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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

OPINION:

“In our democracy, the outcome of elections must be left to voters — not special interests.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote those words in support of the Disclose Act, a bill that Senate Democrats resurrected last week to combat “dark money” in political campaigns that was shot down by Senate Republicans.

Of course, Mrs. Pelosi uses the term “dark money” to attack conservatives while she literally stands shoulder to shoulder with liberal mega-donor George Soros. But set that hypocrisy aside for a minute. I’m more concerned by the fact that, even as Democrats advocate greater transparency in politics, they are allowing foreign influencers to make illegal donations to American political organizations.


Yes, you read that correctly. In a massive oversight, federal law does not require legally designated political organizations to ask for donors’ card verification values (CVVs), which is the standard way to protect against online donations from fraudulent accounts.

When it comes to political donations, verification is common sense. That is why almost all organizations require CVVs. Think about it: Can you remember a time when you made an online credit card transaction and did not have to enter your three-digit security code? Online political donations shouldn’t be any different. 

Even most campaigns and political action committees require CVVs. They know that anti-American regimes use fake accounts and automated donations run by computer programs to influence U.S. policy, and they would rather lose out on funds than let enemy governments undermine our elections’ integrity.

There is one highly notable exception, however. ActBlue — the largest left-wing political organization in the country, which raised almost $4 billion for more than 21,000 Democratic candidates, committees and groups in the 2020 cycle alone — does not require CVVs for donations.

That’s right. While Democrats indulge conspiracy theories about cabals in dark rooms propping up Republican politicians, and label organizations “hate groups” simply for supporting conservative candidates, their own organizations may be receiving funds from the likes of Putin’s Kremlin and the Chinese Communist Party. This is the real “dark money” people should be talking about.

It wouldn’t take much for ActBlue to update its protocol. The fact that it leaves itself open to illegal foreign donations indicates either gross incompetence or a willingness to sacrifice the common good for dollars. Both are bad, and both are a danger to our democratic republic.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. I’ve introduced legislation that would require legally designated political organizations, like ActBlue, to ask for donors’ CVVs — or else lose their tax-exempt status. It’s a simple, nonintrusive way to protect American political campaigns from hostile foreign actors seeking to undermine the U.S. I hope my Democratic colleagues in Congress see the value of this bill and pass it immediately. Otherwise, it will be an admission of rank hypocrisy.

You cannot credibly support election integrity unless you’re also willing to secure political organizations from fraud and illegal foreign donations. When the most vocal Democrats championing the DISCLOSE Act are totally silent on ActBlue, it shows their greatest motive is merely for power at all costs.

• Marco Rubio is an American politician and lawyer serving as the senior United States senator from Florida, a seat he has held since 2011. 


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