Our Revolution Resignations Smack of Sabotage


Our Revolution — the successor organization to Bernie Sanders’ historic 2016 campaign for the president — will launch on August 24 as over 2,300 house parties across the country tune into a livestreamed address by Sanders on the path forward for the political revolution he inspired. But the launch has been complicated by the resignation of staffers who objected to the appointment of long-time Sanders loyalist Jeff Weaver as president of Our Revolution.

Buzzfeed reports “as many as eight” out of 15 staffers have resigned including “the organization’s two senior political staffers, two other organizing staffers, one other digital staffer, and one data staffer.” According to a report by Politico, unnamed aggrieved staffers describe Weaver as “curt, dismissive, and overmatched” and quotes Claire Sandberg, digital organizing director for Sanders’ presidential campaign, who says:

“It’s about both the fund-raising and the spending: Jeff would like to take big money from rich people including billionaires and spend it on ads. That’s the opposite of what this campaign and this movement are supposed to be about and after being very firm and raising alarm the staff felt that we had no choice but to quit.”

This is a rather strange accusation to hurl since the Sanders campaign took money from “rich people including billionaires” and ad spending was the campaign’s single greatest expenditure. More than $92 million was spent on media or nearly 40% of the $236 million we raised was spent in one form or another on ads between buying airtime on commercial stations, paying consultant fees, and on digital media. Campaign spending runners up include air travel ($3.34 million), campaign paraphernalia ($6.56 million), payroll ($5.89 million), postage, printing, and mailing ($4.8 million), and site rentals ($1.7 million).

Far from being the ‘opposite’ of what the campaign was about, Sandberg’s claim makes it sounds like Jeff Weaver wants to basically continue what the campaign was doing but this time for down-ballot progressives. The notion that Our Revolution’s leadership board — made up of long-time Sanders loyalists Jeff Weaver, Jane Sanders, Shannon Jackson and Sanders himself who combined have spent several lifetimes successfully fighting for working and middle class people and against the influence of the billionaire class — suddenly and inexplicably want their money beggars belief. It’s far more likely that this is an ugly personality conflict full of hurt feelings and personal slights (real and imagined) that has been puffed up as a grand struggle over existential principles because the truth is too petty and embarrassing to admit publicly.

The timing of this mass resignation on the eve of Our Revolution’s launch also tells us something about the people who quit. It smacks of sabotage. This is not to suggest that any of the people who quit are conscious saboteurs motivated by malice, but it is hard to understand why these allegedly Weaver-driven resignations could not wait until after the Our Revolution launch event on August 24.


You know who else really hates Jeff Weaver? Debbie Wasserman-Schulz.

Needless drama aside, there are real issues that need to be addressed when it comes to Our Revolution’s status as a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) social welfare organization and the role Sanders hopes it will play in finding, vetting, training, and supporting progressive Democrats and independents to run for and win local and state offices. 501(c)(4) organizations are not under the jurisdiction of the Federal Election Commission. They can campaign for or against candidates so long as election campaigns are not the majority of their activity or do not account for 50% of their spending. They are allowed to lobby politicians and government. And they are not required by law to publicly disclose the identities of their contributors. There is no legal limit on how much a person or a corporation can donate to a 501(c)(4) like Our Revolution (the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizen’s United decision allowed 501(c)(4) organizations to accept corporate contributions).

Our Revolution could institute a voluntary ban on total donations of more than $2,700 per year per person and require donors to sign a disclosure agreement allowing their names to be published as part of the public record. Doing so would draw a stark contrast to the practices of right-wing 501(c)(4) groups funded by the Koch brothers and lay to rest bogus insinuations that it is paid for by the billionaires.


21 responses to “Our Revolution Resignations Smack of Sabotage

  1. Actually, I heard they quit not because Jeff Weaver was named head of the organization, but because HE wants to solicit billionaires for $$ so they can advertise on TV. Those that quit believed this goes against what they signed on for – and what the American people believed they will be supporting. I had hoped Bernie would talk about that – perhaps explain the reason why they feel it’s needed – but he didn’t. I get that mainstream media may hinder their message(s) if they don’t buy ad time – but at the same time, can they even get billionaire $$ without special favors??!


  2. An attempt to derail a growing Jill Stein campaign . It’s called Divide and conquer and has worked for centuries. Thanks Bernedict Arnold.


  3. You’re barking up the wrong tree here and it’s not helping anything. It feels like Clinton camp divisiveness. Don’t dismiss all this as needless drama when people have concerns, you are pushing people away with that. And why focus on just right-wing offenses in fundraising?


  4. What is the advantage of a 501C4 if federally elected officials, presumably Bernie Himself, cannot coordinate. We are told by staffers that quit what the downside is. WHAT IS the upside?


    • Being able to take in money when there aren’t elections and being able to spend money on things other than elections, like training candidates, organizers, and media spokespeople for example.


  5. Wow – have you been taking lessons from the Clinton team about blaming external conspiracy and sabotage for their own blunders?

    1. The people who quit had originally signed on to work on Our Revolution only after having received promises from Bernie, Jane, and Shannon that Weaver would not have a leadership role in Our Revolution. They didn’t approve of his leadership style and decisions during the campaign and wanted assurances that they would not have to deal with those issues in the new organization.

    2. They then put in the usual Herculean efforts getting the organization started because they felt able to believe in its purpose.

    3. After having thus personally committed to it they were told that the promises they had received were no longer operative (a truly unfortunate phrase to have to apply here), leaving them not only angry but feeling betrayed by people whose word they had trusted.

    4. But the transition could of course still have been smoothed simply by delaying Weaver’s ascension to the throne until after the launch. You’d have to ask Bernie why that did not occur (my own guess is that he’s still recovering from the effects of the last couple of months and not at his best right now, but that doesn’t mean that the responsibility for this debacle is anyone else’s and that they were somehow ‘sabotaging’ anything).

    5. Your attempt to deflect the accusation about taking “big money from rich people including billionaires” was especially ludicrous. Of course Bernie’s campaign took money from a modest number of rich people – up to the same $2700 dollar limit that everyone had to remain within. The issue here was taking BIG money, as a 501(c)(4) organization is allowed to do without even making the contributions public, rather than funding it the way the campaign was funded and which the staffers felt was critical to the revolution’s credibility.

    I’ve defended Bernie’s above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty pivot to whole-heartedly supporting Hillary as being what he had always and unambiguously stated he would do should she become the nominee and thus being a promise which he felt compelled to honor rather than being based upon other more crassly political motivations. Perhaps that makes me especially sensitive to this kind of perfidy on his part (and, as I said, I’m inclined to attribute it, and especially the way it was handled, to accumulated stress rather than anything darker). But it’s emphatically not OK to try to shift the blame here onto those whose trust was betrayed, regardless of how worthy you think the overall effort may be.


      • I’m glad that you took the post in the spirit that was intended: I get a bit hot under the collar when I think people are being unjustly accused in their absence (even people I don’t like, though that certainly wasn’t the case here), and since you’re very direct in presenting your own opinions I figured that I should be the same.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah – so your earlier content-free response was merely an attempt at humor which I gave you the benefit of the doubt and took literally. Got anything of actual substance to offer?


      • Well, wow again: if you’re actually laboring under the misapprehension that you were being accused of shilling for Hillary rather than of merely adopting that group’s tactics your reading comprehension needs a LOT of development.


      • Bill Todd just laid out a very reasonable retort to your original article, with some excellent points and you just skipped over all that and focussed on his only bit of sarcasm at the beginning as if it were literally true. You then completely ignored everything after that. This does not give strength to your original argument, and only serves his. Now that you’ve responded to Bill Todd’s one spiteful comment, try responding to the rest of it…


      • Already addressed in a subsequent post that published before BT’s first comment. When I linked him to said post, he responded with more snarky bile instead of addressing the substance of the post which dealt very directly with what he raised which tells me he’s a concern troll and not to be taken seriously.


  6. The opposition doesn’t have to do a damn thing. We eat each other alive on purity tests. I’ve listened to people turn on Bernie for not “fighting for us” against the election fraud. WTH? What I see is people who didn’t want to put in the extra effort to fight for him AND more importantly, to fight for themselves! Did they think Bernie could go to every county that screwed his voters out of their votes and learn whether it was under state law, or the county voter registrar’s office that audits needed to be done? Was he supposed to do that in every state in every county in every precinct? You want a REVOLUTION?!! Then fight for the votes that YOU and your teammates were robbed of. Yes, there are a few election justice groups making cases about a few egregious cases. You know who has actually WON something so far!? A feisty citizens’ activist group in CA called Citizens Oversight. They’ve developed snapshot audits to identify precincts where fraud likely occurred. They monitored whether the 1% audits by the counties were done correctly. They snuck around back and filmed county poll workers whiting out Bernie’s name off of ballots and took a picture of a shredding truck parked out back. This is in San Diego where the infamous Michael Vu, involved in the Ohio 2004 debacle headed up their elections. They filed suit in court and WON. There has to be another 1% audit, monitored and this group is calling for them in every frigging county in California!! THAT’s what a revolutionary act looks like. Unless people expected somehow that the elections wouldn’t be rigged again in November. And you know WHY the downballot races are so crucial? Because the GOP OWN so many state legislatures –legislatures which will mostly be in charge of redistricting AGAIN in 2020! Sorry some people’s feelings got hurt by someone’s management style. This is DEADLY serious business we are in!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here is the good news. This same group has online sessions free to anybody who wants to learn how to do these snapshot audits and what they’ve learned is effective. Even MORE ambitious, they have identified the 175 counties in the country that represent 80% of the votes. And yes, they are pretty much all large urban counties, with a lot of precincts. They were hoping to find some team leaders in each of those who can round up people who will do snapshot audits in the precincts to target those that show the most likely manipulation of votes. My guess is some of the politicos in those areas already know where to start. Surely there are election justice attorneys there and enough people willing to chip in towards legal expenses to file the same kinds of challenges in those counties. My guess is that some of the other attorneys and researchers like those at TrustVote, ElectionJusticeUSA, lulu Fries’dat and her team of statisticians have a good idea of where to focus first. There is another team leader wiki page that has been started on the CitizensOversight.org site to strategize with those semi-autonomous local teams to get the most they can in the next month. This really could be YUUUUGGGE. Imagine if all those counties end up showing enough fraud that the results are decertified!

      Also, my understanding is that the way Bernie left the convention, with an endorsement for Hillary but NOT putting her name in nomination, nor ceding his delegates–indeed leaves him as next in line to become the nominee, should she have to step down (or be forced to step down). The Party will not be able to just pick someone else and substitute them. I do not believe for one minute this man abandoned us, or was a plant–although I think the possibility of someone threatening harm to him or his family may have happened, since he had no Secret Service protection and he had a gash on his cheek the day his name and delegates were presented at the convention.

      But abandon us or these causes? No. I have watched him fight for us for over a quarter century, seen the C-Span tapes of him, sometimes being the only one left in the Senate Chambers, making sure that his case for us got read into the Congressional Record. Does he have a perfect voting record? No (Just ask Chris Hedges–he has a lion’s memory for every mistake a politician has ever made). But maybe, if we get our act together and actually occupy election justice we can clear a path still for him, or a closer one for Jill or certainly for the downballot candidates we so desperately need, particularly in the state legislatures before redistricting makes it even MORE impossible than it is now.

      Liked by 1 person

    • How would that work? (Serious question.)

      The notion that Our Revolution would go around promoting the billionaire class agenda of lower wages, low/zero taxes for the 1% and corporations, and cuts to social program is just ludicrous. I can’t believe so many people fell for this line of B.S. (B.S. doesn’t stand for Bernie Sanders either).


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