Monday, December 10, 2007

ActBlue is Not a PAC

John Edwards has asked the Federal Elections Commission to rule on whether he can get public matching funds for the contributions that have been made to his campaign by ActBlue.

The FEC is making it difficult. It says ActBlue is a PAC (Political Action Committee) even though obviously it's not. It's just a mechanism that allows small donors to donate, and to ask their friends to donate, to candidates they like. The FEC is interpreting the law literally (do you really care about the details? Kos explains them here) rather than upholding the spirit of federal election laws which are supposed to let small donors participate.

They are accepting public comments. Your comment can help the FEC interpret the laws the way they were meant to be interpreted. Sent public comments to to the FEC Secretary, Mary Dove, at this address:

The deadline for the submission of comments is 12:00pm noon (Eastern Time) on December 13,2007.

You can use my letter if you like (note that it says I am voting for Obama, you'll need to change that if you are for another candidate). My letter is adapted from a letter helpfully posted by Lynne at BlueMassGroup (thanks Lynne!).

Dear Ms. Dove,

Please accept this email as an official public comment in opposition to the FEC categorizing ActBlue as a PAC for purposes of a candidate's eligibility for public matching funds.

ActBlue is simply a mechanism to set up online fundraising. The rules governing public matching funds are intended to keep big money out of politics, so that small donors can still have influence on the political process.

ActBlue encourages small donors to campaigns, by allowing individuals to set up a place for people to send the same sort of individual donation that you might do directly through a candidate's website or by sending them a check.

By ruling them ineligible for matching funds, you would be stifling small donor participation in the process of donations. While ActBlue only allows one political party to participate, there is nothing stopping any other party from setting up the same mechanism online, and I believe any political party should be accorded the same ruling.

Please allow ActBlue donations to count towards public matching funds. I say this as a voter who intends to vote for Barack Obama in the primary, so I have no reason to want Senator Edwards (who is as I understand the impetus for clarifying this rule) to gain advantage by getting this money. I just believe in fairness and want to ensure that the rules governing our elections encourage instead of discourage public the rules were intended to do. ActBlue is a poster child for the spirit of democratic participation. Please do not let your ruling stifle that.


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