An affluent 80-year-old woman from the Midwest made 9,000 small donations to political candidates and causes over a 4 year period, totaling over $330,000, according to federal election records. However, according to the woman, she wasn't the one making the donations. "That would not slip by me," the woman said. "If I was losing money, I'd know it. It wasn't my money."
"I am a frequent and generous giver. I estimate I contribute about 50 times per year. I know every penny I donate," she added. Another peculiar element of the woman's story is that, according to the Federal Election Commission, small donations were still appearing in her name well after she had stopped donating, reported The Epoch Times.
A national election integrity watchdog organization, Election Watch, has started asking questions about more than 10,000 individual donors whose names are listed on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) database as each having contributed thousands of times in 4 years.
The data is confusing to investigators as surveys have shown that American political contributors donate, on average, far fewer times in a year.
Another alleged donor, according to the FEC database, is a 77-year-old woman from Colorado. She supposedly donated more than 59,000 times in separate donations totaling more than $279,000 during the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, and there are others.
When asked about the unusual donations, FEC spokesman Christian Hilland said, "I wouldn't be able to speculate or comment on specific financial activity."
"However, duplicate contributions may appear in our database if they were earmarked through a conduit committee," he added.
"The same contribution is reported by both the conduit committee and the recipient committee," Hilland explained.
"It is the responsibility of a committee's treasurer to monitor contributions to ensure that they comply with the legal limits and source prohibitions of federal campaign finance law and agency regulations," Hilland concluded.
A computer analyst with Election Watch, Christopher Gleason, commented on the FEC's explanation saying, "We are not just seeing duplications. We are looking at thousands of transactions recorded in FEC reports showing individual donors making multiple small contributions dozens of times a day, week in and week out, to the same recipient."
The suspicious donations are characterized partly by their repetitive patterns. Another alleged donor made over 37,000 separate minuscule donations during the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, with a few donations being made in early 2023. Most of those donations were made to a handful of political action committees in tiny contributions of $3 and $5. One PAC is listed in the FEC database as having received 10-15 of the small donations in a single day on multiple days. The pattern continued for several years. The son of the donor with the multiple small daily donations believes that targeted "fund-raging" messages were sent to his 80-year-old father repeatedly seeking political donations. The son told The Epoch Times in an interview, "I knew my dad was an active donor, but I had no idea it was that often and that much. He will click on anything."
Also appearing in the FEC database are slight deviations or variations of known donors' names and addresses. "When thousands of names are listed on official FEC records donating thousands of times per year that in itself raises questions. And so do the derivations that clearly stem from those original names," Gleason said.
One donor in the database has 24 different variations of their personal identity information listed in the database. According to Draza Smith, a licensed engineer and computer control specialist on the Election Watch team, "The differences appear to be deliberate. These are not mistakes that are found and then corrected on next year's report. They remain year after year."
According to Smith, the same phenomenon is happening on Florida voter registration rolls as well.
Gleason believes that a computer program is behind the repetitious donations and not just click-happy elderly adults. "In my opinion, it is behaviorally impossible for thousands of Americans to each be making thousands of donations per year. It is so methodical and structured that it appears to be done by a computer program," he said.
The Election Watch team, including Gleason, profiled the most prolific donors around the nation. The study found that the majority of them are "unemployed, elderly, white, flaming liberals that hate Trump" and are from affluent neighborhoods.
Gleason said of the most prolific donors, "They are good prospects for bad actors because these people may not be very computer-savvy or financially vigilant and already have an established record of making numerous online donations."
Peter Bernegger, an Election Watch investigator, mentioned a disturbing point saying, "Some of the largest credit card processing services dealing with the collection and distribution of political contributions do not verify credit cards. And some charge a small fee per transaction." Two of the most successful of this type of organization are ActBlue, a Democrat fundraising powerhouse, and WinRed, which is the Republican equivalent.
Investigations into the repetitious small donations are beginning to crop up with Maryland attorney, CPA, and election integrity crusader, Walter Charlton, announcing that he will be hiring private investigators to contact the most prolific donors in his state to determine whether or not their names are being used to make political contributions without their knowledge. It will be interesting to see what conclusions his investigators come to.
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