ACLU quadruples membership, gains $120m in donations after Trump's election

The American Civil Liberties Union more than quadrupled its number of paying members, from 400,000 to 1.84 million, in the 15 months after Donald Trump was elected president, according to a report in The New York Times.

Donations to the nonprofit group have also skyrocketed. According to the ACLU’s executive director, Anthony Romero, the organization has raised nearly $120 million since the 2016 presidential election. Online donations in previous years had totaled just $3 million to $5 million annually.

“Until Trump most of our support came from people who have been with us since we challenged Nixon,” Romero told the Times. “Now we’re kind of cool. Cool’s not a word generally associated with us.”

The ACLU has been on the front lines of more than a hundred legal actions against Trump administration policies, including the White House’s series of travel bans on the citizens of several Muslim-majority nations. The group has also challenged the Justice Department’s family separation policies, Trump’s voter fraud commission and the president’s reversal of an Obama-era contraception mandate.

All told, the group has taken 170 “Trump-related legal actions” since he took office, including 83 lawsuits, according to the Times.

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US President Donald Trump arrives at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on January 8, 2018. Trump is attending the College Football Playoff National Championship between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by ROTC students, sings along with the national anthem before the NCAA College Football Playoff Championship game between Alabama and Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Jan 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; President Donald Trump stands for the national anthem before the 2018 CFP national championship college football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
U.S. President Donald Trump sings along with the national anthem before the NCAA College Football Playoff Championship game between Alabama and Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the national anthem before the NCAA College Football Playoff Championship game between Alabama and Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump on field during the national anthem prior to the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Other left-leaning groups have also seen a surge in donations after various Trump administration actions. Planned Parenthood reported an “unprecedented” level of new support shortly after the election and has become a frequent place for high-profile donations meant to counter the White House. And James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox and the son of conservative media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, gave $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League last year in a public rebuke to the president.

Romero told the Times that a large portion of the money it’s received in recent months has gone toward hiring more lawyers, but he stressed that the Justice Department’s war chest will always been orders of magnitude larger than a non-profit.

“We’re the biggest of the advocacy groups, but even if we go from 300 to 500 lawyers, we are still tiny,” Romero told the outlet. “The power of the federal government can’t be overestimated.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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