Club for Growth

Club for Growth (CFG) touts itself as the inheritor of Ronald Reagan's "vision of limited government and lower taxes" and it advances this anti-government vision through its support of political candidates who hew to its right-wing economic orthodoxy. The Culb for Growth has aggressively opposed several moderate Republicans often to the consternation of GOP political leaders.

Club for Growth
1776 K Street NW Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
Website: www.clubforgrowth.org

Established: Club for Growth (CFG) was founded in 1999.
President/CEO: Pat Toomey (former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 15th District)
Founder: Stephen "Steve" Moore
Executive Director: David Keating
Board Members: CFG President Pat Toomey, Vice President Chuck Pike, Richard Gilder, formerly Chairman of the Manhattan Institute, and Thomas Rhodes, President of National Review magazine, associated with a variety of right-wing organizations, including the Heritage Foundation.
Finances: CFG raised $9.2 million for its activities during the 2002 election cycle.
Affiliations: CFG has spun off at least one local chapter, the Virginia Club for Growth. Virginia CFG's president and founder is Peter Ferrara, the former general counsel and chief economist for Americans for Tax Reform.

Read the latest news on the Club for Growth on the group's Right Wing Watch index page

Activities

  • Main agenda is promoting tax cuts and drastically reducing the size of the federal government.
  • Club for Growth PAC patterns itself after EMILY's List, a progressive group that raises campaign funds for pro-choice women. CFG encourages donors to mail in checks for favored candidates. By "bundling" these checks and sending them off to candidates, CFG can have a large impact on individual races while avoiding the rules that govern more traditional political action committees.
  • CFG has more than 9,000 members, dominated by Wall Street financiers and executives.
  • CFG's ex-president and founder Steve Moore has called for closing several government departments, including Education, Commerce, Labor and Agriculture. As always, CFG isn't afraid to take on Republicans who disagree with its policy goals.
  • One of CFG's targets in 2004 was Sen. John McCain, (R-Arizona) an opponent of some of President Bush's latest tax cut proposals. According to Moore, CFG members "loathe" McCain and hoped to find "a true, Reagan conservative" to face him in the 2004 primary.
  • During the 2004 Presidential election, CFG launched a $1 million, 30-second television commercial depicting Democratic candidate John Kerry as a spinning weather vane for his stance on a variety of issues.
  • CFG's PAC gave $215,634 to GOP candidates in 2004.
  • Following the 2004 election, Club for Growth hired its first lobbyist in an effort to increase their influence on Capitol Hill.


 

Finances

Club for Growth is comprised of two connected entities:

  • First, CFG is a "527" organization, which is allowed to collect unlimited contributions without disclosing donors' names, and to run "issue ad" campaigns during elections. These ads do not directly call for the election or defeat of a candidate, and "527" groups do not have to disclose donors' identity or reveal its activities to the IRS or the FEC.
  • Second, it is a political action committee (PAC), and organization capable of giving limited donations directly to campaigns and is regulated by the FEC.

Given the fact that contributions are unlimited, the spending by the "527" is far larger than that of the PAC, though specific finances are hard to trace. However, in total, CFG raised $9.2 million for its activities during the 2002 election cycle.

About Founder Steve Moore

  • Stephen Moore is currently an editor and contributor to the National Review, and an economics correspondent for Human Events. He is also President of the Free Enterprise Fund
  • Before founding the Club for Growth, Moore was the director of fiscal policy studies at the Cato Institute, and has stayed on as a senior fellow.
  • Moore has also served at the Heritage Foundation and as committee staff to former Rep. Dick Armey, now co-chair of FreedomWorks.
  • In December of 2004 then-CFG President Steve Moore left his position after accusations that he, and/or members of his new organization, the Free Enterprise Fund, had taken CFG's donor and mailing lists. Though there were threats of legal action, no more came of the accusations.


 

Quotes about Club for Growth

"It's unfortunate that they keep going after moderate Republicans. We thought it was time to stop them."
–Sarah Chamberlain Resnick, Republican Main Street Partnership

Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-PA) calls Club for Growth "cannibals" for its attacks on moderate Republicans.
Wall Street Journal, 3/16/2000

"[Moore] is the E.F. Hutton of economic growth. When he talks, conservatives listen."
–U.S. Rep. Rick Keller (R-FL), who CFG supported in his first campaign in 2000

"When you have 100 percent of Republicans voting for the Bush tax cut, you know that they're looking over their shoulder and not wanting to have Steve Moore recruiting candidates in their district."
–U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who CFG supported in 2000

Quotes from Club for Growth

"We want to be seen as the tax-cut enforcer in the [Republican] party."
– Stephen Moore, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6/20/2001

"I can say this because I'm not an elected official: the most selfish group in America today is senior citizens. Their demands on Washington are: 'Give us more and more and more.' They have become the new welfare state, and given the size and political clout of this constituency, it's very dangerous. One of the biggest myths in politics today is this idea that grandparents care about their grandkids. What they really care about is that that Social Security check and those Medicare payments are made on a timely basis."
Stephen Moore

"We're trying to let candidates know that if they ever voted for a tax increase, we'll never support them and in fact we'll work to defeat them. We're trying to get the word out to even the lowest grass-roots level that if you're a Republican you aren't allowed to vote for taxes."
Stephen Moore

"Reagan's third term has arrived."
Stephen Moore on President George W. Bush


Updated: August 2008

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Organizations:

Club for Growth