Size of the pressure group
The ACLU has over 500,000 members and has an annual budget of over $100 million dollars.
What the group stands for
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonpartisan non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." Originally founded in 1920 its focus was on freedom of speech, primarily for anti-war protesters. From these origins it expanded into defending civil liberties related to race, looking into police misconduct and Native American rights. Unfortunately during the 1930’s most of their civil rights cases came from the Communist party and Jehovah’s witnesses, which got the ACLU leadership caught up in the Red Scare of the 1940’s. The group now seeks to defend all civil liberties of the American Public. The ACLU today acts though it’s two separate non-profit organizations: the ACLU, and the ACLU Foundation. Both organizations engage in litigation, advocacy of civil rights, and education. The ACLU is a corporation, which also engages in political lobbying, and donations to that component of the ACLU are not tax deductible. The ACLU Foundation is a 501 non-profit corporation, which does not engage in lobbying, and donations to it are tax deductible.
What the group has been in the news for
The ACLU was the first organization to call for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. The ACLU frequently gets in the news for defending less than reputable characters like KKK members and has defended Neo Nazi’s many times. In 1977, a small group of American Nazis, led by Frank Collin, applied to the town of Skokie, Illinois for permission to hold a demonstration in the town park. Skokie at the time had a majority population of Jews, totalling 40,000 of 70,000 citizens, some of whom were survivors of Nazi concentration camps. Skokie...