The project is officially overseen by an organization known simply as "ABC Campaign", which is affiliated with the provincial Progressive Conservative Party of which Williams is leader, and which has been registered with Elections Canada as a "third party" for the purposes of election expenditures. The provincial government itself has also paid for advertisements supporting the goals of the campaign.
Although the current federal Conservative Party does not have any formal affiliation to the various provincial Progressive Conservative parties, the two groups ordinarily work together on an unofficial basis, and thus the ABC campaign represents a rare public rift between federal and provincial "Conservative" parties. The campaign does not specifically endorse any alternative federal party, and PC politicians are campaigning on behalf of candidates for both the federal Liberal and New Democratic parties.
On January 4, 2006, during the 2006 federal election campaign, then-opposition leader Harper sent a letter to Williams with the following statement regarding equalization:
Harper began to distance himself from the statement that October. The subsequent 2007 federal budget ostensibly met this promise by introducing the option of a new equalization formula allowing each province to exclude its natural resources - but also imposing a cap on the amount of equalization each province could receive, effectively negating the Atlantic Accord. The budget also gave each province the option of retaining the original equalization formula, meaning that no province would lose revenue due to the new formula.
Nonetheless, Williams said that, based on the restrictions imposed on the new formula, the province had been "shafted", and that "based on the fact that they've broken their promise and broken their commitment, [citizens] should not vote Conservative in the next federal election.
The campaign began unofficially in May 2007, when Williams told the Economic Club of Toronto that the decision would cost the province billions of dollars, adding: "I am encouraging Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and Canadians, in the next federal election to simply vote ABC — easy to remember. Vote ABC — anything but Conservative.
Political parties have in the past mounted similar campaign's to sway voters against a particular party, as in the 2001 Alberta provincial election, where Stephen Harper led the National Citizens Coalition (NCC) in a "Vote Anything but Liberal" campaign.
Since the start of the 2008 election, a campaign website has been launched, while members of the provincial PC caucus have begun to campaign on behalf of federal Liberal and NDP candidates. All caucus members are expected to participate in the ABC campaign, with the exception of backbencher (and one-time health minister) Elizabeth Marshall, who said she could not bring herself to support a Liberal or NDP candidate. No provincial PC politician has yet openly supported the federal Conservatives during the 2008 campaign.
On a campaign visit to the province, Harper responded that "no one can tell a Newfoundlander and Labradorian how to vote," and that the voters' choice should be "about your own best interests.
Leo Power, a veteran of federal politics and the Conservative Party of Canada's campaign co-chair for Newfoundland and Labrador, said raising money and recruiting volunteers has proved difficult, and blames Williams's ABC campaign, saying it has cut deep into the federal election machine that is struggling to compete. Power has also said his party's best hope of winning a seat in the province is in the riding of Avalon with incumbent candidate Fabian Manning.