WASHINGTON – A strategist with MoveOn.org (search), a group that Republicans accuse of being too closely tied to Democrat John Kerry's presidential campaign, is leaving to work for Kerry.
Zack Exley (search) will be the Kerry campaign's director of online communications and organizing. He was the MoveOn political action committee's special projects director, focusing on research and mobilizing MoveOn supporters, Eli Pariser (search), the PAC's executive director, said Wednesday.
President Bush's campaign last week filed a government complaint accusing the Kerry campaign of illegally coordinating political ads and other election spending with MoveOn.org and other pro-Democratic groups. Kerry, MoveOn and the others named in the complaint deny any wrongdoing.
The Bush campaign contends the groups are spending "soft money" — corporate, union and unlimited donations — in the presidential race despite a broad ban on its use in federal elections.
At MoveOn's PAC, Exley worked with a branch of the group that spends limited individual donations, so-called "hard money" that is allowed in presidential races.
To guard against any risk or appearance of improper coordination between MoveOn and the Kerry campaign, steps are being taken to make sure Exley doesn't communicate with anyone at MoveOn until after the November election, Pariser said.
Exley's MoveOn laptop was returned to the group as soon as Exley decided to work for Kerry, Pariser said.
"He's not bringing any technology or any physical material to the Kerry campaign. It's just what he's got in his head about how we do online organization," Pariser said.