A vote for the Web – League embraces e-commerce

The League of Women Voters has teamed up with an Internet company that plans to launch a Web site that will provide candidate information for voters, BusinessWeek reports.

The League, which supports campaign-finance reform, stands to generate an undisclosed amount of fees and stock options for working on the Grassroots.com site, the magazine says in its Feb. 28 edition.

The site, which focuses on state and local races and says it will be nonpartisan, solicits campaign contributions – and will take a cut of contributions made online.

Craig Johnson, a venture capitalist and interim CEO of Grassroots.com, told BusinessWeek his company needed help to collect data on local and state candidates.

“We had to have them,” he said. “We couldn’t think of another way to reach that deep into the political scene.”

Jane Gruenebaum, the league’s executive director, told the magazine the decision to work with the online company had followed “a robust discussion, and it’s not over yet.”

Johnson, the CEO, said next year’s initial public offering of stock by Grassroots.com might be “a chance to build a true endowment for the league.”

The company has $35 million in venture capital. Its backers include former Clinton White House spokesman Mike McCurry and former Bush White House Chief of Staff John Sununu.

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