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.
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?