Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign has won $16 million in contributions via unverified credit-contributions from people claiming to be unemployed — and he now needs to put his money where his mouth is on campaign finance reform.
According to The New Yorker, Feb. 5, 2016:
Let’s talk about why, in the nineteen-nineties, Wall Street got deregulated. Did it have anything to do with the fact that Wall Street provided—spent billions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions? Well, some people might think, yeah, that had some influence … Do you think there’s a reason why not one Republican has the guts to recognize that climate change is real? … a reason why these people are putting huge amounts of money into our political system.
Some of his reform proposals are supported by everyone from conservatives to Hillary Clinton, such as the need for an executive order to ensure government contractors reveal millions of dollars in political contributions before receiving billions in tax dollars, which was the subject of a White House rally with Gov. Jim Gilmore and a Washington Times op-ed.
However, the top campaign finance pledge on Sanders’ webpage is to nominate a Supreme Court Judge who will overrule a specific decision, Citizens United vs. FEC, the kind of “litmus test” for judges that liberals traditionally attack.
The only campaign finance reform measure Sanders seems to oppose is the one that impacts him, HR4177, which would require him to fully verify who his millions of donors are, instead of letting him continue to be the only Presidential candidate to opt out of bank verification. This occurs at the same time a part of the political-industrial complex “bundled” most of the $16 million to his campaign from 235,000 non-working people.
Many people seeking employment and retired people have given to Sanders, but no donor has any way to verify who else might be giving in someone else’s name. That’s because Sanders is the only remaining presidential candidate who refuses to let banks use the normal verification process of cross-checking a credit card to the name of the donor.
That failure to verify, plus the fact that many donors are not listing an employer, has created the exact process that many progressive groups complained about in Wisconsin, and eliminates almost any chance of identifying illegal donations that are being funneled under the false name of non-donors.
Instead, Sanders uses a vendor called “Act Blue” to collect his donations. That group is part of the huge political-industrial complex that makes big money from campaigns.
Townhall.com and other conservative outlets quoted a Government Accountability Institute report regarding the potential for illegal foreign contributions coming into President Obama’s campaign as early as 2008— buried in the hundreds of millions of dollars in unverified credit card contributions. Even assuming that no such money at all came through in 2008, a loophole left open for eight years is bound to attract illegal contributions.
Why not close it and simply have the bank use their normal process of verifying the donor’s three digit CVS code and that the address entered matches an actual American address?
My group, the Take Back Action Fund, supports a draft law which would require candidates to let banks use their normal verification process
The law, H.R. 4177, is championed by conservative Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona.
The Sanders’ campaign immediately reacted when H.R. 4177 was introduced, stating in an article in Al-Jazeera America that the measure was “a solution in search of a problem.”
No politician has benefited more from talking about campaign-finance reform, but now it’s time for him to lead by example and not just words.
Sanders is the only remaining Presidential candidate who refuses to allow banks to run their normal verification of credit card information to make sure his donors are who they say they are, according to a story by the non-profit Center for Public Integrity.
It is hypocritical for Senator Sanders to give victory speeches bragging about millions of donors provided by a huge political bundler, Act Blue, and then complain about other candidates being owned by people who contribute much less.
If Sanders wants to be taken seriously in his criticisms of others on campaign finance reform, he needs to lead by example and allow banks to verify the information on credit card contributions to prevent fraudulent donations to his campaign.
John Pudner is president of Take Back Action Fund, a group seeking conservative solutions to campaign finance reform.