09/09/19 2:26 PM EDT, Article 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. [2] The organization is open to Democratic campaigns, candidates, committees, and progressive 501(c)4 organizations. ", "Why is ActBlue considered a PAC? [11][12] All conduit contributions are itemized and reported. “ActBlue is very cheap, reliable, portable infrastructure,” said David Karpf, a political science professor at George Washington University who studies online politics. 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. She has made at least 3,000 federal contributions via ActBlue since the beginning of 2007. The conspiracy theory also continued to circulate on TheDonald.win on June 8 and reached the subreddit “r/conservative,” where a user called Black Lives Matter a “money laundering scheme” for Democrats via ActBlue. Its stated mission is to "empower small-dollar donors".

[1], ActBlue does not endorse individual candidates.

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. ActBlue has competition from Democratic technology providers such as Blue State Digital and NGPVAN, which appeal to organizations large enough to assume control over their entire technical infrastructure. 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.

11/02/20 8:45 PM EST, Video & Audio

Among its findings: Women are more likely than men to be recurring donors. [3][1][4], ActBlue was founded in 2004 by Benjamin Rahn and Matt DeBergalis.

The conspiracy theory popped up days later on June 5 on TheDonald.win, a new forum for the subreddit “r/TheDonald,” which was known for violent rhetoric and was ultimately quarantined by Reddit. She tweeted, “When you donate to BLM you’re donating to the Dems.”. Video & Audio 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 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. “Republicans can feel free to copy what we do, and they do," said Nate Thames, executive director of ActBlue Technical Services, which oversees the infrastructure for the site. [10] When a candidate for a Federal election raises money through ActBlue, ActBlue serves as a conduit for election law purposes. More than 445 federal committees representing candidates, parties and super PACs use the platform to raise money.

At various times, Republicans have tried to form conservative versions of ActBlue, but generally the right has used various online fund-raising vendors and also relied heavily on direct mail programs to solicit smaller donations. “We can’t keep our lights on if we don’t do that. Although writing in the first person for a news story is not the norm, ActBlue’s conduct triggered the next part of this story. The committees pay transaction fees to use ActBlue, sometimes totaling in the tens of thousands of dollars over the course of an election cycle, but in return they benefit from a system in which ActBlue regularly runs randomized experiments to increase the efficiency of its donation forms. 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.

By contrast, there is a $200 threshold for reporting individuals who contribute directly to a candidate committee. 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.

data. For example, many nonprofits ask donors to make recurring contributions on a monthly basis, and political campaigns have picked up on the tactic. How ActBlue Made Ellen Dannin Blue.

[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.

She said that not having to enter credit card information each time made donating easier. 11/02/20 8:52 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 an equivalent processing company called WinRed. From 2007 to 2010, about 2,800 donors gave at least 50 times each. Similar language made its way to Facebook minutes later. Minutes later, “Q,” the central entity of the QAnon conspiracy theory, posted a link to Owens’ tweet on 8kun’s “/qresearch/” message board.

“It can get addictive,” she said. Update (6/12/20): This article has been updated with additional details. A review by Media Matters found that before it gained traction, the conspiracy theory had been circulating for days on far-right message boards. Tips have amounted to more than $5.4 million in the current cycle, according to F.E.C. 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. ActBlue is a payment processor used widely by progressive groups and organizations affiliated with the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party has … [5] In February 2016, ActBlue launched AB Charities, an arm of the organization that makes ActBlue's fundraising tools available to nonprofits. The average amount of those donations is $10.16.

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.

It has distributed more than $4.2 million to date. Begun as an experiment by two friends wanting to finance progressive causes, it has become a major fund-raising mechanism for the Democratic Party. Following Owens’ post, the conspiracy theory began spreading to other conservative figures, such as Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch; a Florida Republican congressional candidate who has given credence to QAnon; Students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier (who, like Owens, incorrectly called ActBlue a “Democrat super PAC”); Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk; and former editor-in-chief of Breitbart’s London bureau Raheem Kassam. 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). Specifically, there was the issue of the stickiness of ActBlue’s donation box amounts and the “tip” box. Their top 10 recipient list doesn't have a single black individual or black organization.

[20] In the day following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, over $30 million was donated through ActBlue, again breaking the single-day fundraising record.

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. On TheDonald.win, a user wrote that “when you go to donate on the blacklivesmatter.com 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.”. 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). All donations to BLM go directly to "actblue". “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.

[15], In the 2018 midterms elections, ActBlue raised $1.6 billion for Democratic candidates. It took two years for the service to record 100,000 contributions.

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