Unless you have a solid reason to trust the people running a PAC, always assume they will steal or waste a significant portion of any contributions you give them. That's why it's always better to give directly to candidates, not to groups like the DCCC, DSCC, End Citizens United, EMILY's List etc. These groups hire their cronies as consultants and spend gi-normous amounts of money on all sorts of things not related to electing the candidates they are using to get your attention. I've seen it for years both from Republican crooks and from Democratic crooks. One of the PACs just busted up was Progressive Priorities. I hope you never gave them anything. They never gave a cent to a candidate or spent money on behalf of a candidate. Every cent was used for themselves, lining their pockets and using robocalls and other means to raise money money-- hundreds of thousands of dollars contributors thought was going to help Democrats.
It's also worth mentioning that candidates are given much better ad rates than PACs and they will use your contributions much more wisely and efficiently. This is an ActBlue page for progressives running for the House. This is one for progressives running for the Senate. This one is to turn Texas blue and this one is to turn California bluer. This one is to say thanks for the 6 progressives who actually did hold the line last Friday and this one is for progressives who appear to be future leaders, running for state legislative seats. And the thermometer above? Click it; it will take you to a page dedicated to helping progressives replace reactionary Blue Dogs. Pick the candidate or candidates you like; the contributions go directly to their bank accounts.
Late yesterday, the NY Times published a report by Shane Goldmacher, on scam PACs who have bilked small donors. The Department of Justice charged 3 men from two PACs<> with, among other things, money laundering, lying and wire fraud. "Matthew Nelson Tunstall, 34, of Los Angeles, California; Robert Reyes, Jr., 38, of Hollister, California; and Kyle George Davies, 29, of Austin, Texas, solicited contributions to Liberty Action Group PAC and Progressive Priorities PAC under the guise that the PACs were affiliated with or meaningfully supporting specified candidates for public office. Between January 2016 and April 2017, the defendants obtained approximately $3.5 million from unwitting donors based on false and misleading representations and used those funds to enrich themselves and to pay for additional fraudulent advertisements soliciting donations. Tunstall and Reyes are also alleged to have laundered more than $350,000 in illegal proceeds from the scheme through a third-party vendor to conceal the use of those funds for their own benefit."
In other words, they were stealing money from both Clinton and Trump supporters and putting it into their own pockets. Its a more gross version of what "legitimate" PACs so, but along the same lines. Goldmacher wrote that they defrauded people out of $3.5 million in 2016 and 2017.
One of the three men charged, Matthew Tunstall, 34, of Los Angeles, has drawn scrutiny for years over the activities of his political action committees, which he has continued to operate. This year, CNN reported on the lavish lifestyle of Mr. Tunstall, who poses as an internet influencer under the name Matte Nox, flashing Gucci rings, wearing designer accessories and driving a black Porsche.
In social media photos, Mr. Tunstall sometimes appears shirtless, exposing a tattoo on his chest that reads “God Will Give Me Justice.”
On Wednesday, the Justice Department said that the two PACs linked to Mr. Tunstall had spent heavily to recruit small donors under false and misleading pretenses, including through robocalls that impersonated President Donald J. Trump.
The indictment, which also includes Robert Reyes Jr., 38, of Hollister, Calif., and Kyle George Davies, 29, of Austin, Texas, accused the operatives of defrauding donors through two entities, Liberty Action Group and the Progressive Priorities Political Action Committee.
“Between January 2016 and April 2017, the defendants obtained approximately $3.5 million from unwitting donors based on false and misleading representations and used those funds to enrich themselves and to pay for additional fraudulent advertisements soliciting donations,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
If convicted on all counts, Mr. Tunstall and Mr. Reyes face a maximum of 125 years in prison, and Mr. Davies faces 65 years.
The charges are notable in part because there are numerous political groups that raise money from unsuspecting small donors and then spend most of the funds not on actual politicking but on themselves, often directing cash to companies owned by the operatives behind the groups.
Paul S. Ryan, the vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, a watchdog group, called the indictment “good news for democracy and small donors,” adding that Mr. Tunstall was perhaps the best known of the fund-raising operatives taking advantage of donors in this way.
“This should send a sign to potential scam artists that the Department of Justice is watching,” Mr. Ryan said.
This year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned consumers that “scam PACs are on the rise.” Other scam PAC operators have faced charges, including one who pleaded guilty to wire fraud in May after he created PACs that purported to support both Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. last year.
While the charges cover activities in 2016 and 2017, Mr. Tunstall has continued to operate groups that have raised millions of dollars through 2021. One group, the Support American Leaders PAC, raised nearly $3 million in 2019 and 2020 and disclosed nearly $700,000 in direct payments to Mr. Tunstall.
The Support American Leaders PAC was accused of using Mr. Trump’s name and likeness to solicit contributions, and in 2019 Mr. Trump’s campaign sent a “disavowal notice” to the F.E.C.
That group’s activities were not in the charges that were announced on Wednesday.
Mr. Ryan said he expected that a superseding indictment would eventually cover Mr. Tunstall’s past four years of activity. He noted that the charges filed were made under financial crimes statutes and not under campaign finance law. And he urged federal lawmakers to stiffen the existing campaign-finance rules to better protect small contributors.
“Congress really needs to act here,” Mr. Ryan said.
Generally when a PAC uses scare tactics to ask for money that goes into their own account rather than to the candidate's account, it's safe to assume that they're are crooks. Just don't get suckered into it.
I want to say something about Blue America, which I've been running since 2006. No one gets a salary. No gets their expenses paid. When people contribute some monet to the PAC instead of to the candidates, it all gets used to support candidates or we turn it around and send it to candidates. That's a very small amount. Of the over $6,000,000 we've raised, the amount that's come to the PAC is probably around $30,000. We don't even charge the PAC for postage stamps. We have run ads for candidates like this one that was written by two of the guys froth Squirrel Nut Zippers-- Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher-- and sung by Rickie Lee Jones and produced by Andy Paley. Everyone donated their services. Even the recording studio got on board and let us use it without charge. The song helped elect half a dozen candidates, including Chris Murphy, then running for Congress for the first time, now a U.S. senator.
More recently, a singer and songwriter from Massachusetts, Jim Lough, wrote a song for us, "You," that we hope to turn into an ad to help replace corrupt New Dem Rick Larsen with progressive champion Jason Call. Take a look: