Leftist Democrat attorneys general from Maryland, Minnesota, New York and Connecticut have launched an investigation of a Republican fundraising organization, claiming its operations are illegal under state law, even though three of the four officials making the complaint had used a similar procedure in their own campaign fundraising.
The fight is over the GOP fundraiser WinRed and its ability to raise funds with pre-checked, recurring donation boxes.
In the district court dispute, WinRed now has revealed that multiple Democratic operations use essentially the same procedure, including campaign organizations for three of four of those Democrat attorneys general who complained: Brian Frosh of Maryland; Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Letitia James of New York, according to the Washington Examiner.
The fourth AG who originally raised questions was William Tong of Connecticut;
WinRed said it is taking its complaint to U.S. District Court, and it is seeking legal relief from an inquiry the Democrats had started.
The Republican organization charges that the Democrats are trying to prevent WinRed from accomplishing its work – which would make the fight political.
“Four Democrat attorneys general are exploiting their positions of power for partisan gain and targeting WinRed for fundraising tactics that Democrats themselves pioneered and still use to this day,” WinRed said in a statement given to the Examiner. “While pursuing these actions, these Democrat AGs are actively fundraising on ActBlue.”
WinRed is asking the federal court to quash the inquiry by the Democrats, explaining the “states have no jurisdiction over WinRed because it is a federal political action committee bound by federal law and Federal Election Commission regulations,” the Examiner reported.
The WinRed complaint notes that the Democrats are fearful of losing their party’s “narrow” majorities in Congress, the report said.
“Only when Republicans began challenging the Democrats’ long-held advantage in online fundraising did these Democrat Attorneys General activate,” WinRed told the Examiner. “It’s troubling to see these AGs attempt to use the power of their offices for the purpose of helping the Democrat Party.”
ActBlue is the group that raises money for Democrats, and GOP members suggest it was the key to the Democrats winning the majority in the House in 2018, because it directed $4.8 billion to its candidates.
“But th[r]ough WinRed, unveiled in 2019, Republicans are closing the fundraising gap with Democrats, making the GOP more competitive in the 2022 midterm elections when the party hopes to win back the House and Senate,” the report said.
WinRed sent more than $2 billion to GOP candidates over two years.
The disputed procedure sets up contributions from donors who use a pre-checked, recurring contribution procedure.
The Democrat AGs claim those pre-checked boxes violate consumer protection laws.
But WinRed pointed out that Ellison, Frosh, and James used voluntary pre-check donor boxes, and, “additionally, some Democratic campaigns and entities that have donation pages on ActBlue currently and in the past have used involuntary pre-check boxes, which require a donor to uncheck the recurring contribution box preemptively to avoid unintended future giving,” the Examiner said.
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