A complaint filed by a Watchdog group with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 22, declared a dark money group founded by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is in violation of federal campaign finance law.
The nonprofit group Our Revolution is a political group founded by Sanders in 2016, and by boosting Sanders presidential campaign since February 2019, it has violated the federal ban on “soft money,” states the complaint from the watchdog group Common Cause.
If a group is “directly or indirectly established” by federal officeholders such as Sanders, it is unable to “solicit, receive, direct, transfer, or spend funds” exceeding limitations of the law, and in the case of Our Revolution, that amount is $5,000 per election.
“Because Sanders set up Our Revolution and they have raised and spent money in candidate elections, Our Revolution is required to comply with contribution limits, register with the FEC, and discloses its donors—but it hasn’t,” Common Cause attorney Paul S. Ryan told The Associated Press. “It’s his establishment of the group that triggers these laws. That means a $5,000 limit, full donor disclosure, and no contributions from prohibited sources.”
According to the Daily Beast, the campaign finance act doesn’t allow candidates to accept over $2,800 from individual donors, and political action committees are restricted from raising over $5,000 per individual donor.
Our Revolution has accepted around $1 million in contributions from donors who have exceeded the allowed limits.
“The facts surrounding Our Revolution, including its founding by Sen. Sanders, its receipt of six-figure contributions, its failure to disclose donors to the FEC, and its political spending in Iowa and elsewhere, point to a clear violation of the federal soft money ban,” Ryan added in a separate statement on Wednesday.
In a statement to The Hill, the dark money group said, “For Common Cause to claim that Our Revolution is simply an arm of the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign is an insult to our grass-roots members and all that we have accomplished,” Our Revolution said. “Our Revolution is a membership-driven organization independent from any political campaign or party. Our mission is much more than just electing Bernie to the White House, and Common Cause should know this given our work together on a myriad of democracy reform issues.”