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Politics FEC wants prechecked 'recurring donations' banned after Trump use

00:45  07 may  2021
00:45  07 may  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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The Federal Election Commission is pushing Congress to stop allowing recurring contributions through "prechecked boxes" on political donation pages after former President Donald Trump's campaign's use of the tactic led to a flood of refunds and fraud complaints.

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The commission is an independent federal regulatory agency whose purpose is to enforce campaign finance laws and serve as a watchdog in federal elections. The bipartisan commission has three Democratic commissioners and three Republicans, appointed by Trump, all six of whom came together Thursday to ask Congress to protect online donors by banning political campaigns from using prechecked boxes.

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The commission does not have the authority to change the law and require the consent of all online donors before they are enrolled in schemes that take donations from them on a recurring basis. Only Congress has the authority.

The Trump campaign operation, including its political action committees, was strapped for cash last fall and used the prechecked boxes tactic to try and raise more money without making it clear to donors they would be making weekly donations instead of a one-time contribution. This led to a large number of donor refund requests and fraud complaints to credit card companies, according to an investigation by the New York Times.

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The practice led to the Trump campaign operation having to refund more than $122 million to online supporters during the 2020 campaign, 10.7% of what it had raised through WinRed, the conservative online fundraising tool. In contrast, President Joe Biden's campaign operation in 2020 had to refund 2.2%, or $21 million, of all online donations processed on ActBlue, the liberal fundraising platform.

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Longtime Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub was particularly vocal about protecting donors from confusing fundraising strategies.

"Very pleased that the FEC unanimously agreed to send a great list of legislative recommendations to Congress today, including asking for a ban on the pre-checked boxes that set up recurring donations, which have misled too many donors. Over to you, Congress!" Weintraub said in a tweet on Thursday afternoon.

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WinRed continues to allow the use of prechecked donation boxes, including to help raise money for Trump's new political action committee. ActBlue also allows campaigns to use the prechecked box tool, including for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, but has said it will phase out the use of the tactic in the near future.

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Tags: News, Policy, Donald Trump, FEC, 2020 Elections, Federal Election Commission, Election Fraud, Trump campaign

Original Author: Nihal Krishan

Original Location: FEC wants prechecked 'recurring donations' banned after Trump use

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usr: 2
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