ActBlue, known in conservative circles for its overwhelming fundraising ability and dedicated commitment to turning Republican strongholds blue, has found itself the target of skepticism from election watchdogs. As reported by Fox News, the Take Back Action Fund revealed that nearly half of all 2019 donations to ActBlue came from donors reporting themselves as unemployed.
At first glance, this sounds bizarre; why are so many unemployed and, therefore, financially insecure contributors donating in the first place? The details of the report indicate a more concerning pattern that has led prominent Republicans like Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) to accuse ActBlue of campaign contribution fraud and of potentially even facilitating foreign interference in the 2020 elections.
“[M]ore than 4.7 million donations came from people who claimed they did not have an employer,” Action Fund’s John Pudner says.”Those 4.7 million donations totaled $346 million ActBlue raised and sent to liberal causes.” For 2020, more than 50% of ActBlue’s donors claim to be unemployed.
ActBlue v. WinRed
Political donors are required by law to list their employers when contributing money to political campaigns. It’s important to note that speculation about ActBlue’s fundraising cannot compare to Republican efforts. The Republican counterpart to ActBlue, WinRed, was found to have only around 4% of its donors reporting themselves as unemployed contributors compared to ActBlue’s 48.4% figure. This is more than a 40% difference between the two groups in the same timeframe when the unemployment rate was at 4% nationwide.
Questionable fundraising efforts are not new in presidential elections. In 2008, The Washington Post reported that Barack Obama was receiving huge donations from untraceable prepaid credit cards to get around the legal limit for individual contributions. At the time, the paper even reported that the potential for donations to come in from foreign nationals through these methods was not out of the question, and the scenario in 2020 is no different.