Another Potential 2020 Dem Candidate Sends Disaster Relief Email Funneling Potential Donors to ActBlue Website

PAC builds donor lists for Democratic campaigns

Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris / Getty Images
November 19, 2018

Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) sent an email Monday encouraging people to donate money for disaster relief in response to wildfires raging across California, but he did not disclose the included links directed users to the website of Democratic group ActBlue.

ActBlue, a federally registered political action committee, helps Democratic candidates raise money and saves donor emails for future fundraising efforts.

Two wildfires have been burning in California – the 'Camp Fire' in the northern part of the state and the 'Woolsey Fire' that began outside of Los Angeles – for over a week. At least 80 people have died as a result, and close to 1,000 people are currently missing, according to ABC News.

Booker, who has been floated as a potential 2020 presidential candidate, sent out an email with a list of nonprofit organizations, saying they "are helping victims throughout California."  The nonprofits include Wildfire Relief Fund, Humane Society of Ventura County, United Way of Northern California, Northern California Fire Relief Fund, Caring Choices, and California Fire Foundation, among others.

"Thousands of our country’s brave firefighters and first responders continue to put their lives on the line to rescue as many people as possible and protect communities," the email read. "We all need to do our part to help in any way we can — and one way you can help right now is by supporting non-profit organizations that are helping victims throughout California."

After the list of nonprofits, the email included donation amounts, ranging from $5 to $100. Each link sends users to a page on ActBlue's website asking people to help those displaced by the fires.

ActBlue, launched in 2004, has called itself "the online clearinghouse for Democratic action."

"ActBlue is a nonprofit, building fundraising technology for the left," the organization says on its website. "Democratic campaigns get more donations through ActBlue than any other platform."

"A majority of Democratic Senate and House campaigns—along with the DCCC, DSCC, DGA, over one-third of statewide campaigns, and advocacy organizations around the country—have chosen ActBlue," the website adds, noting that the organization has raised nearly $3 billion for "Democrats and progressive causes" in 14 years.

Booker is at least the second potential 2020 presidential candidate to send out a fundraising email for the California wildfires without disclosing the ActBlue association. Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) also sent out a fundraising email last Thursday.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.) sent out an email last month encouraging people to donate money for hurricane disaster relief in Florida. The email included a list of nonprofit groups that provide aid, and the links also directed potential donors to ActBlue's site.