EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is demanding that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) open an investigation into Democratic fundraising behemoth ActBlue after a report claimed it was raking in cash from unwitting elderly Americans.
“Two weeks ago, alarming reports emerged of fraudulent donations being reported to the FEC by ActBlue,” Rubio wrote in a letter to the FEC chairs. “These reports indicate that numerous individuals, including senior citizens, have purportedly donated to ActBlue thousands of times a year. However, according to recent investigative reports, many of these individuals had no idea that their names and addresses were being used to give thousands of dollars in political donations, with most of these ‘donations’ going to ActBlue.”
The James O’Keefe Media Group claims to have spoken with some people on fixed incomes who were stunned to learn that their names and addresses were used to donate thousands of dollars to ActBlue.
Sen. Marco Rubio, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, during a hearing in Washington, D.C., on March 8, 2023. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“It should come as no surprise that ActBlue serves as vessel for fraud, considering the intentional lack of security engrained within their donation processes and systems,” Rubio wrote to the FEC.
ActBlue amasses small-dollar donations from across the country and then funnels them to various Democratic candidates and causes. Republicans use a similar platform known as WinRed.
In his letter, Rubio raised security concerns about ActBlue not requiring a credit card CVV number.
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe claimed that numerous Americans unwittingly donated thousands of dollars to ActBlue. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
“In knowing that foreign actors use fake accounts to exploit donation systems that do not have robust verification processes and systems in place, most individual campaigns and political action committees (PACs) require CVV numbers as part of making an online donation. However, in breaking with most organizations, ActBlue does not require CVV numbers as a requirement for donating, and thus lending itself as a facilitator of fraud,” he wrote.
In addition to calling for an investigation into the ActBlue report, Rubio also urged the FEC to consider implementing “guardrails” such as requiring a CVV code and other security measures to better protect Americans’ bank accounts.
Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison and his wife Marie Boyd arrive for the State Dinner with President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House, Dec. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
“What safety/security guardrails does the commission mandate that political organizations and campaigns use as a function of accepting online donations?” Rubio asked. “Does the commission agree that all organizations overseen by the commission should have sufficient guardrails to protect consumers and the donations they place, including the requirement of CVV numbers when making a donation to a political organization, candidate, and/or campaign?”
ActBlue also made headlines this week after it laid off 17% of its staff as part of an effort to streamline and reorient for the 2024 election cycle.