tested messages. THE RESULTS We did not win every race. But we defeated Allen West (FL-18), Joe Walsh (IL-8), Frank Guinta (NH-1), Chip Cravaack (MN-8), and Dan Lungren (CA-7). Knowing that an astonishing 98% of all incumbents are re-elected, we were extremely proud to have defeated five of them–three by narrow margins of less than 5 percentage points–where we know that it was our extensive field campaign that made the difference. In addition to these important victories, our broader campaign sent a powerful message to Tea Party Republicans that there is a high price to pay for their extremism. And we sent a powerful message to corporations and the elected officials who pay more attention to the representatives of big money than to the people they represent: That our people power can stand up to their hundreds of millions of dollars. That we can win. And we will win again.
  9. 9. 7 ELECTORAL WORK In 2012, CREDO made an organizational commitment to engage in major ballot initiatives across the country that were pivotal to the national progressive agenda. Over four months, we engaged more than a million of our members to support and get involved in dozens of ballot ini- tiative fights on key progressive issues. We are extremely proud that this work helped lead to victories in 9 of our 11 highest priority fights, and overall 24 wins in the 31 ballot initiatives we supported through member engagement. A CLEAN SWEEP FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY Marriage equality won big for the first time on the ballot, with Maine, Maryland and Washington upholding or enacting same-sex marriage, while Minnesota defeated an amendment that would have enshrined discrimination into their state constitution. We not only helped turn out our activists for phone banks and voter contact events, but also recruited members from all over the country to travel to affected states for “volunteer vacations.” FOUR STRIKES AGAINST CITIZENS UNITED We were proud to support the ballot initiatives targeting the Supreme Court's awful Citizens United decision—which opened the way for unlimited, secret campaign spending by corporations and special interests. We engaged our members in educational efforts and recruited them to attend campaign events, and raised nearly $10,000 for the Montana initiative, helping to deliver a rebuke to Citizens United in Colorado and Montana, and in the cities of San Francisco and Chicago. These grassroots victories help lay the groundwork for the constitutional amendment needed to overturn Citizens United. MAJOR PROGRESSIVE VICTORIES IN CALIFORNIA California, home to CREDO’s headquarters, was on the front line of many progressive initiatives, and we helped win three major victo- ries. We mobilized our California members to volunteer in voter outreach efforts to make the wealthy pay their fair share to fund edu- cation and vital public services, to reject an effort by the Koch brothers to cripple the power of labor unions to fight for workers' rights in election campaigns, and to revise the state's "three strikes" law to end life sentences for petty crimes like shoplifting. STATE&LOCALBALLOTVICTORIES
  10. 10. 8 ELECTORAL WORK LONGMONT, CO SAYS NO FRACKING WAY As the oil and gas fracking boom spreads nationwide, communities are coming to recognize the environmental and public health threat that fracking poses—and they're defending themselves. Through extensive education, recruitment and fundraising in Long- mont, we helped the Our Longmont campaign stand up to a half-a-million-dollar propaganda campaign by the fracking industry and pass this important ban that is already inspiring other communities to pass similar local measures. FLORIDA REAFFIRMS WOMEN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE One of the biggest salvos in the GOP’s war on women came in Florida with an anti-choice amendment to the state constitution on the ballot, which would have stopped health insurance plans from providing abortion coverage to public workers. We recruited our activists to help repel this attack on women's rights by volunteering to inform and turn out voters, and attend important local rallies. MARYLAND UPHOLDS STATE DREAM ACT In Maryland, CREDO members supported efforts to hold the line against a conservative measure that would have ended that state’s version of the DREAM Act, which allows undocumented immigrants to pay the lower in-state tuition at colleges and universities. THREE STATES DECRIMINALIZE MARIJUANA In Colorado, Massachusetts and Washington, we supported campaigns to pass laws decriminalizing recreational or medical use of marijuana, which will ease jail crowding, save millions in police and court costs, and undermine criminal gangs that profit from illegal marijuana.
  11. 11. CREDO ACTION CAMPAIGNS 2012 2012 was a huge year for CREDO’s activism. We engaged our members in more campaigns than any other group in the progressive movement today. From inviting members to attend small public hearings in rural Montana, to building campaigns supported by half a million activists, CREDO engaged across the country and across the spectrum of progressive issues, with the sharpest progressive messages—to fight not just for victories but to push politicians and other organizations to fight for what we really believe. As CREDO grew to more than 3 million members, 2012 was our biggest year for activism ever, with 346,300 letters sent, 205,000 phone calls made, 19.5 million petition signatures delivered to decision-makers, and over 5,000 people recruited to attend more than 200 offline, on-the-ground events to make an impact in their communities. This report covers our most important campaigns—and still it covers just a fraction of more than 500 campaigns launched by CREDO in 2012. Our gun control rally at NRA headquarters appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian UK, CNN, Huffington Post, Boston Globe, and the New Yorker among others. photo: Josh Lopez 9
  12. 12. 10 CAMPAIGNS OPPOSING THE WAR ON WOMEN The most cynical observer of politics could not have predicted the astonishing lengths that Republicans and their allies went to in 2012 to attack women. As Republicans became increasingly, disturbingly—and of course, misguidedly—brazen in their attacks, CREDO fought them every step of the way, and even managed to gain some ground. We’re proud that our relentless defense of women’s rights helped highlight Republicans’ extreme attacks on women, elevating these attacks to a central election issue—and exacting a strong toll at the ballot box in November. VICTORY AGAINST SUSAN G. KOMEN’S ATTACK ON PLANNED PARENTHOOD CREDO members were at the forefront in building the public pressure that compelled the Susan G. Komen Foundation to reverse its decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings. The outcry forced its Tea Party executive, Karen Handel, to resign, with over 400,000 petition signatures targeting the Foundation’s board. DEFENDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD IN THE STATES When Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Texas introduced bills to defund Planned Parenthood clinics, our activists fought back with calls and petitions to their legislators and governors to maintain funding for women’s health care services. Under intense pressure from activists, the Iowa bill died and the Pennsylvania bill has been delayed. However, Texas and Ohio are moving forward with their plans to defund Planned Parenthood. VICTORY AGAINST RUSH LIMBAUGH When Rush Limbaugh called a Georgetown Law School student a "slut" because she testified in Congress for broader birth-control coverage, more than 500,000 CREDO members urged Limbaugh’s advertisers to pull their ads from his show. More than 140 adver- tisers suspended their ads, and many pulled them permanently, a deep blow to Limbaugh’s reputation and revenue. CREDO activ- ists also called the radio stations carrying the Rush Limbaugh Show in the top media markets of all 50 states directly, and our calls succeeded in getting Limbaugh’s show pulled from the air in Philadelphia.
  13. 13. 11 CAMPAIGNS BLOCKING GOP ATTACKS ON WOMEN IN CONGRESS In Congress, Republicans waged relentless attacks on women, from trying to defund Planned Parenthood, to blocking the Violence Against Women Act and then pushing a fake Violence Against Women Act, to blocking access to abortion care for raped soldiers, to allowing doctors to deny women lifesaving medical care, and even to redefining rape. CREDO members registered their fierce opposition to these extremist moves and helped prevent any House-passed attacks on women from being approved by the Senate. VICTORY FOR NO-COST BIRTH CONTROL We fought hard and ensured that President Obama did not restrict access to no-cost birth control at the heeding of the Catholic bishops who had already delayed this fight for a year. We then successfully fought the Blount Amendment in the Senate, which would have blocked our hard-won victory and legislated new limits on access to no-cost birth control. No group submitted more public comments than CREDO Action to the president’s Health and Human Services agency lobbying for birth control to be treated as preventative health care under the Affordable Care Act. HOLDING EXTREMISTS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR IGNORANCE We fought attacks on women everywhere, not just the ones that originated in Washington, D.C. Our members helped publicize and hold accountable Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock for their inflammatory statements from the campaign trail, even urging members of Congress who voted to redefine rape to censure Akin. FIGHTING INVASIVE ULTRASOUNDS We mobilized against state legislators in Illinois, Idaho, Virginia and Pennsylvania who tried to pass legislation to force women to endure invasive and medically unnecessary ultrasounds, and our activists went to the mat with petitions and calls to stop the bills− successfully doing so in Idaho.
  14. 14. 12 CAMPAIGNS PROTECTINGOURENVIRONMENT Even in the face of the most anti-environmental Congress in history, and a president who proved in 2012 to be more committed to a pro-fossil fuel “all of the above” energy strategy than to taking urgent action to save our planet, CREDO’s environmental activism won serious victories. With more than 1.3 million of our CREDO Action community raising their voices for the environment, we are the biggest and most fierce online-to-offline environmental group in the nation. We continued our relentless local activism against coal plants, and expanded our local activism to target fracking, one of the largest growing threats to the safety of our water and to our ability to move past fossil fuels and fight climate change. STOPPING KEYSTONE XL IN 2012 After a major campaign in 2011, with consistent pressure on President Obama and Congress to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, we continued our fight in 2012 with hundreds of thousands of petition signatures and nearly 20,000 phone calls to Congress and the president. We scored a major early victory (though one that may be short-lived) in January when President Obama seriously delayed the Keystone XL pipeline after Republicans in Congress tried to force his hand. RAISING HELL ON KXL IN 2012 When President Obama announced he would expedite the southern portion of Keystone XL, it became clear that he would only oppose the Tar Sands pipeline if activists like us make him do it. CREDO activists sent more than 800,000 petition signatures and public comments urging the President and the State Department to reject Keystone XL and lead on climate change. With our part- ners at Bold Nebraska, we also submitted 1,400 public comments opposing the revised route in Nebraska (a huge effort in the con- text of that state’s small population), urged TransCanada not to trample on tribal sovereignty, and recruited for the Texas Tar Sands Blockade convergence and training. HOLDING OBAMA ACCOUNTABLE FOR CYNICAL PRO-COAL RHETORIC We didn’t let proximity to the election stand in the way of calling out cynical pandering to the coal industry. When President Obama
  15. 15. 13 CAMPAIGNS ran ads in Ohio criticizing Mitt Romney for correctly stating that coal plants kill people, we delivered more than 77,000 petition signa- tures calling on the Obama campaign to drop the ads. Not surprisingly, we were the only major environmental group to publicly target the campaign to do so. SHELL NO! We fought hard to save the Arctic from Shell’s oil drilling bits. Our pressure, including more than 7,500 phone calls, forced the Obama administration to treat Shell with extreme caution. The administration allowed Shell to move forward—but not fast enough to hit oil. SAVING THE GRAND CANYON FROM URANIUM MINING Thanks to public comments submitted in 2011, in 2012 the Department of Interior protected one million acres of the Grand Canyon from uranium mining. Our activists’ public comments also delayed indefinitely a proposal to mine coal next to Bryce Canyon National Park. VICTORY FOR WIND POWER While it was unfortunately part of a bad deficit-reduction deal that we opposed, Congress responded to pressure from more than 183,000 CREDO activists and renewed the successful Wind Production Tax Credit for one more year. AN UNCOMPROMISED POSITION ON CLEAN AIR CREDO fought fiercely to defend the Clean Air Act—and when the Obama administration wasn’t doing enough, we said so. When President Obama announced a carbon rule that did nothing to reduce current levels of carbon pollution, CREDO activists—unlike most other groups—submitted 165,000 public comments calling for a stronger rule. We also successfully urged the White House not to water down, block or delay the EPA’s proposed rules to limit soot pollution. WINNING KEY STATE VICTORIES We also won key state victories, encouraging the California Air Resources Board to pass the strongest clean-car standard in the nation, and successfully urging California and Massachusetts to expand the solar “net metering” programs.
  16. 16. 14 CAMPAIGNS FIGHTINGDIRTYCOAL With more than 150 state and local coal actions in 2012, CREDO continued its commitment to shutting down coal plants and fighting coal everywhere the industry operates, and we were the largest progressive organization recruiting members for on-the-ground activism to oppose the coal industry. VICTORIES TO SHUT DOWN DIRTY COAL PLANTS Working with local groups, CREDO activists helped secure historic coal plant shut-downs and retirement announcements in 2012. Our activists helped build the pressure to shut down the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Chicago, the Portland plant in Pennsylva- nia, the Big Sandy plant in Kentucky, and the campus coal plants at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee and South Dakota State University. VICTORY AGAINST A NEW COAL BOONDOGGLE We also fought every new coal plant project, and our activists beat back a horrible plan to build a coal gasification plant in Illinois, building pressure that forced Gov. Quinn to veto the plan. PROGRESS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COAL EXPORT TERMINALS Coal companies’ efforts to export coal overseas are one of the biggest threats to our fight against climate change. Nationally, our members sent more than 10,000 letters to the Army Corps of Engineers asking that they not blindly approve these projects. But the Pacific Northwest is the front line. We recruited more than 1,100 CREDO activists to engage in an on-the-ground fight by attending public hearings, public forums and meetings at Senate district offices to speak out against coal export terminals and railways throughout Washington, Oregon and Montana. More than 32,000 CREDO activists in those states submitted public comments and petitions to federal, state and local decision-makers, and helped win numerous city council resolutions opposing coal exports, including in Portland and Seattle. We helped delay a critical permit for the proposed Morrow Pacific terminal, and our pressure helped persuade Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber to take a strong stand against coal export proposals.
  17. 17. 15 CAMPAIGNS NOFRACKINGWAY In 2012, “fracking” for gas emerged as one of the clearest threats to our water and our progress against climate change. As the gas industry took advantage of lax or totally absent regulations to expand drilling wherever they could, CREDO launched a dedicated anti-fracking campaign and helped grow the movement against fracking by bringing new activists into the fight. HOLDING THE LINE TO PRESERVE NEW YORK’S FRACKING BAN The fight to maintain a fracking ban in New York is a crucial one in the broader fracking movement. CREDO activists in New York went to the mat to stop Governor Cuomo’s plans to green-light fracking. We helped score key delays with constant pressure on Cuomo, including almost 4,000 calls and more than 140,000 petition signatures calling for a ban on fracking. We also took the fight offline by organizing two rallies in New York City calling out Gov. Cuomo, each of which drew hundreds of attendees as well as press. VICTORY AGAINST INDUSTRY-FUNDED “FRACKADEMIA” We fought the toxic influence of the gas industry wherever it was—even in our education system. Working with faculty, staff and students, 10,000 CREDO activists helped build pressure to convince the University of Buffalo to close its industry-funded Shale Resources and Society Institute. BUILDING A NATIONWIDE MOVEMENT–ONE STATE AND COMMUNITY AT A TIME We launched campaigns in 14 states, urging city councils and state governments to protect their residents from fracking and gas industry influence. We fought for a ban on fracking wastewater in New Jersey; called out Gov. Hickenlooper’s allegiance to the industry in Colorado; pushed for Gov. Brown to ban fracking and cancel gas-lease auctions in California, where the practice remains virtually unregulated; and fought for fracking bans in Youngstown, OH; Dallas, TX; Fort Collins, CO (where we helped win a tempo- rary moratorium); and Longmont, CO, where our activists helped pass a ballot measure banning fracking.
  18. 18. 16 CAMPAIGNS FIGHTINGFORSAFEFOOD As agribusiness and pesticide giants pushed to fast-track GMO approvals and continue the use of toxic pesticides in our food system, we made sure theirs weren’t the only voices being heard. VICTORY AGAINST METHYL IODIDE Our campaigning against the toxic fumigant methyl iodide paid off with a major victory for safe strawberries when manufacturer Arysta LifeScience decided to stop producing it. Then we urged the EPA to not grant exemptions to allow the use of the globally banned toxic fumigant methyl bromide as a replacement. GOING HUGE TO SAVE THE BEES Our activists sent 560,000 petitions and public comments urging the EPA to ban clothianidin, the pesticide that’s believed to be behind the collapse of bee colonies. SAYING G-M-NO! We submitted comments in opposition to certification of GMO apples, Dow Chemical’s new “agent orange” corn, and urged Walmart not to carry Monsanto’s new GMO sweet corn. VICTORIES FOR A FAIR FARM BILL CREDO activists pressured the Senate to end giveaways and support vital conservation programs in the five-year farm bill, winning support for important conservation amendments. VICTORY AGAINST PINK SLIME We fought for safer meat—we opposed the USDA’s plan to privatize chicken inspection, submitted more than 200,000 comments to the EPA opposing the overuse of antibiotics in meat, and urged the Trader Joe’s chain to stop carrying meat raised with extra anti- biotics. We scored a major victory when our pressure pushed the USDA to allow schools to opt out of including “pink slime” lean beef trimmings in school lunch programs.
  19. 19. 17 CAMPAIGNS It’s simple. Only people are people. Even as CREDO launched our own superPAC in 2012, we fought to end the disastrous Citizens United ruling and the alarming trend of unlimited, secret election spending. BUILDING THE MOVEMENT AGAINST CITIZENS UNITED Over 300,000 CREDO Action members told Congress to overturn Citizens United. CREDO members have supported every federal proposal that called for a constitutional amendment to overturn this terrible Supreme Court decision. FIGHTING FOR TRANSPARENCY While it stops far short of the change we need, over 200,000 CREDO members signed on as citizen cosponsors of the DISCLOSE Act to provide more transparency in corporate giving and end secret election spending. More than 12,000 activists also sent letters to President Obama urging him to issue an executive order that would force disclosure of corporate political spending. PROGRESS TOWARD DISCLOSURE OF CORPORATE ELECTION SPENDING AT THE SEC Over 150,000 CREDO members submitted public comments urging the SEC to require publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending. Late in the year, thanks to the overwhelming number of comments submitted by CREDO and our allies, the SEC agreed to start working on a rule to require this kind of disclosure. VICTORIES AGAINST CITIZENS UNITED In addition to helping pass four ballot measures opposing Citizens United in the November elections, 30,000 CREDO members in California and over 8,500 members in Massachusetts successfully urged their state legislatures to pass a resolution support- ing a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. CREDO activists also pushed for a similar measure in the New York State Assembly. RESTORINGSANITYTOELECTIONSPENDING
  20. 20. 18 CAMPAIGNS FIGHTINGFORECONOMICJUSTICE Four years after our financial crisis, Wall Street crooks and big banks still haven’t been held accountable, and President Obama hasn’t done nearly enough to rein in corporate financial abuse or pass fair laws to help struggling families. We won’t stop pushing until justice is served. OUR PROGRESSIVE FLANK STRATEGY MAKES PROGRESS ON WALL ST. ACCOUNTABILITY We pushed hard for real Wall Street accountability in 2012. Our pressure delayed and strengthened the 50-state Attorneys General deal on mortgage servicer fraud in February, but this deal was still not strong enough, so CREDO became the lead progressive- flank organization pushing to hold the Obama administration’s feet to the fire on Wall Street accountability. Over 125,000 members of CREDO demanded criminal indictments of Wall Street crooks. PUSHING THE DEPT. OF JUSTICE TO PROSECUTE WALL STREET CRIMES Over 150,000 CREDO members urged Eric Schneiderman, New York’s Attorney General and co-chair of President Obama’s finan- cial fraud task force, to get tough on Wall Street. What’s more, over 6,000 CREDO Action members called the White House and the president’s campaign headquarters in Chicago demanding that the task force be given the resources it needed to do its job, saying “55 investigators aren’t enough.” After months of pressure with CREDO members leading the charge, administration officials said publicly they were working to increase the number of investigators to 100. Not a single banker has gone to jail for crimes committed in the financial meltdown, but we remain the leading voice criticizing President Obama’s Department of Justice for refusing to seek criminal penalties. VICTORY: STUDENT LOANS CREDO activists successfully fought to keep interest rates on federal student loans from doubling, elevating the issue in an election year with our messaging and delivering more than 225,000 petition signatures to the Senate in the heat of the fight. After winning a one-year extension of current rates, we urged Congress to pass the Student Loan Forgiveness Act. VICTORY: ELIZABETH WARREN ON THE BANKING COMMITTEE After the November election of Elizabeth Warren to the U.S. Senate, Wall Street bankers and their allies in D.C. tried to sideline
  21. 21. 19 CAMPAIGNS Warren by keeping her off the Senate Banking Committee. Nearly 200,000 CREDO activists spoke out and helped Warren secure a seat on the Banking Committee. PUSHING FOR WALL ST. REFORM After the notorious Fail Whale trades in which JPMorgan Chase lost billions of dollars in a matter of weeks on hugely risky bets, more than 143,000 CREDO activists took action to rein in Wall Street and stop the banks from gambling with our money, asking the Senate to reinstate a version of the Glass-Steagall law to prevent too-big-to-fail banks from taking huge risks with people's life savings—and then expecting taxpayer bailouts. ASKING FOR REAL LEADERSHIP AT THE SEC CREDO members joined economist Simon Johnson in calling for real leadership at the SEC following the retirement of Mary Schap- iro. Our members issued a challenge to the White House demanding an SEC chief who does not share the same cozy ties to Wall Street firms as most of the Obama Administration’s economic team.
  22. 22. 20 CAMPAIGNS Republicans repeatedly engaged in hostage-taking during budget and deficit-reduction negotiations to exact painful cuts to the social safety net—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—while preserving tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Fighting back, CREDO staked out the strongest possible left-flank position and repeatedly pressured Democrats to hold the line against cuts to the social safety net, while pressing for an end to all of the Bush tax cuts. VICTORY: HOLDING THE LINE AGAINST CUTS TO MEDICARE, MEDICAID AND SOCIAL SECURITY We weren’t afraid to target Democratic leadership—and our pressure stopped bad deals in their tracks. When it was rumored in March that Steny Hoyer was looking to make a deal with cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, CREDO activists pushed back hard, with 150,000 petition signatures and more than 3,000 phone calls directly to Hoyer’s office. Throughout the year, we submitted more than 550,000 petition signatures to Congress—especially Democratic leaders like Hoyer and Pelosi—drawing a hard line against benefit cuts. FIGHTING THE BUSH TAX CUTS While many were advocating for the Buffett Rule to raise taxes on income over a million dollars a year, we continued pushing for the repeal of all the Bush tax cuts, with more than 400,000 petition signatures and 5,000 calls to Congress until the Buffett Rule died in August. BUILDING THE FIGHT TO SAVE MEDICARE By selecting Paul Ryan as his presidential running mate, Mitt Romney ensured that the election would focus on Medicare. We used it as an opportunity to push back on Ryan’s plan to destroy Medicare and pivot to what we really should do to protect Medicare− expand it so it covers everyone—with 200,000 CREDO activists signing our petition to Paul Ryan. FIGHTING TO PRESERVE CUTS TO BLOATED DEFENSE SPENDING CREDO activists also fought to cut back on bloated defense spending, with over 134,000 CREDO members signing petitions urging DEFENDINGSOCIALSECURITY&MEDICARE
  23. 23. 21 CAMPAIGNS their Senators to reject extreme budget proposals and opting instead for the triggered cuts included in the budget “sequester.” Hundreds of our activists also sent letters to their local newspaper editors on this subject in Maine, Virginia, Florida and Massachu- setts and attended meetings organized for them with staff members for Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Mark Warner (D-VA). KEEPING OUR HEAD AT THE ‘FISCAL CLIFF’ With the manufactured “fiscal cliff” deadline looming at the end of the year, we made sure our members knew that no deal and triggered budget cuts were better than cuts to the social safety net—and we made sure Congress knew it too, with more than 10,000 calls urging the Senate not to accept any benefit cuts, including a “chained CPI” cut to Social Security benefits, and 4,000 calls to the White House and Congressional leadership. We also organized 46 meetings with Senate district offices, attended by more than 500 activists, so constituents of key senators could urge their staff in person to stand against all cuts. No other group organized as many in-person meetings with Senate staff as CREDO Action.
  24. 24. 22 CAMPAIGNS Our civil liberties remain under constant attack—from warrantless wiretapping to extrajudicial killings to internet censorship. CREDO fought back, working behind the scenes on issues that barely made news in 2012 but represent a grave threat to our constitutional rights. VICTORY FOR INTERNET FREEDOM When the future of the free internet was threatened by the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), CREDO joined hundreds of organizations in a historic one-day strike and day of action. Over 165,000 CREDO members stood up to oppose internet censorship and made 11,000 calls to the Senate. In a major victory, Congress did not vote on the bills, which had been con- sidered a slam dunk for approval just weeks earlier. FIGHTING WARRANTLESS SPYING Joining with progressive champion Sen. Jeff Merkley, we fought the outrageous practice of warrantless spying on Americans, with 227,000 petition signatures and 1,600 phone calls urging Congress to oppose reauthorization of FISA and to pass Sen. Merkley’s Protect America’s Privacy Act, which would make major changes to end some of the worst abuses passed in the Bush era. No other group brought as much citizen pressure on the Senate as CREDO did on this issue. We also delivered 90,000 petition signatures calling on the FAA to put a stop to aerial drone spying on Americans. EXPOSING CIA’S SECRET KILL LIST As news broke that the Obama administration was taking the unprecedented step of authorizing targeted executions of American citizens without judicial review through a secretive CIA assassination program, over 72,000 CREDO Action members signed a peti- tion urging Attorney General Eric Holder to release the documents being used to justify the authority to kill American citizens, and made hundreds of phone calls to Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. More than 100,000 CREDO activists, joining with the Center for Constitutional Rights, also worked to keep the pressure on President Obama to close the Guantanamo prison and end the shameful practice of indefinite detention. DEFENDINGOURCONSTITUTIONALRIGHTS
  25. 25. 23 CAMPAIGNS 2012 marked a landmark for marriage equality when President Obama finally “evolved” and an- nounced his support—affirming the longstanding pressure of CREDO and numerous other equal rights groups. FREEDOM TO MARRY CREDO members called, faxed and organized in Maryland and Washington in successful efforts to legalize the freedom to marry in their states. Our activists also helped defeat an effort in New Hampshire to roll back marriage rights for gays and lesbians. VICTORIES AGAINST ANTI-GAY STATE MEASURES In addition to helping win victories for marriage equality on state ballots in Maine, Michigan, Maryland and Washington, CREDO members fought discriminatory state legislative efforts in New Hampshire and Michigan. After our pressure helped win a bill ban- ning medically unsound gay-conversion therapy in California, our members across the nation urged their governors to push for similar bills. VICTORY AGAINST UGANDA’S ‘KILL THE GAYS’ BILL Threats to equality were found not just in the U.S., but all over the world—and so when Ugandan President Museveni tried to move forward with another “Kill the gays” bill, our members once again made our opposition known to the Ugandan embassy, helping to block the bill once more. FIGHTINGFORMARRIAGE&LGBTRIGHTS
  26. 26. 24 CAMPAIGNS From voter ID laws to Romney-affiliated voting machine ownership, 2012 brought countless threats to the integrity of our elections, and attempts to suppress the right of eligible citizens to vote. CREDO activists aggressively fought these efforts all over the country, making sure they did not go unanswered. VICTORIES AGAINST ALEC’S VOTER SUPPRESSION EFFORT Working with our allies at ColorOfChange, we directly targeted the corporations whose contributions underwrote the voter suppres- sion efforts of the American Legislative Exchange Council. We earned a victory early in 2012 when Coca-Cola dropped its ALEC sponsorship after our campaign at the end of 2011. Stepping up the pressure on major corporate sponsors, our members made more than 15,000 phone calls to companies like eBay, State Farm, Duke Energy and AT&T. In total, the campaign to protest ALEC’s involvement in voter suppression, with major support from CREDO members, has successfully convinced Johnson & Johnson and 37 other corporations to pull their support. EXPOSING STATE VOTER SUPPRESSION EFFORTS We fought attempts by state legislatures in Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Virginia to move forward with voter-suppression legislation, pushed back on Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted when he tried to restrict early voting hours, and won a victory when our activist pressure helped convince Clear Channel to drop voter-suppression billboards in Cleveland. VICTORY AGAINST FLORIDA’S VOTER PURGE When Gov. Rick Scott tried to move forward with a massive voter purge in the pivotal swing state of Florida, our members made sure that he couldn’t sneak it under the radar, delivering petitions signed by more than 260,000 CREDO activists, and also successfully pressured the U.S. Department of Justice to formally step in. PUSHINGBACKONVOTERSUPPRESSION
  27. 27. 25 CAMPAIGNS After two of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history, 2012 came to a close with a deeply tragic reminder of the need to control access to guns in this country, and rein in the power of gun makers and their lobbyists. BUILDING PRESSURE TO BAN ASSAULT WEAPONS After the Aurora movie theater massacre in July, we urged President Obama and Gov. Romney to use their campaign platforms to urge Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban, and our activists sent more than 12,000 letters to Sen. Barbara Boxer urging her to lead that effort in Congress. MAJOR MOBILIZATION AGAINST THE NRA In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy in December, CREDO played a major role in mobilizing opposition to the NRA. Three days after the shooting, CREDO organized hundreds of activists for an emergency march on the NRA, which was covered by most major print and television news outlets. Our calls for the NRA to stand down and let Congress pass gun control legislation made national headlines and ensured that the NRA’s efforts to obstruct gun control legislation were a part of our national conversation. TELLING THE NRA TO STAND DOWN 260,000 CREDO activists signed a petition urging the NRA to stand down and let Congress pass gun control legislation. We orga- nized activists to attempt to deliver these petitions at the NRA’s high-profile “press conference.” Our delivery was refused, while our protests outside the event continued to be widely covered in the media. We also worked to build pressure on pro-gun senators, with more than 60,000 constituents signing petitions to senators who had received an “A” rating from the NRA. WORKINGTOENDGUNVIOLENCE
  28. 28. 26 CAMPAIGNS With the right wing on the offensive, seeding hatred and bigotry, and with dangerous and dis- criminatory anti-immigrant bills being introduced, CREDO teamed up with friends in the immi- gration movement in a number of key efforts to advance sensible immigration policies at the federal and state level. BUILDING PRESSURE FOR THE DREAM ACT After the clear message of the 2012 election, CREDO activists sent more than 12,000 letters to House Speaker John Boehner, pres- suring him to support the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act that would provide young immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least five years a pathway to citizenship by completing at least two years of college or military service. DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS IN CALIFORNIA In California, working with allies in the immigration reform communities such as the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and America’s Voice, CREDO activists signed over 11,000 petitions and made hundreds of phone calls to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office, urging him to sign the TRUST ACT, a landmark immigration bill that would blunt the harmful impact of a deeply flawed federal depor- tation program, and stand out as the antithesis of Arizona's anti-immigrant SB 1070. DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS IN ILLINOIS In Illinois, CREDO Action members sent 5,600 faxes directly to the state General Assembly, speaking out against the construction of a new immigration detention center built by private prison companies with well-established records of abuses. We also recruited volunteers for a Chicago event organized by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights that helped thousands of young immigrant students learn how to qualify for two-year protected status under a new Obama administration program. FIGHTINGFORIMMIGRANTS’RIGHTS
  29. 29. 27 CAMPAIGNS Our elected officials in Washington, including many Democrats, seemed to have learned noth- ing from the catastrophic mistake and tremendous moral failure that was the war in Iraq. In 2012, CREDO Action members kept up tenacious activism to pressure politicians in D.C. to avoid such unnecessary and costly wars in the future while also pushing for an accelerated and responsible end to the out-of-control war in Afghanistan. STOPPING THE WAR WITH IRAN CREDO members signed over 445,000 petitions, sent more than 12,000 letters and made more than 4,000 phone calls urging President Obama and Congressional members to pursue diplomacy with Iran and push back against efforts of warmongers and saber-rattlers who want diplomacy to fail. No organization has generated more calls opposing a rush to war in Iran than CREDO. And very few major national progressive organizations have generated activism on this important issue. WORKING TO END THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN As the ongoing war in Afghanistan continues to drive our debt, with a cost of almost $600 billion so far, along with the lives of more than 2,000 American service members and countless Afghan military and civilians, CREDO Action members kept up the pressure on both the White House and Congress by launching multiple campaigns—generating well over 76,000 petitions and 3,200 phone calls—to bring our troops home as soon as it can be safely and responsibly accomplished. CAMPAIGNINGRELENTLESSLYFORPEACE
  30. 30. 28 CAMPAIGNS After the right wing’s unprecedented extremist attacks in Wisconsin, and the historic labor movement uprising and street protests that arose in response in 2011, we knew we would have to redouble our efforts to support our friends in the labor community and defend the rights of workers in 2012. With an emboldened right wing working to replicate its success in Wisconsin, CREDO stood out as one of the most prominent national activist organizations repeatedly stepping up to support the labor movement in key state and national battles. STANDING WITH WORKERS IN INDIANA In January, our members stood with allies in the labor movement to protest Indiana Republicans’ radical anti-worker legislation at the state capitol in Indianapolis. We turned out protesters and generated calls and faxes in opposition to a rabidly anti-worker, so-called “right to work” bill. STANDING WITH WORKERS IN WISCONSIN In Wisconsin, we aggressively recruited our members for the field efforts led by Workers’ Voice, an AFL-CIO-affiliated political action committee, to recall Gov. Scott Walker. STANDING WITH WORKERS IN MICHIGAN And in Michigan, we mounted an all-out effort to block anti-union “right to work” legislation, with call campaigns targeting key Republican legislators, recruiting volunteers for AFL-CIO's emergency phone banks, and turning out activists to attend a huge rally with thousands of workers from across Michigan at the State Capitol Building in support of working families. BLOCKING REPUBLICAN WORKER ATTACKS IN THE FAA At the federal level, CREDO worked closely with our friends in the labor movement to fight the anti-worker Republicans in the House. In February, over 55,000 CREDO activists signed our petition pushing back against House Republicans’ effort to use the FIGHTINGFORWORKERS’RIGHTS
  31. 31. 29 CAMPAIGNS reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)—a bill that should have been about aviation safety and security—as a vehicle to unilaterally change labor law to the detriment of working people. VICTORY: NEW YORK RAISES MINIMUM WAGE In May, CREDO helped win a significant victory when we engaged in New York, the most prominent state-level fight on minimum wage in the country. We teamed up with the National Employment Law Project and grassroots activists in New York to pressure Gov. Andrew Cuomo to push for the passage of legislation in the State Assembly that raised the minimum wage and tied it to the rising cost of living. After sending more than 9,500 petitions and 320 phone calls to Albany, we won passage of the bill. PROGRESS TOWARD RAISING THE FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE CREDO launched a national campaign to raise the minimum wage in April in support of Sen. Tom Harkin’s Rebuild America Act. More than 12,000 CREDO Action members signed petitions to the Senate pushing to raise the minimum wage from the current level of $7.25 an hour to $9.80 an hour over two years and implementing automatic increases in the future. CREDO TEAMED UP WITH SEIU CREDO also teamed up with SEIU and the National Employment Law Project to generate support for legislation to increase the mini- mum wage introduced in Congress by California Rep. George Miller. We gathered over 171,000 signatures from CREDO Action members across the country lobbying their members to cosponsor Rep. Miller’s legislation. Our activism helped boost the number of co-sponsors for Rep. Miller’s bill from 30 to 100 in just two weeks, and helped generate national momentum for the cause, result- ing in formal introduction of both House and Senate minimum wage bills in late July. FIGHTING WALMART’S ABUSIVE LABOR PRACTICES When Walmart workers went on strike across the country in the lead-up to the holiday shopping season, CREDO engaged our activists to show solidarity. More than 100,000 CREDO Action members signed a petition demanding that Rob Walton, Walmart's board chairman, meet with workers about improving pay and working conditions, and made over 1,200 calls to Walton’s office expressing support for Walmart workers. At the same time, we campaigned to expose Walmart’s failure to ensure safe conditions for workers in Bangladesh, following a fire that killed 112 workers there. More than 100,000 CREDO Action members called on Walmart to sign on to the independent fire safety inspection program supported by labor unions and NGOs and recently adopted by other major retailers.
  32. 32. 30 CAMPAIGNS HOLDING DARDEN ACCOUNTABLE CREDO joined with the Restaurant Opportunities Center United to launch a major campaign against Darden Restaurant Group, which has 180,000 employees working at 2,000 restaurants nationwide including Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steak- house and other chains. Over 66,000 CREDO members signed a petition demanding that Darden end its exploitative employment practices and pay tipped employees at least $5 an hour, up from the current $2.13. EXPOSING CORPORATE EMPLOYEE COERCION IN ELECTIONS During the presidential campaign, numerous companies exerted their influence in an attempt to bolster Republican candidates. More than 4,000 CREDO activists in Ohio called on the Department of Labor to conduct a thorough investigation when coal com- pany Murray Energy forced its workers to attend a Romney campaign rally without pay. A few weeks later, after the Romney cam- paign used footage of the miners in a television ad, more than 10,000 CREDO activists urged the campaign to pull the ads. And 36,000 CREDO activists also pushed back against an intimidating voter information packet sent to thousands of employees of the Koch brother-owned Georgia Pacific in support of Mitt Romney and Republican candidates.
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