Founded in 2003 by Tom Perriello and Ricken Patel, Res Publica (RP) describes itself as a “community of public-sector professionals dedicated to promoting good governance, civic virtue and deliberative democracy.” “Res Publica” is Latin for “the public thing” and refers to “what individuals in a community hold in common or place above their self interest.” RP is primarily an affiliation of three individuals — Perriello, Patel, and Tom Pravda — who undertake projects that seek to advance far-left agendas in governments around the world. RP specializes in “E-advocacy,” or web-based movement-building.
While in office, Perriello, a Democrat from Virginia who served one term in Congress before being swept out in the 2010 Republican landslide, was the recipient of hefty political donations from a host of far-left funders including ActBlue, J Street, and the Soros Management Group. He also has served as co-founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good; assistant director of the Center for a Sustainable Economy; national-security analyst for the Century Foundation; and co-founder and co-director of Faithful America.
RP’s advisory board includes Zainab Bangura, former board member of the Open Society Institute West Africa; John Podesta, CEO of the Center for American Progress; and Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org.
Though RP claims to have been started as a “pilot project” in 2001-2002 in Sierra Leone, and to have been formally launched the following year, records attesting to its nonprofit status do not precede 2005. Perriello was listed as RP’s original executive director, but Ricken Patel has held this title since 2006.
According to the National Catholic Reporter (NCR), after RP’s launch in 2003, Pravda, Perriello, and Patel “decided to focus on developing the political and communications infrastructure of the religious left” in the United States; this resulted in the development of Faithful America. NCR also reports that RP, in its early days, arranged conference calls with left-leaning religious leaders such as Robert Edgar, Jim Wallis, and Dave Robinson. These calls focused on strategizing against the religious Right. In addition, RP worked with the Center for American Progress, which was heavily invested in building the religious Left movement at the time.
RP has created a website called DarfurianVoices.org, or “The 24 Hours for Darfur Project” (originally, DarfurGenocide.org) — dedicated to raising public awareness about the Sudanese government’s genocide against black Africans in the Darfur region. The Open Society Institute and the U.S. State Department are among the project’s “funders and collaborating partners.” RP also created the now-discontinued CeaseFireCampaign.org, which was dedicated to cultivating public protest against the U.S. war in Iraq.
Another major concern of RP is the threat allegedly posed by global warming, which the organization views as a consequence of human industrial activity.
In 2007, RP completed a research and advisory project on E-advocacy for the Gates Foundation.
Since at least 2006, RP’s principal undertaking has been Avaaz.org, which conducts web-based movement-building and public-education campaigns and was co-founded by Eli Pariser. In 2008, RP alloted $500,000 for the Avaaz project.
Also in 2008, RP donated $25,200 to the National Accountability Group: Sierra Leone (NAGSL). NAGSL’s partner groups include the Open Society Initiative for West Africa and its parent organization, the Open Society Institute.
RP currently receives the majority of its funding from the Open Society Institute, which donated $250,000 to the organization for general operating support in 2007. OSI awarded an equivalent sum to RP in 2008, with an additional $40,000 designated specifically for the “Darfur Project.”