Political Party/527

ActBlue (PAC)

Website:

actblue.com

Location:

Somerville, MA, USA

Type:

527 Political Action Committee

Formation:

2009

Also Known As:

ActBlue Technical Services

ActBlue (Technical Services) is a 527 political action committee started in 2009 to act as “the online clearinghouse for Democratic action.”[1] It is the 527 PAC affiliate of the nonprofit ActBlue Charities and the activist organization ActBlue Civics, which perform similar pass-through roles for 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations, respectively.

The ActBlue website was launched in 2004 by Ben Rahn and Matt DeBergalis as a fundraising platform for left-wing organizations and candidates.[2] The ActBlue PAC was formed five years later in 2009. [3] According to its own figures, ActBlue has helped to raise $2.4 billion for its clients since its creation.[4]

ActBlue is divided into three component organizations, each of which deals with a specific type of donation. ActBlue Non-Federal deals with contributions to state-level candidates and political action committees, ActBlue Civics manages contributions to 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, and ActBlue Charities manages contributions to 501(c)(3) nonprofits.[5]

As part of its fundraising service, ActBlue provides fundraising software that allows its clients to maximize their fundraising activity without building out their own fundraising platform. These tools are available on all three of the organization’s platforms.[6]

Campaign Contributions

ActBlue Non-Federal has contributed to 13 other PACs since 2004.[7] Donation recipients include the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Progressive Change Campaign, and the Collective PAC.

2018 Election Cycle

In August 2018, ActBlue surpassed $1 billion in contributions to Democratic Party PACs and political candidates for the 2018 election cycle. This amount accumulated through small-dollar donations, which averaged $34.[8]

As a reaction to the high number of small-dollar donations ActBlue receives, some Republican Party politicians voiced concerns in October 2018 that there is no ActBlue equivalent aiding Republicans, leaving them in a fundraising disadvantage.[9] Representative Jim Banks (R-Indiana) on October 23rd started StopSpeakerPelosi.com to raise small-dollar donations averaging $46 evenly distributed for 23 crucial GOP house elections needed to maintain a majority. As of October 26th, the organization has raised nearly $67,000.[10] Among the campaigns supported by StopSpeakerPelosi, it includes Representatives Rod Blum (R-Iowa), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Barbara Comstock (R-Virginia), David Brat (R-Virginia), and Carlos Curbelo (R-Florida).[11]

Client List

ActBlue publishes a client list of[12] political action committees that use ActBlue’s website as a way to raise funds. [13] This list of solely left-of-center groups includes: Color of Change PAC, the Collective PAC, and 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Onward Together PAC.[14][15] [16]

Controversies

Hurricane Michael (2018)

On October 11, 2018, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) released an email and a tweet urging people to donate to ActBlue for hurricane relief, despite the organization’s role as a Democratic Party fundraising service and not a disaster relief charity.[17]

Leadership

Matt DeBergalis, chairman of the board of directors, and Benjamin Rahn, advisor to the board chair and former executive director, co-founded ActBlue in 2004. [18] [19]

Erin Hill serves as executive director of ActBlue. [20]

Jonathan Zucker, the founder of It Starts Today, worked at ActBlue from 2005 to 2008 as chief operations officer and counsel, senior strategist, executive director, and as a member of the organization’s board of directors. [21] Prior to his tenure at ActBlue, Zucker acted as the national director of operations for finance at the Democratic National Committee.[22][23]

Patriot Pass

After the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, Republican figures such as Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna McDaniel agreed to promote a new small-dollar donation internet platform called “Patriot Pass” to rival ActBlue. The intention is to combine the RNC’s voter data bank (Data Trust) and the Trump campaign’s donation processor (Revv) to form the new platform. This is an attempt to consolidate a variety of Republican donation websites and will require other donation platforms like Victory Passport to eventually shut down. While the Republican Party does not intend to launch the website until February 2019 and do not expect it to be an immediate rival to ActBlue, the program has support from National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Emmer (R-MN) and White House aide Jared Kushner. The project is being overseen by Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale. [24]

References

  1. “Where’s the Money?” The Harvard Crimson. Accessed April 24, 2018. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2008/4/30/wheres-the-money-p-alignleftthe-office.
  2. Hartmann, Michael E. “ActBlue Fundraising Platform Strikes Gold — for Liberals | RealClearPolitics.” RealClearPolitics. January 23, 2018. Accessed July 23, 2018. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/01/23/actblue_fundraising_platform_strikes_gold_–_for_liberals_136068.html.
  3. “Business Entity Summary.” Corporations Division. Accessed January 16, 2019. http://corp.sec.state.ma.us/CorpWeb/CorpSearch/CorpSummary.aspx?FEIN=270160261&SEARCH_TYPE=1.
  4. “Billions Raised Online since 2004.” ActBlue. Accessed July 23, 2018. https://secure.actblue.com/.
  5. Hartmann, Michael E. “ActBlue Fundraising Platform Strikes Gold — for Liberals | RealClearPolitics.” RealClearPolitics. January 23, 2018. Accessed July 23, 2018. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/01/23/actblue_fundraising_platform_strikes_gold_–_for_liberals_136068.html.
  6. Castenell, Aimée. “How to Increase Donations on Giving Tuesday with ActBlue.” Fission Strategy. October 17, 2016. Accessed July 23, 2018. https://fissionstrategy.com/now-nonprofits-can-increase-donations-on-giving-tuesday-with-actblue/.
  7. “PAC to PAC/Party.” OpenSecrets. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pac2pac.php?cycle=2018&cmte=C00401224.
  8. Schouten, Fredreka. “Exclusive: Fired-up Liberals Raise $1 Billion on Website for Candidates, Causes Ahead of Midterms.” USA Today. August 02, 2018. Accessed August 06, 2018. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/08/02/liberals-donations-through-actblue-top-1-billion-ahead-midterms/884400002/.
  9. Bogorowski, Hanna. “GOP Rep. Jim Banks Launches StopSpeakerPelosi.com In Final Effort To Keep House Majority.” The Daily Caller. October 24, 2018. Accessed October 26, 2018. https://dailycaller.com/2018/10/24/jim-banks-stop-pelosi-midterms/.
  10. “StopSpeakerPelosi.” Support GiveGOP – Anedot. Accessed October 26, 2018. https://secure.anedot.com/givegop/stop-speaker-pelosi/tandem#toggle-tandem.
  11. “StopSpeakerPelosi.” Support GiveGOP – Anedot. Accessed October 26, 2018. https://secure.anedot.com/givegop/stop-speaker-pelosi/tandem#toggle-tandem.
  12. “Directory.” ActBlue. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://secure.actblue.com/directory.
  13. “Directory.” ActBlue. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://secure.actblue.com/directory.
  14. “Directory.” ActBlue. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://secure.actblue.com/directory/all/independent-expenditure.
  15. “Directory.” ActBlue. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://secure.actblue.com/directory/all/org?page=1.
  16. “PAC to PAC/Party.” OpenSecrets. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pac2pac.php?cycle=2018&cmte=C00401224.
  17. Cawthorne, Cameron. “In Fundraising Email for Hurricane Relief, Bill Nelson Directs Users to Group That Builds Donor Lists for Dem Campaigns.” Washington Free Beacon. October 11, 2018. Accessed October 12, 2018. https://freebeacon.com/politics/bill-nelson-sends-fundraising-email-hurricane-relief-build-donor-lists/
  18. “Matt DeBergalis.” LinkedIn. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://www.linkedin.com/in/debergalis/.
  19. “Benjamin Rahn.” LinkedIn. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://www.linkedin.com/in/benrahn/.
  20. “About Us | Meet the Team.” ActBlue. Accessed August 21, 2018. https://secure.actblue.com/about#meet-the-team.
  21. “Jonathan Zucker.” LinkedIn. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanzucker/.
  22. “Jonathan Zucker.” LinkedIn. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanzucker/.
  23. “PAC to PAC/Party.” OpenSecrets. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pac2pac.php?cycle=2018&cmte=C00401224.
  24. Isenstadt, Alex. “Exclusive: GOP Reaches Landmark Agreement to Juice Small-dollar Fundraising.” POLITICO. January 21, 2019. Accessed January 23, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/21/republican-fundraising-patriot-pass-1116642.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Erin Hill
    Executive Director
  2. Marc Laitin
    Director
  3. Jonathan Zucker
    CEO, Former COO
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ActBlue (PAC)

366 Summer st
Somerville, MA 02144
USA