Moveon.org is an American progressive political and organizing effort, based on two groups, MoveOn.org Civic Action, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, formerly known just as MoveOn.org, primarily focuses on education and advocacy. MoveOn.org Political Action, a federal PAC, formerly known as MoveOn PAC and growing from a peace group, helps elect candidates.
MoveOn.org Civic Action was started, in 1998, by Joan Blades and Wes Boyd, two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. They were frustrated with partisanship at the time of the Bill Clinton impeachment. The name comes from a phrase first used by Jerry Brady and Marty Trillhaase of the Idaho Falls Post Register, "The government of this nation -- and its ability to serve the best interests of the people -- has been damaged. It's time to move on." The phrase was often reused by the Clinton White House.
MoveOn Peace campaign was founded independently, in 2001, by Eli Pariser, a Maine native and recent graduate of Simon's Rock College of Bard. The peace group was a response to the 9/11 Attacks, "calling for a restrained and multi-lateral response to the attacks". He joined forces with MoveOn soon afterward, and is now MoveOn.org Political Action’s Executive Director.
While the organization emphasizes support from individuals, it has received funding from the Tides Foundation, the Shefa Fund, the Stern Family Fund, the Steven and Michelle Kirsch Foundation, the Compton Foundation, and George Soros's Open Society Institute. Following a September 17, 2003 meeting between Soros and Boyd in New York, Soros and his associates gave nearly $6.2 million to MoveOn over a period of six months. The contributions included $2.5 million from George Soros personally; $2.5 million from Peter B. Lewis of Progressive Insurance; $971,427 from Stephen Bing of Shangri-La Entertainment; $100,000 from Benson & Hedges tobacco heir Lewis Cullman; and $101,000 from Soros' son Jonathan Soros.
In 2002 and 2003, MoveOn.org Civic Action conducted a campaign to stop the Iraq War, as well as campaigns to keep the federal courts moderate, support campaign finance reform, oppose the repeal of the estate tax, and reduce America’s dependence on oil.
Its members voted for the following priorities in 2009:
- Universal health care (64.9%)
- Economic recovery and job creation (62.1%)
- Build a green economy, stop climate change (49.6%)
- End the war in Iraq (48.3%)
- Improve public schools (21.6%)
- Restore civil liberties (16.8%)
- Hold the Bush Administration accountable (15.2%)
- Gay rights/LGBT equality (8.6%)
- Increase access to higher education (7.6%)
- Reform campaigns and elections (5.7%)
MoveOn combined its membership list with that of Res publica (New York City) to launch Avaaz.org. While MoveOn remains fully active, Avaaz.org and other spinoffs seem to have replaced the focus of Res Publica.
In 2004, the group published a controversial advertisement, asking if General David Petraeus was "General Betray Us."  In an explanation, it said that it concentrated on him, rather than the George W. Bush Administration, because "President Bush’s credibility is almost gone. That’s why he’s remained in the background this week, and relied on General Petraeus to deliver the message that things are getting better. This works as long as people in Washington are afraid to question the General’s credibility."
MoveOn told Democratic Representatives who considered voting against the March 2010 health care reform bill that they would contribute to the primary opponents of those voting "no". According to the Huffington Post, "The group feels that some votes are explainable, if not permissible. But they will look at those lawmakers who live in either traditionally Democratic districts -- or ones with an active MoveOn presence -- and still opposed reform. MoveOn already did a similar campaign with the Senate and has been buoyed by the entrance of Lt. Gov. Bill Halter into the Arkansas Democratic primary."