Tuesday, July 13, 2021

New Justice Department Lawsuit Takes Aim at Political Fundraising "Matching" Scam

I was so glad to read that the Justice Department has taken aim at the political fundraising "matching" scam.  Unfortunately the story has been underreported.  Mother Jones (not my favorite publication) has one of the best summaries of the lawsuit:

In recent years, political campaigns have increasingly begun using a dubious fundraising tactic: promising donors their contributions will be matched by two, three, or even five times. Donald Trump’s campaign—the most prolific user of this ploy—went so far as to pledge to multiply contributions by a factor of 10. These type of fundraising appeals are almost never true, because strict contribution limits make donor-matching nearly impossible.

Nevertheless, political candidates and committees have so far gotten away with these false claims, though that may not be the case for much longer. In a court filing Monday, federal prosecutors highlighted the donor-matching gambit as deceptive and called out the language that the Trump campaign often employed.

Prosecutors weren’t taking aim at the Trump campaign but rather a Nevada man who ran a scam PAC that bilked small donors with false promises to support various political causes—mostly Trump-related—and who fraudulently obtained PPP relief funds. But, as the feds note, the fraudster lifted almost all of his fundraising material (including the source code for the PAC’s website) from the Trump campaign. 

As any nonprofit fundraiser can tell you, the promise of “matching funds” is a highly effective way to boost donations. And, coming from your favorite public radio station or charity, it’s usually a legitimate promise—the nonprofit has a matching donor at the ready. In the political world, there is almost never a matching donor—that’s because campaign finance limits prevent benefactors from giving anywhere near the kind of money needed to match. A nonprofit, which is not confined by contribution limits, only needs one big-spending donor to cover its matches. But in politics, the most a single donor can give to a candidate during a given election cycle is $5,800. Effectively matching all the donations that might pour in from a small-donor fundraising campaign like those mounted by the Trump campaign would require having numerous max donors standing by. The logistics are just too impractical. 

It should be noted that it is not just Republican candidates doing the matching scam.  For example, Amy McGrath, who ran against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, promised a 500% match in her fundraising appeals.

The article points out that nonprofits cannot lie and deceive to raise money, but political fundraisers have considerably more leeway in what they can say due to protections the First Amendment provides to political speech. True, but the "matching" claim is just downright fraud and the First Amendment does not protect fraudulent tactics to solicit money, even for political campaigns.

OOP's short takes:

  • Major League Baseball's All-Star game is tonight.  Although billed as the "Midsummer Classic," I am not aware of any baseball fan who is a fan of the All-Star game.  With expanded rosters and players constantly shuttled into and out of the game, it has become even less of an actual baseball game than it was when I was growing up.  Although I am a big baseball fan, I probably won't watch a single inning of the game.
  • I have mixed feelings on Afghanistan. The United States should not go into these foreign conflicts without an exit strategy.  I also agree with President Biden that we shouldn't be in the nation-building business.  Then again, if a small American force kept in Afghanistan can keep the Taliban and their terrorist activities at bay, then that seems to be worth it.  This is particularly true given Afghanistan hasn't been a hot war for a long time and casualties have been minimal.  
  • Prices for goods and services, excluding food and services, was up .9% in June.  Economists were only projecting a .4% increase.  One of the factors driving price increases is the increased cost of labor.  Employees working unskilled or moderately skilled jobs have suddenly found their services in strong demand.  Virtually every store has a "Help Wanted" sign displayed and companies have substantially raised compensation for such workers.  The downside is higher prices.
  • Yeah, what the hell did happen to the Claremont Institute?
  • Texas Democrats have walked out rather than vote on an election reform bill.  "They don't want you to vote" will be a potent political issue for the Democrats in 2022.  Republicans are making a mistake thinking these changes will reduce Democratic turnout (they won't).  But Democrats are also making a mistake by focusing on the casting of votes, rather than the counting of those votes.  It is changes to the latter which is putting our democracy at risk.
  • On Monday, a Michigan judge ripped the Trump lawyers on their phony assertions of election fraud during a six hour hearing.  The judge asked the nine lawyers who took part in bringing the lawsuit if they had ever followed up to learn if any of their so-called witnesses actually saw a vote being changed.  Not a single attorney answered "yes."  
  • Speaking of Trump's "Kraken" legal team, Attorney Jenna Ellis announced yesterday that she's leaving the Republican Party.   She said she didn't want to be in a party led by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.  Finally, something I agree with. McDaniel is truly horrible.
  • Later, a fight on Twitter broke out between Ellis and frequent Fox News contributor, Tomi Lahren.  Both are horrible human beings whose 15 minutes of fame are up. Can they please go away now?


leon said...

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2021/07/what-the-hell-happened-to-bill-kristol.php In case anyone who still reads this blog would care to undress Bill Kristol....of duh Bulwark. A bit surprised that Paul would fall for lightweights. The Crisis of the Two Constitutions is well worth reading. So would be The Stakes, by Michael Anton. The latter's The Flight 93 Election was very convincing to literate people. The hit piece Paul referenced strangely enough did not tar Christopher Caldwell's books. His The Age of Entitlement is well worth the read and ties in well with the Crisis of the Two Constitutions. People who have a mind and don't mind using it would do well to subscribe to The Claremont Review of Books. While it is a quarterly, the price is reasonable, the archive is priceless, and you will , in time, await its arrival in the mail and then set aside your other reading until you have grappled with superior minds.

Leon said...

As if this is the only way that lawyers can conceive of voter fraud? Dopes? "On Monday, a Michigan judge ripped the Trump lawyers on their phony assertions of election fraud during a six hour hearing. The judge asked the nine lawyers who took part in bringing the lawsuit if they had ever followed up to learn if any of their so-called witnesses actually saw a vote being changed. Not a single attorney answered "yes."

leon said...

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/stacey-lennox/2021/07/19/new-report-shows-presidential-polls-in-2020-were-the-least-accurate-in-40-years-n1462886 Which means, of course, that Paul was wetter than water, all wet. Of course, all his running dogs who sucked down the errors really don't want a retraction....they prefer to be ignorant.

Paul K. Ogden said...

What does any of this have to do with the matching fundraising scam, Leon? You do agree don't you that it's wrong to LIE to people to get them to part with their money? You do know there is no actual matching going on, right?

Bill Kristol is a n intellectual "lightweight" and Donald Trump is a deep thinker. Yeah, sure, nobody with a brain thinks that.

Paul K. Ogden said...

You do realize Trump lost, right Leon? The polls weren't wrong about that.