This is truly a heartbreaking tale. You should probably keep a tissue handy.
Out in California, one of many groups which have sprung up promising to help the left #RESIST Donald Trump has some questions to answer. The Democratic Coalition (which is a totally super, patriotic name) was promising in 2016 to bring in big dollars and channel them into “making sure Donald Trump was never elected president.” Last year, after that effort fell flat, they continued to fundraise, promising to fight President Trump at every turn. There’s a big audience out there with a healthy appetite for such action, so they quickly began accumulating quite a bit of cash, holding fundraisers which attracted some big names.
There was just one little problem. It turns out that nearly all of the money they took in never went anywhere but into their own salaries and expenses. (Daily Beast)
The Democratic Coalition, one of the many new progressive-minded organizations to bloom in the age of anti-Trump fervor, brought in nearly half a million dollars last year. Its donors include Siddiqui, a pair of Hollywood television producers, a former Real Housewife of Miami, and a member of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors. The vast majority of its funds, however, have come from people whose names don’t make it into Federal Election Commission disclosures: the small, “unitemized” donors who give $200 or less.
It’s what the group has done with its money—not how much it has brought in—that has raised eyebrows among other operatives.
The Democratic Coalition paid more than half of the money it raised last year to its employees or their consulting firms, according to Federal Election Commission records. [Coalition senior advisor Scott] Dworkin’s Bulldog Finance Group was the chief beneficiary, drawing more than $130,000 from The Democratic Coalition.
It wasn’t just Mr. Dworkin’s own firm sucking up the money. A lot of it, to the tune of $127,500 in legal fees, went into settling a libel suit they were fighting and paying off their own lawyers. Most of the rest went into paying the coalition staff their own salaries and covering the PAC’s expenses. In the end, only a trickle of the money ever actually made it into the hands of candidates or activists.
For their part, the Democratic Coalition claims that their particular organizational style and operations, “don’t lend themselves to the FEC’s periodic disclosure requirements.” If you don’t see them spending a lot of the money they raise, that’s because they do “a ton of work online” using social media to motivate the grassroots. In other words, it sounds like they spend a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter.
I’m sure you all feel terrible for the donors who sent them money and didn’t wind up doing much in the way of “resisting” for their generosity. But there’s a good lesson in here. Before you open up your checkbook, look into the background of the group asking you for donations. There are sites which track their performance and can tell you how much of the cash you give will actually go to the cause and how much will remain in their own pockets.