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After losing supporters, fwd.us refocuses its efforts

Somini Sengupta (via NYT/ AFR) | July 5, 2013
After Fwd.us fumbling badly soon after its debut this spring, the advocacy group is now trying to turn around its image in a bid to fight for immigration overhaul in the House.

"If you come out, as Mark did, you come out as a public piñata," said one investor, who, like many people interviewed for this article, declined to be named, because, he said, he did not want to inflame sentiments. The investor said Mr Green had asked him this year for a "seven-figure" contribution, with no explanation of Fwd.us's strategy. He called it a "gun to the temple" approach.

Another industry investor surmised that Mr Zuckerberg's personal image had suffered because of the negative attention to the group. "It is not with the masses," the investor said. "It's with a few people, insiders in Silicon Valley who have checks to write. A lot of them are angry and disappointed about Joe Green's approach."

Mr Green sent him an email solicitation in early June, the investor said, which he declined because he disagreed with the group's tactics so far.

Fwd.us declined requests for an interview with Mr Green. Mr. Jesmer described him as the organisation's "visionary" and said, "We talk to him 14 times a day."

A graduate of Harvard, Mr Green in 2007 created a Facebook application for online advocacy and fund-raising, called Causes, and in 2011, joined NationBuilder, a company that makes digital tools for political campaigns. He stayed for just under a year, before joining Fwd.us.

Jonathan Nelson, founder of a networking group, Hackers and Founders, said Mr Green saw himself as a "pragmatic idealist." The two met for a beer at Antonio's Nut House, a popular pub in Palo Alto, in mid-June. Mr. Green, he recalled, said he wanted to win the immigration fight in Washington - and was willing to play ball, Beltway style. Mr Nelson replied that Mr Green had misread his fellow geeks.

"It's a sin in the techno religion to play dirty politics," Mr Nelson said.

 

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