(Posted January 7, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Steven Rosenthal, the chief executive officer of America Coming Together, a tax-exempt political committee dedicated to get-out-the-vote activism, particularly in the 2004 presidential election, will speak at Juniata College on "Voting Rights as Civil Rights" at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 18 in Alumni Hall in the Brumbaugh Academic Center (formerly Brumbaugh Science Center) on the Juniata campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

Rosenthal, whose organization focused more than 12 million phone calls to voters and canvassed more than 11 million households in battleground states such as Ohio and Florida during the recent election, will speak about the 2004 elections and the ongoing challenges of ensuring fair and accurate elections in the United States.

America Coming Together, typically abbreviated as ACT, is a 527 committee, a tax-exempt organization created to influence the election or defeat of political candidates. A 527 group gets its name from the section of the Internal Revenue Code and differs from a political action committee in that these political organizations are not regulated by the Federal Election Commission and do not have the same contribution limits as PACs. Some examples of 527 committees from the recent elections include Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Texans for Truth, Moveon.org and The Media Fund.

America Coming together is funded primarily by financier George Soros, Peter Lewis, chairman of the Progressive Insurance Companies, and labor unions such as the Service Employees International Union.

Donna Brazile, campaign manager for Al Gore in the 2000 elections, was quoted in the Washington Post as calling Rosenthal "the last great hope for the Democratic Party."

Rosenthal started his career as a union organizer. After working on Sen. Ted Kennedy's (D-Mass.) 1980 presidential campaign, Rosenthal was hired by the Communication Workers of America to run an organizing campaign. He also worked as deputy political director for the Democratic National Committee. After working in President Clinton's presidential campaign, he was hired as a deputy secretary in the U.S. Department of Labor. By 1995, Rosenthal had moved in to the AFL-CIO, where he worked until 2002.

Rosenthal formed America Coming Together with Ellen Malcolm, the Democratic fundraiser who started Emily's List, and Harold Ickes, a former top aide in the Clinton administration. After listening to a presentation by Rosenthal, financier Soros pledged $10 million to the effort. The ACT funding eventually grew to nearly $100 million.

In the 2004 elections, Rosenthal oversaw thousands of campaign workers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and other states who worked to register Democratic voters.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.