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Graham wants to review sources of ActBlue small-dollar donations, some Senate Republicans agree

The incumbent senator's Democratic opponent out raised him by more than 100% during the third quarter of 2020, with help from the liberal tech nonprofit.

Updated: October 21, 2020 - 11:38am

Sen. Lindsey Graham is calling for a review of the sources of the massive numbers of small-dollar donations that have been flowing through Democratic fundraising group ActBlue and others like it.

Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is facing a tough re-election bid in South Carolina, where Democratic opponent Jaime Harrison has received a flood campaign donations in the final weeks of his campaign.

Harrison has raised roughly $57 million, with at least some of the money having been solicited and funneled through ActBlue.

Graham says that Congress has no idea of who is behind the massive inflows of cash aiding his challenger and other Democrats running this cycle.

 “Where’s all this money coming from ActBlue coming from?," Graham asked in a recent Hill newspaper story. "How easy would it be to just have a bunch of pre-paid credit cards?”

ActBlue is a technology nonprofit, founded in 2004 to help Democratic candidates and liberal political groups effectively accumulate donations from small-dollar donors. In the third quarter of 2020 alone, ActBlue has funneled $1.5 billion in small-dollar contributions to Democratic candidates.

“Where is all this money coming from? You don’t have to report it if it’s below $200. When this election is over with, I hope there will be a sitting down and finding out, ‘OK, how do we control this?’ It just seems to be an endless spiral," said Graham. 

"Anytime you set up these types of systems people can figure out how to exploit the systems. I think it's probably a very legitimate avenue for inquiry," said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin. "I think the amount of money being spent on these campaigns is grotesque."