Liberal advocacy group MoveOn is considering withholding support for any candidate who raises cash from police officers, which could deny key resources to Democratic campaigns in the run-up to November.
The liberal group, which has pledged to spend $20 million to block President Trump and Senate Republicans’ reelection in 2020, is now taking aim at Democrats who do not side with the Black Lives Matter movement.
MoveOn’s “No Cash for Cops” campaign directs all candidates running in 2020 to reject donations from the Fraternal Order of Police and redirect or reinvest any funding the candidates have already collected from police associations. Failure to reject the police will result in ostracization from the liberal group and its network of activists and donors.
“Along with their direct interventions in cases of police violence, each election cycle, police associations donate generously to candidates across the country, all the way from the president to local city council seats. A large portion of that money is given to Democrats,” wrote Rahna Epting, MoveOn Political Action director, in an open letter to candidates running in 2020. “Senators Amy Klobuchar and Chris Coons and [House] Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are just a few of the high-profile Democrats whose campaigns or affiliated PACs have accepted money from police associations. It’s time to get that money and influence out of our politics.”
MoveOn’s activist network saw a surge in support earlier this year when the coronavirus crisis obstructed typical in-person and door-to-door campaigning. Between March 1 and April 9, MoveOn said it gained more than 1 million new members and said it saw more advocacy on its platforms than in several previous years.
To strip police donations from Democrats, MoveOn said it intends to run paid ads, have its activists make constituent calls, and engage in other unspecified tactics to apply pressure as well.
The Fraternal Order of Police declined to comment on MoveOn’s campaign.
In response to questions about MoveOn’s criticism, Mr. Hoyer’s spokesperson indicated that the congressman would not be intimidated by political activists.
“Mr. Hoyer votes his conscience and his district and his record makes it clear political contributions do not impact his decision to support or oppose legislation,” said Mariel Saez, spokesperson for Mr. Hoyer, in an email. “He believes there is a great deal to be done to address systemic racism, including comprehensive police reform and accountability, and looks forward to bringing the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act to the House Floor for consideration this week.”
Representatives for Ms. Klobuchar and Mr. Coons did not immediately respond to requests for comment.