This article has been written to support a video I recently launched describing the ActBlue Campaign Finance Money Laundering scheme. In that video I provided a brief reference to how interested activists can help document the part of this conspiracy or money laundering operation which may be occurring near where you live. If you want to better understand how this apparent campaign finance money laundering operation works, you can watch the video below.
Please note, this video was launched on our YouTube Video Channel on April 5th, the same day this article went live:
While many people have been noticing irregular and strange reports coming out of ActBlue and the candidates/causes they support based on public filings with the FEC and local campaign finance reports filed at the state level (for example, in our state at the Public Disclosure Commission), it has only been in the past few weeks that the widescale aspect of what appears to be a major campaign finance money laundering operation has been exposed at ActBlue. For more background on this story – which has gained prominence lately due to work by James O’Keefe, formerly of Project Veritas. You can see more at stories linked here, here, and here.
If you want to see what people are discovering in their own states, you can go here. If you want to see what people are discovering in our home state of Washington, you can go here. These are just examples.
Without repeating too much what I covered in the above video, I want to emphasize that this appears to be a massive campaign finance money laundering operation which uses the identities of often retired or unemployed small dollar donors to Democratic Party or other Leftist causes using the ActBlue fundraising platform to facilitate hundreds and often thousands of improbable small dollar contributions to launder donations to targeted candidates and causes without publicly disclosing the true source of the original funds. In most cases the person whose identity has been hijacked to carry out the thousands of contributions probably has no idea this is being done in their name. However, it takes some serious work to prove this, and nobody is going to make it easy. I expect very little cooperation or incentive for the insiders to provide us.
For clarity, this campaign finance money laundering operation is illegal. It is illegal at the federal level (see here), and it is illegal at the state level in every state. In Washington State, the law broken by this effort can be found here: RCW 42.17A.
Who broke the law? Who gets in trouble here?
First, let’s be super clear here – unless the small dollar donor willingly colluded to allow themselves to be part of the money laundering operation – they are not at fault. They don’t have legal liability in this case – unless they knew about it and went along with the scam. So far, this isn’t what appears to be found by contacting the named money laundering donors in the field. I am unaware of even one of them who has admitted this yet.
Secondly, in most cases, the campaigns who receive the illegal funds are probably not legally liable either, UNLESS they were aware of the money laundering efforts and the efforts of those who were the true source of these funds and decided to accept the funds anyway. I expect most of them to play dumb and claim they knew nothing. In some cases they might be honestly ignorant. Despite this, they are still going to be required to forfeit the illegal funds. Typically, if a campaign can’t accept the funds or it is an illegal overlimit contribution – they would return the funds to the donor, and they are under a legal obligation to do this in a timely manner. It happens, and this is not uncommon. However, that would probably imply they were part of the conspiracy to money launder cash if they knew the identity of the original source of funding. So, I would expect these funds to be treated as illegal anonymous contributions. In Washington State, it seems likely the enforcement agency (the PDC) would treat these funds this way and the money would be forfeit. This doesn’t mean the campaign gets to donate it to their favorite charity or friends running a non-profit. They must forfeit the funds to the state treasurer where the money would be deposited in the general fund and squandered along with the rest of our tax dollars.
I am unfamiliar with how these forfeit funds would be distributed in other states or at the Federal Level, but I will update this article with that information once I am certain.
If we can identify the source of the original funds – the people setting up and facilitating this scheme are absolutely liable. Sam Bankman Fried – the well-known crypto con artist for the late FTX scam is currently in Federal Court on this very issue (for all we know, some of his client’s money he stole might be part of this ActBlue money laundering operation). However, absent a serious insider whistleblower, we won’t know the true source of the funds unless the Feds get serious about an investigation and can follow the money using subpoena power. Keep in mind, much of the funding that appears to have been laundered ended up in the political campaigns of the most powerful people in this country and in our states. I am unsure how motivated they will be to uncover the truth.
Is ActBlue liable? Most likely. The improbable nature of the transactions, and the thin veneer of legitimacy used to mask these transactions appears so obvious that it is not credible that many of the employees working at ActBlue were not either aware and just looking the other way (the ends justify the means) or they were actively encouraging the behavior. However, there is a lot more digging to do on this front. Again, absent serious whistleblowers or a Federal Investigation, I am certain they are lawyering up and getting their stories straight and making sure they bleachbit (Clinton style) the files and make the harddrives break (IRS style) and simply make the evidence vanish. This is a scandal likely too big to uncover, but we can try.
The initial complaints I plan to file will be against the individual campaigns so that we can start this process of what I expect to be a rash of naughty, naughty letters and unserious investigations, but which might result in forfeiture of illegal funds at some point. I suspect there will be some variation campaign to campaign and in different states. This just helps us get the process going, and in the rare and unlikely case that we discover an honest investigating agency or individual, perhaps they will uncover more significant leads that can direct us to the next level of criminal activity.
How can you help us?
As I detailed in the video, we need help to document the truth in this case. We need evidence to support the complaints that I (and I presume others) will be filing with the appropriate state and federal agencies against the various entities involved in this apparent money laundering operation. At the state level, I’ve done hundreds of these complaints over the past few years (about 680 so far) and I’ve had some success with sanctions, fines, and settlements (see list here). At the Federal Level, the enforcement mechanisms are slower and probably less efficient, but it is best to start the process now.
I prefer to file complaints with evidence and documentation to better facilitate both the investigation by the official authorities, and to verify that the complaint isn’t frivolous. However, there are some challenges that make this a complicated process and why I am asking for crowdsourcing assistance to make these complaints happen.
The biggest challenge involves geography and legal jurisdictions. The most obvious cases of campaign finance money laundering operation “victims” tend to use fake “donors” from outside the state of the candidate they are supporting (in the case of Federal Congressional or Senate campaigns or State races for Governor, etc). This means the local people who care about these races would have to doorbell or contact fake “donors” in other states. In my home state of Washington, most of these fake “donors” were used to funnel funds to campaigns in Texas or Georgia, or New York – for example.
So, in Washington State we can use our teams of volunteers to contact the fake “donors” to help prep the complaints against mostly out of state campaigns. This is fairly simple and we already have a number of people doing this now. We can always use more help, but this is pretty straightforward right now. For convenience, we are matching volunteer doorbellers with the fake “donors” who live closest to them (Spokane volunteers matched with Spokane fake “donors”, Clark County volunteers with Camas fake “donors”, etc). This just keeps it efficient and easy.
Here is a good local website which has detailed the process of finding the fake “donors” near you. Go there if you want to put together your own list from the source files –
For those volunteers outside Washington State who can visit the fake “donors” who made questionable contributions to recent candidates in our state, we will need some help. Again, we can provide the list of these people near you and we only ask you visit and verify that the victim (fake Donor) was unaware of how their identities were used to launder the cash.
Please note, it is likely that the investigating agency will follow up directly with those fake donors to verify the facts. They better do this, but our initial efforts will help point them in the right direction and we need to document it enough to facilitate that process.
For the LOVE of GOD and common sense, please read this below BEFORE you doorbell:
If you are doorbelling, for the love of God and all that is rational and good on this planet, please be professional, courteous and follow the basic steps I outline below. If it sounds like I am being condescending when I describe these steps to you – please understand that I have been involved in managing teams of hundreds of doorbellers and I’ve seen it all, and there is no excuse for you to make the same dumb mistakes made by others.
- Wear neutral, professional clothing. Don’t wear camouflage, political t-shirts, or anything that makes some type of narcissistic political statement. Please. You are looking to discover the truth, not have some type of confrontation or make some type of statement. You are at someone else’s home. Be respectful of this fact. They are most likely a victim and they will probably be shocked someone did this to them (even if they did support the candidate to whom the cash flowed).
- Please remember most people have Ring Cameras today – they can see and hear every word you say as you approach the house. Be quiet, professional and courteous. Say nothing that you don’t want to be recorded and played on YouTube in the future.
- Do not videotape your encounter. Some people might want to do this anyway. I suggest you don’t because that can be offensive (remember you are at their house), and state laws vary on the legality of doing this. Please remember, these people are probably, in most cases, victims of the money laundering scheme. They are likely to be in shock. Just verify the facts, and courteously let them get on with their day.
- Go with a partner. Not a crowd. Just go with one other person (think about it – would you open your door to some , also dressed appropriately and professionally. This will allow you to have a second witness to the statements made by the victimized fake “Donor.”
- Once you are outside of Ring Camera distance and back into your car, please transcribe, to the best of your ability the interaction you had with the person. Their name, address, date, and time of contact. Identify yourself and your partner and outline what you witnessed. Please note: in most cases the victim (fake “donor”) probably only made one or a few contributions, possibly not even to the same campaign. Based on what we are seeing they are unaware of the other thousands of contributions. It is okay if you want to let them know they may be contacted by an official investigating agency (we can’t be certain whether it is the FEC, FBI, or a local law enforcement agency – so you can’t honestly tell them which one, but it helps if they know this).
- When your data is compiled, please email a photo of the report, or scan of the report, or summary of the report to email@example.com and we will compile these reports into formal complaints to file with the appropriate agencies once we have enough data collected. This is what gets the process started.
I’m sure you have more questions and those questions would be similar to other questions that others might have – feel free to leave them in the comments section below so that I can respond publicly and others can see the answers as well.
Thank you in advance to all who are willing to help on this project. We have a lot of work to do and we should move forward with deliberation, efficiency and focus. No time to waste.
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