ActBlue is an American nonprofit technology organization established in June 2004 that enables left-leaning nonprofits, Democratic candidates, and progressive groups to raise money from individual donors on the Internet by providing them with online fundraising software. On June 1st, that yearly record was again broken with $20 million in donations. “We can’t keep our lights on if we don’t do that. [13], ActBlue raised $19 million in its first three years, from 2004 to 2007. Over the next few days, the conspiracy theory also began circulating on 4chan’s “/pol/” message board, a known hotspot for white nationalists, where users pointed to ActBlue to claim Black Lives Matter was “a fundraising apparatus” and a “slush fund” for Democrats. That its monthly filing could tie up the F.E.C.’s servers — a feat previously accomplished only by President Obama’s 2012 campaign — says a lot about the growth of ActBlue. [7][8] Bernie Sanders' 2016 and 2020 primary campaigns also used ActBlue for fundraising. "[19], In 2020, several fundraising records were broken. [2] The organization is open to Democratic campaigns, candidates, committees, and progressive 501(c)4 organizations. Over half of donations in the week following the killing went to charitable (non-political) causes, including one ActBlue page devoted to a bail fund which raised over $1.5 million from over 20,000 donors. If they’re not useful, we’re going to put ourselves out of business.”. In the week following the killing of George Floyd, on May 31st, over $19 million was raised, the highest single-day total so far that year. All donations to BLM go directly to "actblue". [21], In 2019, the Republican Party created a rival platform, WinRed, to counter ActBlue's strength in small-donor fundraising. Video & Audio Its stated mission is to "empower small-dollar donors". Update (6/12/20): This article has been updated with additional details. 53. From 2007 to 2010, about 2,800 donors gave at least 50 times each. 11/02/20 8:45 PM EST, Video & Audio ActBlue is a payment processor used widely by progressive groups and organizations affiliated with the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party has … [15], In the 2018 midterms elections, ActBlue raised $1.6 billion for Democratic candidates. But for groups and campaigns that are starting up or are seeking down-ballot offices that often mean smaller budgets, ActBlue has a strong appeal. ActBlue is a payment processor used widely by progressive groups and organizations affiliated with the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party has an equivalent processing company called WinRed. 09/09/19 2:26 PM EDT, Article “It can get addictive,” she said. When ActBlue, the Democratic online fund-raising organization, tried to upload its most recent report to the Federal Election Commission, there were so many contribution records — 955,475 — that the agency’s servers buckled under the load. The average amount of those donations is $10.16. A false money laundering conspiracy theory regarding the Black Lives Matter movement's use of a payment processing company for donations has gained traction online among right-wing figures and can be traced back to far-right message boards. The site excels at encouraging small but repeat donations. Additionally, two major conservative TikTok accounts, @therepublicanhypehouse and @conservativehypehouse, both posted videos pushing the conspiracy theory, getting more than 370,000 views combined (even though TikTok has an anti-misinformation policy). “ActBlue is very cheap, reliable, portable infrastructure,” said David Karpf, a political science professor at George Washington University who studies online politics. These tweets and videos combined have gotten hundreds of thousands of shares and views and have amplified the conspiracy theory far beyond fringe message boards. Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a decentralized political and social movement advocating for non-violent civil disobedience in protest against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people. On June 10, right-wing pundit Candace Owens quote-tweeted an Instagram video pushing the conspiracy theory and accused Black Lives Matters of being a “shell company” for Democrats via ActBlue (Owens also posted the video on Instagram, where it received well over a million views). NOTE: All the numbers on this page are for the 2020 election cycle and based on Federal Election Commission data released electronically on September 21, 2020. | ActBlue Support", "Personal Data About Small-Donor Democrats Is All Over the Internet", "Donations Pooled Online Are Getting Candidates' Attention", "Internet-based PAC driving Democratic push", "GOP to launch new fundraising site as Dems crush the online money game", "How ActBlue Is Trying To Turn Small Donations Into A Blue Wave", "How the Trump Campaign Took Over the G.O.P. The conspiracy theory also continued to circulate on on June 8 and reached the subreddit “r/conservative,” where a user called Black Lives Matter a “money laundering scheme” for Democrats via ActBlue. How does classify campaign expenditures? By August 2007, the site had raised $25.5 million. One of its heaviest users has been the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has backed more liberal Democrats such as Bill Halter, who mounted an unsuccessful challenge to Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas in 2010, and Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator. ActBlue’s roots lie in the fund-raising strategies employed by Howard Dean in the 2004 presidential campaign. It took four days and repeated attempts to file the report. By contrast, there is a $200 threshold for reporting individuals who contribute directly to a candidate committee. The earliest mention our review found was at the beginning of June on Twitter, when an account that has pushed the slogan for the QAnon conspiracy theory repeatedly tweeted the claim on June 1 and June 2. Ms. ImMasche also gives “tips” to ActBlue as part of the contribution process, which is the main way the organization supports itself (it charges a 3.95 percent transaction fee for processing each contribution). ActBlue is an American nonprofit technology organization established in June 2004 that enables left-leaning nonprofits, Democratic candidates, and progressive groups to raise money from individual donors on the Internet by providing them with online fundraising software. For example, the firm noticed that many of its donors labeled themselves as retired or unemployed on contribution forms. In 10 years, more than $619 million has passed through the start-up on the way to Democratic candidates and causes. [3][1][4], ActBlue was founded in 2004 by Benjamin Rahn and Matt DeBergalis. Although writing in the first person for a news story is not the norm, ActBlue’s conduct triggered the next part of this story. ", "Why is ActBlue considered a PAC? On, a user wrote that “when you go to donate on the website,” you are redirected to ActBlue, which means entities “donating to Black Lives Matter are actually donating to ActBlue.” That means, the user wrote, that the donations may be “just going straight to fund the Democratic presidential campaign.”. 11/02/20 7:22 PM EST, Article It also conducts experiments in fund-raising techniques, much in the way that the Obama campaign did. The post was picked up by multiple far-right figures, including by a QAnon-supporting former congressional candidate on Twitter, another QAnon Twitter account with a major following who keeps evading his Twitter ban, and by troll Milo Yiannopoulos on Telegram. [5] In February 2016, ActBlue launched AB Charities, an arm of the organization that makes ActBlue's fundraising tools available to nonprofits. Because it’s flexible and easy to use, it has also become a platform for little experiments that gently squeeze even more money out of donors. Among the most prolific is Sonia ImMasche, a retired university student affairs administrator from Fort Collins, Colo., who has made at least 3,000 federal contributions via the service since the beginning of 2007. So it changed the form to allow users to check a box for these options rather than type them in, which increased completed donation forms by 4.7 percent. The conspiracy theory popped up days later on June 5 on, a new forum for the subreddit “r/TheDonald,” which was known for violent rhetoric and was ultimately quarantined by Reddit. How ActBlue Made Ellen Dannin Blue. Groups that use ActBlue pay a 3.95% credit card processing fee. 11/02/20 9:00 PM EST, Video & Audio Minutes later, “Q,” the central entity of the QAnon conspiracy theory, posted a link to Owens’ tweet on 8kun’s “/qresearch/” message board. It has distributed more than $4.2 million to date. She said that not having to enter credit card information each time made donating easier. The conspiracy theory also apparently reached Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren, who has a history of pushing claims from message boards. “It fills in very easily and very quickly.”. ActBlue lets campaigns create web pages and emails with fund-raising solicitations that include simple forms to make the process of donating faster and easier. By storing contributors’ credit card information, ActBlue reduces the friction involved in filling out donation forms to a single click. [11][12] All conduit contributions are itemized and reported. Then, ActBlue distributes the money raised to Thousand Currents, which is then granted to Black Lives Matter. “The Republicans have tried to start something, but their counterparts have been more in the endorsement business,” said Michael J. Malbin, the executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute and a professor of political science at the University at Albany. 11/02/20 10:38 PM EST, Video & Audio Citation Many small donors, whose names would ordinarily be shielded, are thus exposed to the public. 04/29/20 9:47 AM EDT, Article As much as any other organization, it has made such donations easy and common — even, as some donors find, addictive. For comparison, over the same period, the august Democratic National Committee brought in a total of $1.4 billion. Yet it handled a record 130,000 of them on a single day last month. As a nonprofit, ActBlue runs its own, separate fundraising program and accepts tips on contributions to pay for its expenses. The account claimed it had sent the conspiracy theory to the FBI and President Donald Trump, and it urged the Ohio Police Department to investigate the claim. One 4chan user pushing the claim on June 8 used nearly the exact same language as the June 5 post from Similar language made its way to Facebook minutes later. [9], ActBlue reports to the Federal Election Commission all contributors to Federal campaigns, regardless of the amount. ActBlue’s roots lie in the fund-raising strategies employed by Howard Dean in the 2004 presidential campaign. [6] Both the 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden used ActBlue during their primary and general election campaigns. By encouraging donors to support it directly, ActBlue builds relationships with donors who trust it with their credit cards and other details, which allows it to perform tests to see how they respond to different features. 11/02/20 8:52 PM EST, Video & Audio [18] The Daily Beast notes that between January and mid-July 2019, ActBlue brought in $420 million, and that "According to the organization, that total came from 3.3 million unique donors and was dispersed to almost 9,000 Democratic campaigns and organizations, with $246 million coming in the second quarter alone. Comments are locked "Black Lives Matter" is a shell name owned by the organization "actblue".

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