VI. History and Incorporation of Billionaires for Bush
Founded during the 2000 Presidential election, Billionaires for Bush (B4B) was designed to be a strategic, grassroots media campaign that spreads like a virus. With support from United for a Fair Economy in Boston, the Billionaires created a stylish logo, slogans like "Free the Forbes 400," "Corporations are People Too," and "We're paying for America's free elections so you don't have to," along with bumper stickers, buttons, a series of posters and an award-winning Web site.
The Billionaires paired these materials with an on-line organizing kit similar to this one. On-the-ground organizing was leveraged with the development of mock radio ads that were distributed to 100 stations around the country. In short order the viral organizing model took off, and wildcat chapters sprung up in 55 cities across the country.
Below are some highlights of Billionaire accomplishments to date:
In 2003, Billionaires for Bush incorporated as Billionaires, Inc., a non-profit, non-partisan corporation, organized under Section 527 of the I.R.S. tax code. Contributions to Billionaires, Inc. (or to "Billionaires for Bush") are not tax-deductible as charitable contributions and are part of the public record. There is no limit on the amount an individual can contribute to Billionaires, Inc. Billionaires, Inc. will not accept contributions from candidates or candidate committees.
- A poll of photojournalists in 2000 voted the Billionaires their "favorite protest."
- Traffic on the award-winning Billionaires Web site reached 200,000 hits per day in the months preceding the 2000 election.
- During the 2000 Republican convention, hordes of Billionaires staged a ""Million Billionaire March" and a "Vigil for Corporate Welfare" where they auctioned off merchandising rights to the Liberty Bell (would it become the Taco Bell Liberty Bell or the Ma Bell Liberty Bell...?)
- At the 2000 Democratic convention in Los Angeles, the highly visible Billionaires presence included a marching band and a choir.
- Sister campaigns arose, such as Billionaires for More Media Mergers, which protested growing media concentration at the National Association of Broadcasters in San Francisco, and Billionaires for Unlimited Inheritance who called for the repeal of the Estate Tax.
- Penetration of corporate mass media is key to the Billionaires' success. The 2000 campaign appeared in Time Magazine and major dailies with Billionaire characters Phil T. Rich and Millie O'Naire becoming hits on the radio interview circuit.
- In late 2003, one of B4B's professional-quality TV spots, Leave No Billionaire Behind, was chosen as one of the 15 finalists in MoveOn.org's "Bush in 30 Seconds" contest.
- The 2004 B4B campaign has hit the ground running: with a new award-winning (again) Web site; high-quality campaign materials; a full-time New Hampshire coordinator who organized "Rallies for the Really Rich" around that state's primary; a talented creative team of award-winning artists, media producers, humorists and tech experts; and a sold-out campaign launch party in New York City.
- B4B 2004 has already been featured on CBS Evening News, Night-line, The New York Times and in major New Hampshire dailies.
Creation of this Do it Yourself Kit is paid for by Billionaires, Inc., and is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
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