The Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue received nearly half of its 2019 donations from people who claimed to be unemployed, a preliminary computer analysis from a conservative political group shows.
The analysis by the Take Back Action Fund found that 48.4% of ActBlue’s 2019 donations came from unemployed people. That percentage ticked up to 50.1% in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic and widespread government shutdowns forced tens of millions of Americans out of work, according to Fox News.
Take Back Action Fund President John Pudner said that the large share of donations from people claiming to be unemployed suggests that foreign entities are attempting to influence U.S. elections through illegal political contributions.
“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,” 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 that his group has devised “forensic procedures” to audit ActBlue donations and verify if the donations are coming from where they claim.
“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 said.
ActBlue asserts that its donation process is secure and that many of the gifts from people claiming to be unemployed are from individuals such as retirees and homemakers that are more likely to have disposable income than simply out-of-work Americans.
“But we use an array of data sources, internal validation and third-party services to verify the validity of transactions. We take the security of our platform and integrity of donations very seriously,” ActBlue told Fox News. “We report every contribution to federal candidates that comes through our platform, and you can look those up on the FEC. We report the information donors enter about their occupation and employer, and we do see a significant portion of donors who report their status as not employed, such as retired donors or full-time parents.”
In 2019, 4.9 million donations flowed into WinRed, a GOP fundraising platform created to counter ActBlue, amounting to $302 million. In contrast to the Democratic platform, just 4% of WinRed’s donations on the year came from self-proclaimed unemployed Americans. In 2020 with the onset of the pandemic and shutdowns, that share has risen to 5.6%.
ActBlue was founded in 2004 and is the preferred donation platform for thousands of Democratic candidates and left-wing causes. The online fundraising tool allowed the Democratic Party to build a massive advantage over the GOP in small-dollar donation fundraising. The creation of WinRed in 2019 has helped Republicans cut down Democrats’ fundraising advantage.
ActBlue has also helped raise money for the Black Lives Matter Global Network amid nationwide riots over alleged systemic racism. As The Daily Wire reported in June:
Earlier this month, FactCheck.org and Politifact confirmed that Black Lives Matter Global Network is not a recognized IRS charity, instead raising their funds through a fiscal sponsor, global nonprofit Thousand Current, which would likely “have a legal obligation to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the funds they receive are spent consistent with 501(c)(3) restrictions.” Some critics of the group suggest that its financial arrangement “blocks full transparency.”
FactCheck.org notes that ActBlue helps to raise funds for Black Lives Matter Global Network by directing donations to Thousand Currents, their fiscal sponsor.