Daily Beast: ‘Scam’ Political Groups Try New Tricks—and Rake In Millions
“For 20 years I’ve been looking at the issue through the other end of the telescope, at ‘dark money’ nonprofits trying to hide that they’re influencing politics,” Paul S. Ryan, general counsel for campaign finance watchdog Common Cause, said. “This is the opposite—these PACs appear to be trying to pass themselves off as nonprofits and trying to hide that by spending on the political end. It raises the same concern, though, because in both cases they mislead the government about the use of contributions. And that’s where these scam PACs may be running afoul of the law.”
He pointed out that the sudden change in reporting suggests the groups are either mischaracterizing the nature of their spending now, or had been mischaracterizing it for years previously. “It’s illegal to mislead the government,” he said. “And donors should never be lied to.”
Ryan also noted that “it also sounds like we very well could be talking about a federal wire fraud statute violation,” citing the fact that every one of the more than two dozen donors contacted by The Daily Beast over the course of the last year said they had been deceived.