House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has allegedly not spent a single dime matching campaign donations even though she promised personally to do so in at least 50 emails to her supporters.
The emails were sent by Pelosi for Congress, the House Speaker’s campaign committee, between January and April according to Axios who conducted an analysis of a political email archive maintained by researchers at Princeton University.
FEC records indicate that Pelosi has not given any of her personal wealth to her campaign. The slight goes beyond breaking a promise made repeatedly. It may create a legal mess for the Speaker of the House if a recent Department of Justice decision is heeded.
Deceptive political fundraising tactics are evidently being scrutinized. “Pelosi’s campaign has gone a step further than most — promising that she herself would put up those matching funds. It hasn’t reported any such contributions,” Axios noted.
“This is so critical, I’m personally 4x-matching all gifts for these final 24 hours,” Pelosi stated in a typical email in January. Her fundraising emails have ostensibly continued through last week.
Jan Baran, who is a campaign finance attorney and a partner at Holtzman Vogel Baran Torchinsky Josefiak PLLC, is all for the DOJ’s regulation of emails when it comes to fundraising utilizing the “donation matching” strategy.
“You can do that if it’s true, but usually fundraising professionals who send out that type of message know it’s not true, and if you intentionally misrepresent something to take somebody’s money away from them that’s going to be fraud,” Baran informed Campaigns & Elections.
Then there is federal wire fraud law:
Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
It’s common for politicians to promise matching donations to solicit donations from supporters. Even though campaign finance laws put a limit on the amount that someone can donate during an election cycle, there is no limit on how much a candidate can give to their own campaign. Wealthier candidates have the means to offer this green carrot to supporters in order to raise funds. Pelosi’s reported net worth in 2018 was $114.66 million.
Pelosi’s campaign raised over $4 million in the first quarter of 2021. It is unclear how much its matching-offer solicitations produced. More than half of the Q1 funds raised reportedly came from donations of under $200. The matching tactic typically attracts small donors such as these.
In the 2020 election cycle, candidates and donors spent a whopping new record of $14.4 billion according to the data site Open Secrets.
Pelosi is a legendary fundraising powerhouse for Democrats. She has raised tens of millions of dollars in 2020 alone. Unsurprisingly, neither Pelosi nor her campaign have been available for comment yet.
There is no love lost on Twitter for Pelosi:
Have you seen how much her ice cream costs?
— ericontrarian (@eriContrarian) May 25, 2021
Pelosi not only used shady fundraising practices, but has also ducked debates for over 30 years and runs the House like an autocrat.
She claimed to fight Trump, while embodying many of his practices—and supporting many of his policies.
We’re eager to force her into retirement. https://t.co/RJXnZT4Rfk
— Shahid Buttar for Congress (@ShahidForChange) May 25, 2021
This sounds dishonest. I’m a little less impressed with madam speaker now. Also, how did she become a high-net-worth individual as a public servant?
On the plus side, she dresses much better than Rachel @Maddow
— Lieutenant Kijé (@BrianLemaire2) May 25, 2021
Pony up Pelosi
— Shelaugh99 (@shelagh99) May 25, 2021
She is a liar!
— LM (@LPMPHI) May 25, 2021
— A #1, Emperor of the North Pole (@railboss) May 25, 2021
She lies. Every day. All day. pic.twitter.com/9BHZtneO2I
— SeeJaneVote (@janiedelaney) May 25, 2021
Nancy pelosi is a crook
— People’s Court Justice (@EsqGirl) May 25, 2021
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