Bernie Sanders took a big step this week toward furthering his progressive mission by officially launching the political organization “Our Revolution.” But the movement began to hit roadblocks almost immediately when more than half the staff resigned, prompting many to wonder if “Our Revolution” was “over before it even began.”

Much of the concern revolved around one man: Jeff Weaver, formerly Sanders’ presidential campaign manager. During Weaver’s time in that role, reports of tension between him and other staff members began to surface, and he was criticized for his use of campaign funds. In launching “Our Revolution,” Sanders named Weaver president, causing many staffers to resign. Others have chosen to remain, however.

The incoming board chairman, Larry Cohen, sat down for an interview on “Democracy Now!” with host Amy Goodman. He was joined by Claire Sandberg, who quit as the group’s digital organizing director after learning of Weaver’s involvement.

“[A]ll of us who worked on the campaign who moved over to Our Revolution did so based on the promise that Jeff Weaver would not be involved … or that his role would be strictly constrained as a legal adviser or a board member who would have somewhat of a token role,” Sandberg said. She explained that Weaver’s appointment as president raised concerns among some staff members, going into detail about his “decision to constitute the organization as a 501(c)(4)”:

Jeff has gone on the record admitting that he wanted to form the organization as a 501(c)(4) for the express purpose of accepting billionaire money, which of course flies in the face of what all of our supporters were so excited about, that we were taking a country back from the billionaire class without the use of billionaire money, $27 at a time. … Jeff wanted to take the organization down this path of accepting billionaire money, and specifically had chosen a legal structure for the organization that had already prevented us from doing effective organizing for candidates like Tim Canova [Floridian challenging fellow Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz in her House re-election bid], who has talked about how we have left him hanging, which is true. As the group was formed as a (c)(4), we legally couldn’t coordinate with Canova, couldn’t return his calls, couldn’t mobilize thousands of Bernie supporters locally in Miami or across the country to participate in his field operation, because we couldn’t talk to him.

Cohen, however, disagreed, responding that he doesn’t want “to get into a legal wrangle” over the 501(c)(4) issue. “We’re not here to run campaigns,” he argued. “That would be a different kind of organization. … The design of this is really to continue the political revolution.”

Watch the full interview below:

—Posted by Emma Niles

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