Hillary Clinton is returning to politics far from the national stage she exited in November 2016 but close to the issues she left behind – backing grassroots groups intent on thwarting President Trump's agenda while championing women and minority causes.
Clinton announced earlier this week that her new political action committee, Onward Together, will fundraise for such groups as Color of Change, dedicated to improving the lives of black Americans, and the Indivisible Project, whose stated mission is to “Resist Trump’s Agenda.”
The latter group tells newcomers that their first tasks should include learning their congressional representatives’ stances on the “appointment of white supremacists, tax cuts for the rich, etc.”
The organization may keep its distance from Clinton's new operation. The Indivisible Project reportedly is not planning to take the PAC money.
But others are.
“We’re thrilled to have Secretary Clinton’s support,” Emerge America spokeswoman Allison Abney told Fox News on Tuesday. “This is really about getting women to run. If you’re not running, then you’re not winning.”
Emerge America, which trains female Democratic candidates, was among several groups that got a Clinton shout-out when the 2016 Democratic nominee announced her PAC on Monday.
The group says 70 percent of its 214 candidates won races last November, and touts 151 candidates for next year’s midterm ballots.
On Twitter, Clinton praised Emerge America for "training diverse Democratic women candidates" and hinted there would be more groups to come that could benefit from her PAC's largess.
"Those are just a few of the groups Onward Together will support, working with @GovHowardDean and others—stay tuned for more to come," she wrote.
Onward Together is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(4) group -- the kind of “dark money” groups Clinton and other candidates vowed during the 2016 White House race to remove from campaigns because they can hide the identity of donors.
Clinton, a former senator and secretary of State, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have for decades had enormous fundraising power.
Whether the Clinton name can continue to make it rain for allied groups, however, remains an open question.
“The Clintons have a long history of successful fundraising for nonprofit organizations that bore some relation to their government service,” attorney Caleb Burns, a partner at the firm Wiley Rein who specializes in campaign finance, told Fox News on Wednesday. “The fact that future government service for either of them is likely foreclosed suggests that fundraising for this new effort will be a challenge.”
The other groups to which Clinton pledged support are RunforSomething.com, which is recruiting young “progressive” Americans to run for office, and SwingLeft.com, dedicated to helping Democrats retake the House next year by winning “swing” districts that Republicans narrowly won last year.
Jennifer Victor, a politics professor at Virginia’s George Mason University, argues Clinton still has fundraising power, despite being “less powerful than she was a year” ago and “damaged goods” to those who think she botched her campaign.
“She’s still incredibly famous,” Victor said Wednesday. “And there’s a lot of energy out there for women candidates and from those opposed to Trump. Who better to lead the charge than Hillary Clinton?”