North Dakota Democrats have almost completely outsourced their campaign donation mechanism to a left-wing, Massachussets-based organization called ActBlue. In fact, when you donate to one of the Democrat candidates for office here in North Dakota you really aren’t making a direct contribution to that campaign. You’re actually making a contribution to the Act Blue committee which then supposedly makes the donation to the candidate.
As an example, if you go to Agriculture Commissioner candidate Ryan Taylor’s campaign website and click on the donate button you are taken to this ActBlue page, which you can see a screenshot of to the right.
Note that despite the official Taylor campaign logo, and the fact that the link which lead us to this page came from the official Taylor campaign website, the donation page has a disclaimer on the bottom saying that the page was “not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.”
How in the world can that be when the candidate himself is sending contributors to this page? That sure seems to make it authorized and official.
Many Demcorats on the November ballot has this same arrangement with ActBlue (you can see a screenshot of District 35 state Senate candidate Erin Oban’s officially unofficial Act Blue donation page here, and you can see others by visiting the Democrat campaign pages).
This is a nifty gimmick for Democrats, muddying the waters around campaign transparency. With most campaigns you can see all the people and organizations who gave to a specific candidate. But thanks to Democrats laundering their contributions through ActBlue it’s difficult to tell which people/organizations gave to which candidate.
Which sort of defeats the purpose of transparency laws, don’t you think?
More problematic is the fact that ActBlue doesn’t seem to be reporting their contributions right.
If you look at the ActBlue filings on the North Dakota Secretary of State’s disclosure database (link here) you can see that the group somehow managed to have the exact same dollar amount for their ending balance for both their pre-primary and pre-general reports. Doing the math on their contributions an expenditures, that figure seems to be off by at least $40,000.
Also problematic is the group’s contributions to Taylor, specifically.
Looking at Taylor’s disclosur reports here – counting his pre-primary report, pre-general report and 48-hour reports – he’s received a total of $131,815.75 in nine separate bundles of contributions funneled through ActBlue.
But in ActBlue’s disclosures (search here), they’ve only accounted for $72,236.49 in bundled contributions to Taylor made on two dates, one in September and one in October, which add up to a lot less than what Taylor has reported as having received.
Here’s where I show my math.
Put simply, there is something weird going on here.
State law – specifically 16.1-08.1-05 of the Century Code – allows for the Secretary of State to audit campaign finance reports and levy a fine up to 200 percent of the contributions/expenditures found to be in violation of the law.
The question is, will these reports be audited? Given how Democrats are using ActBlue as a clearing house for their contributions, and the finance problems revealed here, there probably should be.