This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission’s Chairwoman and Vice Chairman, Dara Lindenbaum and Sean J. Cooksey, to demand answers on reports that Act Blue is trying to garner illegal campaign donations.
“ActBlue, a major fundraiser for the Democratic Party, has purportedly engaged in thousands of dollars in campaign donations through small donors, including senior citizens, via illegal contributions, without those donors’ consent or awareness. Further, unlike nearly every other individual political campaign and political action committee, ActBlue does not require a card verification value (CVV) number as a requirement for donating. Requiring a CVV number as a condition of making an online transaction is standard practice across the e-commerce industry to reduce fraud and prevent unlawful foreign transactions. ActBlue must be held accountable for its apparent lack of security protocols,” Rubio’s office insisted.
The letter is below.
Dear Chairwoman Lindenbaum and Vice Chairman Cooksey:
I write to urge the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to investigate the purported presence of widespread fraudulent donations being reported to the commission by ActBlue, a Democratic campaign conglomerate.
Recently, alarming reports emerged of fraudulent donations being reported to the FEC by ActBlue. 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. 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.
As you both know, the vast majority of online transactions require a card verification value (CVV) number. This requirement is standard practice across the e-commerce industry to reduce fraud and prevent unlawful foreign transactions. 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.
I urge the commission to investigate ActBlue’s reporting and insufficient security guardrails. Additionally, I request answers to the following questions:
1. Is the commission concerned about reports detailing widespread fraud from ActBlue?
2. Was the commission aware of these seemingly fraudulent donations being reported by ActBlue prior to reports surfacing?
3. Will the commission investigate ActBlue and their reporting?
a. If no, please provide a detailed explanation.
4. What safety/security guardrails does the commission mandate that political organizations and campaigns use as a function of accepting online donations?
5. Does the commission agree that all organizations overseen by the commission should have sufficient guardrails to protect consumers and the donations the place, including the requirement of CVV numbers when making a donaton to a political organization, candidate, and/or campaign?
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to your prompt response.
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