The Mandarin Oriental plays host to the Democracy Alliance today, the gathering of philanthropic Democrats whose pooled money helped to catalyze the party's recent renaissance. The members of the Alliance, all wealthy donors, will hear from organizations and individuals who want their money. Tonight, they'll also hear from Jim Messina, the White House deputy chief of staff.
The Alliance has survived its growing pains and a critical but sympathetic book by Matt Bai. It's under new management but many of its members have taken financial hits as of late, and many others are reluctant to shower organizations with seed money given that Democrats are in the majority. It has dispensed more than $60 million since its 2005 founding.
Among the DA's success stories: it has contributed to CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which has used its money to harass Democrats and Republicans with ethics issues and whose investigation of contractors in Afghanistan have led to a review of State Department policies. (Correction: This was the Project On Government Oversight, not CREW.) Media Matters, a liberal press watchdog group, is bigger today than it was before the election. DA also helped fund the Center for American Progress, the uber-progressive think and action tank. Membership costs $55,000 for the first year and at least $30,000 per year after that.
A variety of supplicants, including Catalist, the Democratic data group, will make presentations to the DA.
Many DA donors supported Barack Obamas presidential campaign; others are die-hard fans of Hillary Clinton. The DA was founded by Robert Stein, a former Clinton administration official.
A White House spokesperson did not return an e-mail seeking comment on Messina's speech.
Marc Ambinder is a senior fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.