Monthly supporters and recurring donations in other forms have become a popular fundraising tactic in recent years. It is common for fundraising solicitations to include a lightbox or similar tools on websites, encouraging donors to turn their one-time donation into a recurring donation, automatically debiting a checking account or credit card each month. In these cases, donors must actively choose to check a box to become monthly donors.
However, four state attorneys general questioned whether donors to political campaign committees in last year’s presidential election unwittingly turned their donations into recurring donations. A source familiar with the matter confirmed that attorneys general in Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota and New York recently sent investigative letters to the WinRed and ActBlue platforms.
ActBlue and WinRed both used pre-checked boxes in online donation forms, automatically opting for donors in recurring donations. According to a New York Times survey earlier this year, the Trump campaign repaid $ 122 million, more than 10% of what it collected last year through WinRed. The Biden campaign reimbursed 2.2%, or about $ 21 million, of online donations collected on ActBlue. WinRed is a for-profit donation service. ActBlue is a non-profit association.
In a statement on its website, WinRed said federal law governs the activities of federal political committees and accused GAs of “exploiting positions of power for partisan purposes.” Less than 1% of Trump campaign donations were the subject of a credit card dispute, according to a statement from WinRed in response to The New York Times story in April.
WinRed filed a lawsuit against the four AGs for “declaratory measures” in Minnesota Federal District Court, asking the court to confirm that the Federal Election Campaign Act takes precedence over state law with respect to its application to activities. by WinRed. ActBlue did not respond to an email soliciting comment by presstime.