- Served as a senior strategic advisor to then-Democratic National Committee chairman Ron Brown from 1989-92
- Was chief of staff at the U.S. Commerce Department during the first term of the Bill Clinton administration
- Founded Democracy Alliance
Rob Stein is an attorney who served as a senior strategic advisor to then-Democratic National Committee chairman Ron Brown from 1989-92. Stein was subsequently appointed as chief of staff at the Washington office of the “Clinton-Gore Transition” team in 1992-93, and then as chief of staff at the U.S. Commerce Department during the first term of the Clinton administration. He has founded and led several non-profit groups, most notably Democracy Alliance (DA), which he established in 2005.
DA’s earliest roots can be traced back to a particular morning shortly after the 2002 mid-term elections, when, according to Stein, he awakened to the realization that he was “living in a one-party country” -- a reference to the fact that Republicans were in control of the White House and both Houses of Congress. At that moment, Stein resolved to study the history and tactics of the conservative movement in order to determine why it was winning the political battle. After a year of analysis, he compiled his conclusions into a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation titled “The Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix,” which he set out to show to prospective big-money leftist donors.
Using graphs, charts, diagrams, and bullet points, Stein demonstrated how the conservative movement had become successful by funding an intricate network of legal, academic, and political organizations (such as the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society) dedicated to shaping public opinion on a variety of important social and political issues. He claimed that a few well-connected, wealthy clans -- including the Scaife, Bradley, Olin, and Coors families -- had founded a $300-million network of groups that now dominated American policy.
As of August 2005, Stein had shown his PowerPoint presentation to more than 700 key people in private and small-group meetings. Many of them elected to join his fledgling initiative. Thus in 2005, Democracy Alliance was born — a loose collection of ultra-wealthy donors committed to building organizations that would drag America leftward politically.
Stein served as DA’s first managing director. Early in 2006, however, the DA board offered that position -- at an annual salary of $400,000 -- to Robert Dunn, a former president of Business for Social Responsibility. When Dunn declined it, the board appointed Judy Wade, a management consultant at McKinsey & Company.
Major donors to Stein’s group include such luminaries as George Soros, Peter Lewis, and Rob Reiner.