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OPINION

$4.7 Million in Small Amounts of Money Donated to Democrats – Apparently Without the Donors’ Knowledge

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Investigative journalist James O’Keefe and Election Watch have stumbled upon a bizarre occurrence in Democratic campaign filings; thousands of small donations totaling often close to a couple of hundred thousand dollars per person made to Democrats from elderly Democrats. It seemed rather strange that these elderly people, who appear to almost all life in average homes and are unemployed, would contribute excessive donations, which average out to multiple donations a day for years. Who makes donations like that? Some people sign up to contribute once a month, which is normal, not multiple times a day.

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Suspicious money laundering may have been occurring, with donations made using the old folks’ names and addresses since they were less likely to discover them than younger people. O’Keefe, who started OMG Media Group after parting ways with Project Veritas, showed up at the homes of several of the elderly people, who have been dubbed “Smurfs,” to confront them about the excessive contributions. They all appeared to be Democrats of modest means who seemed confused and generally denied making anything but small amounts. 

One of the biggest recipients of the small amounts of donations was Janet for Justice, the campaign of Janet Protasiewicz, who narrowly won her Wisconsin Supreme Court race, tipping the balance on the court in favor of Democrats. 

Election Watch suspects the money could be coming from overseas interests since the small amounts correlate to currency exchange differences. The strange contributions totaled $4.7 million. They are all publicly available in plain view on the FEC’s website. 

O’Keefe and his team showed up at the home of Michael Jamieson in Maryland, who had allegedly contributed 3,000 times totaling 32,000. When asked about the donations, Jamieson, whose employment was listed as “unemployed,” opened his rundown-looking door, ranted about Donald Trump, and said, “Stop f****** with me.” 

O’Keefe stopped by the home of Cindy Nowe, who allegedly contributed 1,000 times to ActBlue, totaling $18,000. She told him she donated to ActBlue for “$5 once in a while” because she has “various charities” she likes to give to. When he asked her if she’d donated $18,000, she said no.

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O’Keefe visited Carolyn Lenz in Tucson, who reportedly donated $170,000 through 18,000 separate contributions within the past seven years. When confronted by O’Keefe’s team, she said, “no, no, no, no, no” and kept repeating, “Absolutely not.”  

Garland Riggs, who is 80 years old, allegedly made 31,000 contributions totaling $230,000. He told O’Keefe he didn’t make those donations and that his wife may have donated to ActBlue. His wife said it was no way near that amount, not even $1,000 a year. 

Brightline Investigations’ Kyle Corrigan, part of the Election Watch team, confronted a man named Richard in Wisconsin about allegedly donating 8,000 times. He responded, “That seems a little odd; that seems too high. Maybe $800.” He said he only donates once a month. 

Corrigan also confronted Wisconsin resident Dale Wing about 11,000 donations over seven years, which is about four times a day. He appeared to deny it. Cindy Grossberg, also in Wisconsin, said it didn’t sound accurate that she had made 4,000 donations and said she does not have contributions debited monthly from her account.

In Southern California, citizen journalists tracked down Penelope Harms in southern California about 1,800 donations totaling $13,000. Harms responded, “That doesn’t sound right.” They also stopped by the home of Lori Ball, who allegedly made about 500 donations totaling $7,000. Ball denied donating seven times in one day, and said she merely donates $5 per month.  

Similarly, Jan Weisburg in Southern California, who reportedly contributed $60,000 to $5,000 per month over the past year, said, “No, I can’t do that” and suggested, “someone is using my name.” 

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The story is getting legs, with RealClearPolitics, The Post Millennial, The American Spectator and others covering it. The American Spectator’s Scott McKay tracked down New Orleans resident Cornelius Maneux who allegedly contributed to ActBlue 800 times within two years totaling $18,000. Maneux’s status is unemployed and the address listed as his home on the campaign finance report is a modest duplex.  

Democrats finding themselves on the list are beginning to speak up. One admitted on Twitter they had not made donations to ActBlue reflected on the FEC’s site. 

Considering all of the Smurfs discovered so far are over 65, there are concerns that this involves not just campaign finance laws, identity theft, and possible money laundering, but also elder abuse. However, one sleuth said he attempted to talk to a Smurf and could not get a response since they’re now being warned. 

This isn’t the first time ActBlue has been accused of strange donations. An investigation by the Take Back Action Fund in 2020 discovered that nearly half of all 2019 donations to ActBlue were made by people claiming to be unemployed, totaling $346 million. In contrast, only 4% of donations that year to the GOP’s WinRed came from people who were unemployed or who did not list their employer. 

Concerned parties in Maryland have filed a lawsuit over the strange donations. O’Keefe encourages others to confront the Smurfs discovered by Election Watch. Election Watch lists the Smurfs on its website. 

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But will any prosecutors or law enforcement investigate? Left-wing billionaire George Soros, his family, and organizations have been contributing heavily to DA and sheriff races around the country in recent years in order to oust conservatives and replace them with far-left law enforcement. In Arizona, for example, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was defeated and replaced with Democrat Paul Penzone, and the Attorney General is far left Democrat Kris Mayes. This is likely why no law enforcement anywhere around the country appears to have announced an investigation.

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