Questions & Answers
About Justice Democrats
Why “Democrats”? Why not just start a new party?
The two-party paradigm is the model for our country’s current political system. While we agree with and often champion many third-party candidates and movements, the reality is that right now it is next to impossible for a third-party candidate to win a national election.
We want our democracy to work for Americans again as soon as possible. The best way to do this is by working to change the Democratic party from the inside out. In the future, when we’ve established a progressive congress, Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress intend to work to change the two-party system and our election system as a whole.
How are you different from these other Democratic groups such as Brand New Congress and Our Revolution?
We are thrilled that so many new organizations have come forward to enact change. Some groups, such as Our Revolution are focusing on local and state elections. Justice Democrats together with partner Brand New Congress, are focused solely on the congressional races for 2018.
Who is running Justice Democrats? Who are the major players?
Justice Democrats was created by Cenk Uygur, CEO of The Young Turks, Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk and Zack Exley and Saikat Chakrabarti. Zack and Saikat are former Bernie Sanders campaign staffers and current members of the Brand New Congress team.
What is the relationship between Justice Democrats and The Young Turks?
The CEO of The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur is one of the founders of Justice Democrats. The Young Turks Network has been calling for a truly progressive Democratic party for several years. Justice Democrats was founded with a practical mission to rebuild the Democratic party and run corruption-free Democratic congressional campaigns that lead to a progressive and un-bought congress in 2018. Donations given to Justice Democrats are entirely separate from any other funding raised by The Young Turks and will be strictly used toward the Justice Democrats mission.
What is the relationship between Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress?
Electing hundreds of candidates to rebuild a broken Democratic Party is not a small task. If we want to pull the party away from corporate control, we need allies -- as many as we can get.
That's why we were excited to team up with Brand New Congress -- a project to recruit, vet and run hundreds of people-powered candidates in 2018. Where we share common ground, we'll work together on recruiting, vetting, and supporting strong progressive candidates for Congress.
About the Candidates
Who will the candidates be?
Please check out the detailed description of who we are looking for at the top of our candidate nomination form. To help us find the right candidates, we need you to submit nominations of candidates in your district!.
What about good candidates already in Congress? Are you going to run against them?
We won’t run against candidates that fully support the Justice Democrats platform. We believe many current members of Congress will support this plan, and we expect that as the campaign becomes stronger, more and more members of Congress will endorse our platform.
What is your platform? What do you stand for?
See our platform here. Justice Democrats candidates will be committed 100% to this vision.
How is Justice Democrats legally structured?
Justice Democrats is a federal political action committee. We are required to be a PAC to accept donations and spend money toward electing federal candidates. PACs have a maximum contribution limit of $5,000 and must report all donations and expenditures. This is not a SuperPAC, but a plain old regular PAC. You can learn more about PACs at http://fec.gov. The PAC uses donation money to hire staff that recruits and trains candidates, runs all Justice Democrats social media, send e-mails to the Justice Democrats e-mail list, manage the Justice Democrats website, answer all incoming e-mails to our help desk, create videos and other design assets that are used to promote Justice Democrats policies and candidates, handle inbound and outbound press communications, and also any other work involved with promoting Justice Democrats candidates as well as Justice Democrats issues. In addition to simply promoting candidates, Justice Democrats PAC also promotes issues. Justice Democrats PAC has a board consisting of Kyle Kulinski, Zack Exley and Cenk Uygur that has legal control over the entity and the executive director of Justice Democrats is Saikat Chakrabarti. None of these people take any compensation from Justice Democrats.
There is a second legal entity that is an LLC called Brand New Congress, LLC. This LLC gets hired by candidates and by the PAC to actually run campaigns for the candidates and do the work described above for the PAC. We created this LLC for two reasons: 1) The goal of Justice Democrats is to recruit and run non-career politicians, so most of them do not know where to look or how to get started with a campaign -- so this LLC gives our candidates a way to get running with a full campaign as soon as possible and 2) One reason to run a big single, unified campaign is to be able to take advantage of various economies of scale, and so having the campaigns run through Brand New Congress LLC lets us take advantage of these economies of scale. So, Brand New Congress LLC acts as the central campaign for the Justice Democrats candidates. This is a central innovation of Justice Democrats -- mass, small-dollar based fundraising from hundreds of thousands of supporters plus knowledgeable staff ready to run a campaign plus economies of scale from dozens of campaigns lets a completely new candidate set up a competitive campaign immediately.
The reason we created this entity as an LLC is that the law does not allow tax exempt non-profits like 501c3s, c4s or PACs to exist primarily to provide services to campaigns. It's important to note that this LLC has no goal of running as a profit-making machine (its operating agreement in fact states that it exists not to make a profit, but solely to support a new generation of leaders running for office). Saikat Chakrabarti is the owner of Brand New Congress, LLC, and works as a volunteer taking no compensation for any of his work on either the PAC or the LLC. It's also important to note that Justice Democrats candidates do not have any requirement to hire Brand New Congress LLC -- the LLC exists as a convenience to get completely new candidates up and running as soon as possible and take advantage of the economies of scale that come from running multiple campaigns.
Do you have a dollar amount cap on donations from any one individual?
Yes, it is the federal limit of $5,000.
Do you accept Dark Money? Will you be disclosing all donations?
Our designation as a Federal PAC does not allow us to receive anonymous or unlimited donations. Not only are we required by law to disclose all donors, but our platform is fundamentally opposed to corporate influence in American elections and pay-to-play politics in any form.
Who are the major funders?
The American people, with an average donation of $18.
Will The Young Turks receive any percentage of Justice Democrats donations?
No, 100% of donations will be used to build and run congressional campaigns.
Where can I go to see a list of your donors?
The Federal Election Commission posts all campaign filings publicly so you will be able (after the first filing is made) to review donor information here.
I don’t have a lot of money. Can I volunteer my time instead?
Where can I buy merchandise to show my support?
You can visit our store here
I’m under 18 - can I join/donate? Can I help in other ways?
Thanks for your enthusiasm! You can’t donate quite yet, but you can volunteer your time! We are most in need of your help spreading our message on the ground and getting more nominations into our nomination pipeline.
I’m not a US citizen, can I join/donate? Can I help in other ways?
If you are not a citizen or if you are an expat, unfortunately you cannot donate. You can, however, volunteer your time. People overseas often make great HelpDeskers or Candidate Hunters.
I’m currently-enlisted military - can I join/donate? Can I help in other ways?
Yes, you can! Members of the Armed Forces on active duty may join political groups, sign petitions, donate to candidates and groups, use bumper stickers and help with voting assistance programs. Read the full ethics regulations here.
I have an issue I’d like to see addressed in the Justice Democrats Platform. Can I make a suggestion?
The Justice Democrats platform is a dynamic document. We welcome suggestions.