Mysterious money that could be coming from foreign interests is fueling Democratic campaign efforts, according to a new analysis of cash flowing to ActBlue, a major Democratic fundraising platform.
The analysis by the Take Back Action Fund, a conservative political group, showed that in 2019, 48.4 percent of ActBlue’s donations came from people who supposedly were unemployed or who did not list any employer, according to Fox News.
“We purposely wanted to examine 2019 first, because, before COVID-19, the unemployment rate was at 4 percent or below. It’s hard to believe that millions of Americans who were out of work had $346 million to spare to give to ActBlue for liberal causes,” Action Fund president John Pudner told the outlet, adding that “4.7 million donations from people without a job … raised serious concerns.”
Pudner said he was concerned that foreign interests might be trying to impact America’s elections by pouring money into ActBlue.
That worry was shared by many on Twitter:
I urge the @FEC and others to investigate this situation. Is money being laundered through @ActBlue from straw donors or foreign governments to Democratic candidates, or is this legit? Somebody needs to find out ASAP.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 12, 2020
HALF of 2019 donations to Democrat fundraising platform came from “untraceable unemployed donors” raising “red flags of possible FOREIGN INVOLVEMENT”‼️
“Hard to believe millions of Americans out of work had $346 million to spare… for liberal causes”
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) September 12, 2020
The Take Back Action Fund analysis showed very different patterns between Democrats and Republicans.
In 2019, ActBlue had 48.4 percent of its almost 9.9 million donations come from those who claimed not to have jobs, while the number hit 49.6 percent for donations flowing to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, according to the analysis.
The WinRed fund for Republican candidates had only 4 percent of its donations come from people who said they were not working, while only 2.6 percent of donations to President Donald Trump came from those who said they did not have jobs, the Take Back Action Fund reported.
So far in 2020, the trend is the same. Through August, 50.1 percent of donations to ActBlue came from those claiming to be unemployed, as opposed to roughly 4 percent for WinRed, according to the analysis.
“[W]e were shocked to see that almost half of the donations to ActBlue in 2019 claimed to be unemployed individuals,” Pudner said. “The name of employers must be disclosed when making political donations, but more than 4.7 million donations came from people who claimed they did not have an employer. Those 4.7 million donations totaled $346 million ActBlue raised and sent to liberal causes.”
Pudner said further investigation is needed to determine whether the millions pouring into ActBlue are from those who are really unemployed, or from foreign interests and others who simply claim not to have jobs.
“Auditing these suspect donations to determine if millions lied by indicating they were unemployed when in fact they were not, or if their names were just being used by a foreign programmer or someone else to move money without their knowledge, will take time,” he said.
“We’ve planned a series of forensic procedures to identify whether or not these donors of record exist or not, if they made the contributions themselves, and whether they were legally able, and whether or not they are potential ‘straw’ donors, making the contributions after being given the money and direction by someone else.”
ActBlue said retirees and others — such as homemakers — are counted as not having jobs and are part of its donor base.
But Pudner said ActBlue’s lax procedures mean credit card donations from anywhere can flow in without proper verification — a system which he called “untraceable.”
“ActBlue’s insistence on refusing to allow banks to verify their donations is an invitation to foreign programmers or others to send money through them using fake American names, and we encourage them to start letting banks verify the identity of donors to stop the potential for millions of dollars to influence our election,” Pudner said.
He said ActBlue needs to clean up its act.
“[T]his untraceable system allows someone with a gift card to make donations in anyone’s name, even if that person never actually made that donation, or even if that person doesn’t exist at all,” Pudner said.
“With half of ActBlue donors indicating they do not have an employer, we recommend they start letting their payment processors verify donations to stop any foreign or other illicit donations by simply listing themselves as an unemployed American.”
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