National Committee for an Effective Congress

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National Committee for an Effective Congress
Ncec logo.jpg
Website www.ncec.org
Founded 1948, by Eleanor Roosevelt
Headquarters Washington, DC , United States

The National Committee for an Effective Congress is an interest group formed in 1948 by Eleanor Roosevelt. Its goal is to raise money to elect liberal or progressive people to Congress.

History

Founded in 1948, its to help liberal potential Congresspeople to be actually elected to the United States Congress. Their beliefs include freedom of choice in abortion cases, separation of church and state, gun control, equal rights for everyone, and environmental protection. Their ideal candidate is defined as "progressive." They do not usually support those who are conservative or have different beliefs.

According to NovelGuide, "During the late 1940s and early 1950s, the NCEC was an important part of a bipartisan coalition to fight Senator Joseph McCarthy and the anti-communist hysteria he unleashed in the United States. When the Senate finally voted to censure McCarthy for misconduct in 1954, both McCarthy and the press said NCEC was responsible for the vote. Its work exposing Senator McCarthy solidified the group's reputation as an opponent of the radical right in American politics. In later years, it would combat other right wing groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, the John Birch Society, and the Moral Majority." [1]

Founding

Eleanor Roosevelt and her friends wanted to make a change within Congress. They wanted to be able to make potential Congressional people be able to afford the election. They found contributors from across the United States and were able to donate money to those interested in running for office.

Eleanor Roosevelt and her friends eventually came up with the idea for forming a group that would help achieve their goal of electing more liberal people to Congress. The NCEC was founded in New York on September 23, 1948. It was organized as a political committee. Their group was formed to support candidates to run for Congress, as long as they were also liberal.

According to Sidney H. Scheuer, former NCEC chairman, the NCEC "went through various changes and established an advisory board in October of 1949. Since then, the NCEC has been effective with their goals. [2] The NCEC generally has liberal people now, but they do allow conservative views to be heard in their organization.

Along with Eleanor Roosevelt, the NCEC was created with the help of Senator Harley M. Kilgore from Virginia, James Roosevelt and Maurice Rosenblatt, who was a writer for a newspaper. Henry J. Kaiser, the creator of the League for Franchise Education, which helped educate people to vote, helped these men teach people how to vote. The committee initially raised campaign funds and gave them to the candidates they thought were the most promising to remain liberal and make choices that would benefit their particular views. [3]

During the National Committee for an Effective Congress's first four elections, they gave money to male candidates who met their three point test of qualifications. No other information is available about their three point test of qualifications, but they needed to support the NCEC's ideal views in order to be supported [4]

Current objectives and activities

The NCEC advises candidates on all aspects of campaigning. They worked closely with members of the Democrat party and through this, accomplished one of their biggest successes. One of the biggest achievements of the NCEC happened in 2000, when they were able to redraw/redistrict groups, and this allowed the NCEC to get more of their potential candidates elected. [5]

The NCEC exists now to get liberal opinions elected. They currently make monetary contributions to potential candidates. They also assist with polling, computerized precinct targeting, and media expertise. [6]

Candidates mainly helped by the NCEC were described as responsive and humane. The goal of the NCEC is to attempt to elect those who will give the people a liberal voice. They do not support the conservative side of politics. The NCEC describes them as being reactionary and obstructionalists. NCEC has given its funds to certain groups such as the Ralph Nader Congress Project. Despite the fact that they are not a lobbyist group, they tried to cut off money for the Vietnam War. They do not support wars and will not attempt to elect those who believe in war. They attempt to elect liberals by giving them money and other useful services. The NCEC does polling, precinct targeting to see who may vote for them, and attempt to use public relations to get the candidates' names out to the public.

One senator affected by the NCEC, Senator Church, said, "The work of NCEC constitutes one of the finest expressions of democratic principles in our public life today."

The National Committee for an Effective Congress also does research on various items pertaining to Congress. One of the projects they have recently worked on is the projection of the election of Senators in 2010, as seen below. This listing shows the top ten candidates who may be elected to the United States Senate, where they are from, and which party they may represent. As noted, some candidates generally represent a single party, while others tend to vote either way, depending on the issue. The NCEC supports these candidates through monetary donations and campaigning. [7]

Senate Top 10

State .... National Committee for an Effective CongressOutlook

California Barbara Boxer ...Leans Democrat

Colorado Michael Bennet ...Toss up

Delaware Thomas Kaufman ...no information available

Florida Mel Martinez (Open) ...Leans Republican

Illinois Roland Burris ...Toss up

Kentucky Jim Bunning ...Leans Republican

Missouri Kit Bond (Open) ...Toss-up

New Hampshire Judd Gregg (Open) ...Toss up

Ohio George Voinovich (Open) ...Toss up

Pennsylvania Arlen Specter ...Leans Republican


The contact information for the National Committee for an Effective Congress is:

ADDRESS: 122 C St. NW Washington, DC 20001

PHONE: (212) 686-4905

TOLL FREE: (800) 547-5911

E-MAIL: info@ncec.org

URL: http://www.ncec.org

NATIONAL DIRECTOR: Russell Hemenway

Organizational structure

The NCEC's leadership has always been strong. According to the NCEC, Sidney H. Scheuer was the chairman of the committee for many years starting in the 1950s [8] He is no longer on the committee, but is notable for being the chairman of the committee.

There are 14 people actually employed by the National Committee for an Effective Congress. There are about 60,000 members of the NCEC [9]

The NCEC's leadership is comprised of a chairman of the committee and various leadership positions. The NCEC is headed by a board of directors. The size of the board varies, but it may have as many as 50 members at any particular time. The board is appointed by the national director and its primary responsibility is to evaluate candidates for seats in Congress and to give them the NCEC's endorsement.

There are offices located in Washington, D.C., and New York City.

The Washington, D.C. office is headed by the NCEC director. The director, who is selected by the national director and approved by the board of directors, is responsible for maintaining the NCEC's comprehensive databases of congressional and electoral information. The director also serves as a liaison between the organization and Congress [10]

Most of the NCEC's staff are based in Washington, however there is a staff located in New York City. The group's national director oversees the New York office and is responsible for coordinating the NCEC's fundraising efforts. The national director is also the primary contact between the NCEC and its members.

Membership is open to anyone, but most people involved with the NCEC are residents in Washington State, Oregon, and California.

Achievements

According to the Congressional Quarterly, "of the seven liberal fund-raising groups...surveyed for 1972, the National Committee for an Effective Congress was the largest fund-raiser and contributor to candidates..." [11]

The liberal Congressmen and Senators have had many successes with various implementations of public policies, including foreign policy. This is important, especially in today's world, with all of the conflicts within the Middle East.

The NCEC is especially effective within their own mission. They have successfully elected many liberal people to Congress. This is especially successful due to the fact that the NCEC does not represent a single part of the United States. They will attempt to elect anyone from anywhere if they feel that they will be supported by the majority of Americans.

Only .5 of 1% of all Americans donate money to political candidates. Of those who do contribute, 85 percent are white males who earn $100,000 a year or more. The NCEC's budget is approximately 2 million. They receive almost all of their money from their members. Other money is earned by selling information to the DCCC]. They do not receive any foundation contributions or grants, because they are a political organization. Their $2 million budget shows that they have a lot of support from their members.

Public perception and controversies

According to former Representative Gladys Spellman of Maryland, "It would be folly and absolutely ludicrous of me to think that your organization was not largely responsible for my victory." [12]

Another success of the NCEC was told by Walter Mondale, former Vice President of the United States. The NCEC had an "unmatched record of political skill and good judgment in aiding progressive candidates for the House and Senate." [13]

According to NCEC spokespeople, the NCEC has been criticized for turnover rates because they unfairly protect their incumbents.

The NCEC faced major problems when former President Bill Clinton was being impeached. According to NovelGuide, "Clinton was accused of perjury and obstruction; Republicans in Congress called for impeachment hearings. Democrats were in an uncomfortable position: all members of the House of Representatives were up for reelection at the end of the year. They had to defend the president while trying to distance themselves from him and the scandal at the same time. As a result, most observers believed that the affair could only lead to the loss of more democratic congressional seats." [14]

References

  1. "History of the NCEC." NovelGuide. 1998. Web. 8 October 2009.
  2. The National Committee for an Effective Congress," National Committee for an Effective Congress, 2008. Web. 7 September 2009
  3. William T. Poole, "The National Committee for an Effective Congress." New York: Institutional Analysis, 1978.
  4. "The National Committee for an Effective Congress." Open Secrets, 2008. Web. 8 September 2009.
  5. "The National Committee for an Effective Congress." VoteSmart, 2008. Web. 7 September 2009.
  6. "The National Committee for an Effective Congress." The National Committee for an Effective Congress, 2008. Web. 7 September 2009.
  7. "The Senate Top 10." National Committee for an Effective Congress, 2009. Web. 7 September 2009.
  8. "The National Committee for an Effective Congress ," National Committee for an Effective Congress, 2008. Web. 7 September 2009.
  9. "The National Committee for an Effective Congress," NovelGuide, 2008. Web. 8 October 2009.
  10. Wright, John R. Interest Groups and Congress. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1996.
  11. "Fund-raising within the National Committee for an Effective Congress." The National Committee for an Effective Congress. Web. 8 September 2009.
  12. "NCEC Successes." Vote Smart. Web. 8 September 2009.
  13. "National Committee of an Effective Congress." Open Secrets. 2009. Web. 8 September 2009.
  14. "Case Study - The 1998 Election." NovelGuide. 1998. Web. 8 October 2009.