The grassroots group Organizing for Action, the successor to President Barack Obama's campaign organization, reported Friday it almost doubled the amount of money it brought in during the second quarter of this year compared to the preceding three months.
OFA, a nonprofit, is a private advocacy group formed following the 2012 election to push the policy priorities of the White House. It has access to the Obama re-election campaign's list of supporters. Several former officials from the campaign now work with OFA.
An official with the group said it brought in $8.2 million between April and June - compared to $4.89 million from January through March - bringing its total raised to $13.1 million. The official also said it now has almost 238,000 donors.
"In just our second quarter, OFA more than doubled the number of donors have stepped up and taken ownership of the future of this organization. Ninety-eight percent of OFA's contributors have been from small donor donations with an average contribution of $55 making this truly a grassroots funded organization," the official said.
The group helped build its list of backers by sponsoring a contest in which three of its supporters and guests will be flown to meet Obama at an event.
"One of them could be you - all you have to do is add your name today to be entered for the chance to be there. Meeting President Obama backstage is an opportunity you definitely don't want to miss out on," read the email to supporters. A donation was not required to enter.
The group, which has come under criticism for not publicizing a lot of information about its donors, did put on its website a list of all supporters who contributed at least $250 and their home cities. The group also emphasizes it does not accept contributions from lobbyists or corporations.
Some of the biggest donors this past quarter included: Fred Eychaner, president of Newsweb Corporation, and David Shaw, co-founder of the global investment firm D. E. Shaw, each of whom gave $500,000.
How much influence OFA can have is still a major question as it figures out exactly how to maximize the use of its list of supporters. It sponsored a host of of activities around the effort in the Senate to pass a bipartisan measure to expand background checks on gun sales, but that measure was defeated in April.
After that vote, the organization put up online ads to keep the pressure on a group of senators who voted against it, including Republicans Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Dean Heller of Nevada, Rob Portman of Ohio and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. It also has sponsored events to build support for immigration reform and is airing a series of television ads this summer touting the benefits of Obamacare.
Later this month OFA will hold what it is calling an "action August" summit in Washington to plan its activities during the August congressional recess. Obama will speak to the group as well as talk with activists and leaders from the organization.