Eric O'Keefe has the reputation for being a political activist who isn't afraid to take on entrenched political interests. He has a history of involvement in organizations which seek to empower the regular American citizen and he doesn't shy away from a fight. When you look at his career you see he mirrors some of the best ideals of the fighting Irish spirit, fighting for the underdog. In Mr. O'Keefe's case the underdog he fights for is the under represented American citizen.
He is the founder and a principal in such organizations as the Samuel Adams Club, Alliance for Self-Governance, Health Care Compact Alliance. He also sits on the board of directors of the Institute for Humane Studies, the Center for Competitive Politics, the Citizens In Charge Foundation and the Club for Growth Wisconsin. All of these groups seek to help change the landscape of American politics to represent the citizens instead of special interests.
What got my attention was a new Political Action Committee (PAC) on the scene, which is non partisan in nature and is trying to upset the apple cart in Washington DC politics. They go by the name of Campaign for Primary Accountability (CPA). Their aim is to target entrenched members of congress, who they feel do not represent the people anymore, but owe their existence to special interests.
In these days of divisive and partisan politics, with new PACS springing up every day to promote that partisanship, it was extraordinary to see an organization like this, neither Democrat or Republican, but on the side of regular American citizens. I called them up and had a chat with their spokesman, Curtis Ellis.
Curtis was able to fill me in on the nuts and bolts of the organization and how it's founders, have diverse political views. Curtis said "Even though their political views are different, they share the same view that common folks don't have a voice anymore in Washington DC and that's dangerous for a democracy".
Leo Linbeck, one of the founders had an idea that the best way to effect change in Washington was to go after entrenched politicians in their primaries, where they don't usually get a challenge. Due to the gerrymandering of their districts, many times these Congressmen run unopposed in their general elections.
Leo contacted Eric O'Keefe with the idea of helping challengers to incumbents in the primaries, regardless of party and Eric helped make the idea into a reality. With the help of two other founders, Joe Ricketts and Tim Dunn, they started and funded their idea. So far they have met success by defeating two incumbents and making another one retire.
I noted when incumbents find they are being targeted by their PAC, they proclaim outside interests are trying to effect their election. Curtis laughed and said "These politicians are funded by outside big money interests", when we enter a campaign we are the equalizers, not the outsiders". "We take some of the advantages away from an entrenched incumbent who has large campaign war chests, unlimited free mailing through franking privileges and other advantages they have titled in their favor".
Curtis noted that "the situation is so tilted in incumbents favor, that over the past few elections more incumbents died in office than were replaced in primaries, we aim to change that imbalance."
Although the original funding for the organization came mostly from the four founders, Curtis said: "The next financial report will show a huge influx of small donors of all political persuasions as word of our organizations work gets out to the American public."
Regardless of political party affiliation, it is obvious there is need for major change in the way things get done in Washington DC. Other movements have sprung up in frustration with the status quo in our capital, beginning with the Tea Party and more recently the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Curtis said "Campaign for Primary Accountability identifies with much of what the Tea Party has been trying to do and with some of the goals of OWS". "We feel we are the working families, we are the regular Americans who are not being heard anymore in Washington"....."We are the 99%."
Stay tuned as our political season heats up and regular America clamors to have it's voice heard, there is now a savvy, experienced and powerful organization who is trying to help. Eric O'Keefe plays a key role in the day to day operation and planning of this organization. With his great political experience, he is getting the American public involved in true activism at the grass roots level in order to make real change....And incumbent politicians better start listening