As the devastating storm surge of Hurricane Michael recedes, Florida’s U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is raising money. He’s raising it purportedly for relief to victims of the hurricane, the third strongest to hit the U.S. coast in recorded history. But as Cameron Cawthorne reports at the Washington Free Beacon, Nelson’s recent email encouraging donors to give to relief organizations ends up sending them to a Democratic bundling PAC called ActBlue.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.) on Wednesday sent out an email encouraging people to donate money for hurricane disaster relief with a list of nonprofit groups that provide aid, but he did not disclose that the links for each group direct users to the website of ActBlue, an organization that helps Democrats raise money and saves donor emails for future fundraising efforts.
Cawthorne notes that Nelson does list organizations that provide actual aid (as opposed to advocacy), like the American Red Cross and the Florida Disaster Fund.
But Nelson doesn’t clarify that the ActBlue link offered for processing the donations is the link for a Democratic fundraising PAC, which makes money on every donation it processes, and uses that money to fund Democratic political activities.
Nelson also tweeted out a direct ActBlue link on his website, suggesting that hurricane relief donors use it. Nelson himself is facing Republican Governor Rick Scott as his opponent in a reelection bid next month.
This isn’t the first time a high-profile Democrat has used a natural disaster as an opportunity to steer donors to ActBlue. Cawthorne points out that Nelson himself used last year’s Hurricane Irma as a pretext for fundraising.
Also in 2017, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) did the same thing as Nelson, suggesting a list of organizations to give to for Hurricane Harvey relief (in Texas and Louisiana). The donations, if people used the links Harris provided, were made through ActBlue. A number of the organizations weren’t actual aid groups, as J.E. Dyer discovered at the time. In fact, some of them clearly stated at their websites that they did not provide direct aid to anyone, but were organized for political advocacy with local community authorities and grant-making institutions.
J.E. highlighted some eye-opening details about ActBlue’s partisan operating profile, like this one:
ActBlue gained notoriety in 2008 for helping Barack Obama and other Democrats evade federal election laws (see here as well), and cutting off ActBlue services to Obama’s Democratic critics and opponents.
See these features of the PAC’s operations as well:
[ActBlue] Charities has one very important feature in common with all of the fundraising arms of ActBlue. It assesses a 3.95% fee to the organizational clients on all donations made through ActBlue. So when you donate to Kamala Harris’ list, you not only contribute – unless you’re very careful – to political advocacy; you contribute to ActBlue.
As indicated in some of the preceding links, the haul from ActBlue fees has mounted into the millions over the last decade. Most of it is spent on more ActBlue work: fundraising for progressive politics.
Finally, as noted in my May 2017 post (link above and here), donor information entered with ActBlue goes into a massive database used for political purposes by progressive left organizations like Organizing for Action and MoveOn.org. So even if you donate only to Meals on Wheels at Kamala Harris’ ActBlue page, you’re still contributing to ActBlue, and signing up to be tracked and analyzed for political profit by the left.
Even with the Obama administration no longer in the Oval Office, the Democrats continue to live by Rahm Emanuel’s axiom: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”