Today, the Boston Globe ran a story detailing the innovative work of ActBlue, an non-connected political committee that helps Democratic candidates raise money by serving as a conduit for earmarked contributions made through ActBlue’s website.
But one innovation by ActBlue almost didn’t happen.
In November of 2006 ActBlue requested an advisory opinion from the Commission regarding its plan to solicit donations for likely candidates in the 2008 presidential primary. Under their plan, ActBlue would retain these donations until the individuals to whom they are directed register campaign committees with the Commission. Should a prospective candidate decide not to run, or fail to register a campaign committee by a week before the Democratic National Convention, ActBlue would pass funds retained for that prospective candidate to the Democratic National Committee. Donors would be made aware of this arrangement at the outset.
In a draft advisory opinion, the FEC indicated that ActBlue would not be able retain these donations and would have to forward them to prospective candidates within 10 days of receipt. Prospective candidates would then be given 10 days to decide whether or not to return the money, or deposit and handle the money with all the formalities required of announced candidates.
CCP recognized the flaws of the FEC’s reasoning in our comments on the draft opinion (CCP also commented on the alternative draft). Ultimately, the FEC sided with CCP and ruled in favor of ActBlue’s innovation.