The conservative group Take Back Action Fund is sounding the alarm on millions of political donations made to former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. According to the group, more than half of the 2019 contributions Biden received on the Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue came from unemployed people, Fox News reported. That number has increased in 2020, particularly in light of the pandemic.
The organization decided to look at data from 2019, before the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, to get a better idea of what donations were like at a time when the unemployment rate was relatively low – around four percent. Last year, 48.4 percent of ActBlue’s donations were from “unemployed.”
“After downloading hundreds of millions of [dollars in] donations to the Take Back Action Fund servers, we were shocked to see that almost half of the donations to ActBlue in 2019 claimed to be unemployed individuals,” Take Back Action Fund’s president, John Pudner, told Fox News. “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.”
The numbers are ticking upwards as 2020 continues on, with more than 50 percent of donations coming through ActBlue being gifted by those who are unemployed.
Data from WinRed, the Republican Party’s version of ActBlue, the number of unemployed people who made donations to President Donald Trump sat at four percent. This year the number is 5.6 percent
Data from the Take Back Action Fund showed that a VERY high percentage of unemployed people donated to the Biden campaign pic.twitter.com/bnbVXeoBrH
— Beth Baumann (@eb454) September 13, 2020
Pudner took particular issue with ActBlue’s lack of verification, something he says could be foreign contributions, which are illegal.
“It is hard to believe that at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate was less than 4 percent, that unemployed people had $346 million dollars to send to ActBlue for liberal causes,” he said.
Of particular concern is that “4.7 million donations from people without a job,” Pudner said.
According to Take Back Action Fund, ActBlue allows unverified credit cards to be used for donations. This can create a loophole, something that was seen in 2008. People would buy prepaid gift cards and use those gift cards to make their donations. It was a way for donors to skirt donation limits. But, Pudner believes foreign entities could use this loophole to directly meddle in America’s presidential elections.
“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,” Pudner explained. “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 has repeatedly defended their practices, saying they use third parties to verify their system. The company did, however, acknowledge “a significant portion of donors who report their status as not employed” but attributed those numbers to being “retired donors or full-time parents.”
Pudner says donation platforms like ActBlue can switch their system within a couple of hours so it’s more secure and banks have to verify the transaction is from a real life human being and someone in the United States of America.
“Choosing to use an untraceable system has a higher cost in terms of the risk of credit card fraud and also tends to incur higher bank fees. And this 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,” he explained.
Even though Democrats repeatedly hammer President Trump for so-called “Russian collusion” – even though that was debunked by one of their own – we shouldn’t be surprised that they fail to secure their donation platform. If they were truly concerned about election meddling, particularly by foreign nations, they would do everything in their power to make sure all donations are verified and no one could skirt donation laws. This is an easy way to keep elections from being influenced by outsiders. And yet they do nothing.
Author: Beth Baumann