by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Republican online fundraising conduit WinRed is filing a complaint in United States District Court requesting legal relief from an inquiry into its business practices by four Democratic state attorneys general, arguing it is politically motivated harassment.
Attorneys general for Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, and New York are accusing WinRed of violating state laws by using pre-checked, recurring donation boxes to raise money for Republican candidates and groups utilizing the platform. But WinRed research revealed Democratic entities rely on the same practice, including campaign organizations for three of four attorneys general behind the inquiry.
Officials claim that proves the effort is political — a scheme to hamstring WinRed and undermine Republican fundraising ahead of 2022.
“Four Democrat Attorneys General are exploiting their positions of power for partisan gain and targeting WinRed for fundraising tactics that Democrats themselves pioneered and still use to this day,” WinRed said in a statement first shared with the Washington Examiner. “While pursuing these actions, these Democrat AGs are actively fundraising on ActBlue.” …
… The complaint asks the court to quash the inquiry arguing the states have no jurisdiction over WinRed because it is a federal political action committee bound by federal law and Federal Election Commission regulations.
Additionally, WinRed’s complaint claims the attorneys general pursuing the inquiry — William Tong of Connecticut; Brian Frosh of Maryland; Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Letitia James of New York — are on a political fishing expedition to damage the organization because it threatens narrow Democratic majorities in Congress in the midterm elections. Alleging WinRed is breaking state law by using the same pre-checked, recurring donation boxes employed by Democrats is an excuse for their mischief, officials argue.
“Only when Republicans began challenging the Democrats’ long-held advantage in online fundraising did these Democrat Attorneys General activate,” WinRed said in its statement.