Democracy for America on track to shut down

Last updated on December 13, 2022

Democracy for America, a liberal group founded by former presidential candidate Howard Dean, is planning to shut down unless a last-minute savior comes through, according to three people familiar with the plans.

The organization notified remaining employees that their last day will be Thursday, the people said. A number of the 13 to 15 employees on the organization’s payroll in early November had already been laid off in recent weeks. While the people said the PAC was planning to shut down, it is unclear whether the nonprofit 501(c)(4) will be affected.

Yvette Simpson, the most recent CEO of Democracy for America, announced on Twitter last week that she was resigning. She did not detail her reason for leaving, instead touting the group’s work in recent elections.

“In 2020, we were able to help our movement and our nation send Donald Trump packing,” she wrote, “and this past cycle, we stopped a red wave and protected democracy, dealing a strong blow to election deniers across the country.”

She said it was “time to turn the page” in her career.

The organization started in its current form after Dean’s unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign, and throughout its history it helped elect more than 1,000 progressive candidates and raised $70 million dollars since it started. In recent years, it focused on structural democracy reform, ranked choice voting, student debt relief and Medicare for All.

Democracy for America endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 2016 presidential primary. Before backing him, it helped organize an unsuccessful campaign to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) into the race.

The group also supported Sanders’ run in 2020.

In the last couple weeks, there was talk within Democracy for America about finding a way to stay open, but it has not borne fruit so far, the three people familiar with the plans said.