Focus on the Family founder James Dobson’s political group, Focus on the Family Action, raised nearly $9 million in its first six months of existence, public records show.
Dobson founded the group as a 501(c)(4) organization in April of 2004. The Denver Post reported that by September of that year, the group had raised $8.8 million.
The newspaper found that 152 donors gave $5,000 or more, for a total of $2.4 million. The largest contribution from an individual was $150,000, but most contributions, the report noted, were modest. All came from individuals.
“Obviously we tapped into a vein of deep concern,” Tom Minnery, vice president of public policy for Focus Action, told the Post.
FOF Action used the money in part to place newspaper ads critical of Democratic senators who refused to support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. One of its targets, former Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, was\n defeated in a close election in November.
Most recently, the group spent $1.2 million on a campaign urging an end to Democratic filibusters of a handful of President George W. Bush’s federal court nominees.
This year, Minnery said, FOF Action will continue to press for passage of the anti-gay marriage amendment and will lay the groundwork for the battle that is expected when openings occur on the Supreme Court. Minnery would not tell the newspaper what the group’s budget is for 2005.
One U.S. senator who has been feeling the heat from FOF Action has already caved in. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) had been under criticism by Dobson for refusing\n to support the Federal Marriage Amendment. In June, Nelson informed Dobson that he has changed his mind and will vote for the constitutional alteration.
Nelson also promised Dobson during a phone call that he will not support filibusters against any of Bush’s court nominees except for one nominee, Henry Saad. In return, Dobson issued a statement praising Nelson that said in part, “The Senator now joins millions of Americans who recognize the threat posed by arrogant and activist judges who would deprive the people of their right to govern themselves.”
Nelson subsequently voted for Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor, two\n of Bush’s most extreme judicial nominees.