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Georgia Special Election Swarmed by Special Interests

Take Back Our Republic Executive Director John Pudner released the following statement about this week’s special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District:

“Negative TV commercials finally stopped running in Atlanta this week, with the election of Republican Karen Handel over Democrat Jon Ossoff. Take Back Our Republic does not take positions on elections, but now that this election is over, we can comment on the millions of dollars that flooded this district through unverified credit card contributions.

“Voters have no way of knowing for sure who made these contributions because the bank wasn’t allowed to verify their identity. Many of the other commercials were run by third parties – negative commercials that the candidate did not have to take responsibility for.” – John Pudner

“The real loser is our current campaign finance system that allows these practices that make American voters the real losers,” Pudner adds.

This special election served as an extreme example of several campaign finance-related issues that Take Back is working to solve.

Unverified Credit Card Contributions

According to the Federal Election Commission, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff’s campaign accepted at least $14.8 million through an organization called “ACTBLUE” – which reportedly raises most, if not all of its money through unverified credit card contributions.

The real loser is our current campaign finance system that allows these practices that make American voters the real losers.
John Pudner, Take Back Our Republic

The bipartisan practice of avoiding industry-standard fraud prevention measures was condemned in a 2012 report by the Government Accountability Institute.

ACTBLUE reports it has raised over $1.7 billion online, to date. It was cited by the Government Accountability Institute as “lack[ing] industry-standard anti-fraud credit card security features to block fraudulent and international donations.”

Take Back supports a bill now pending in the US Congress that would require political committees to use those industry-standard security measures when accepting online contributions: HR 1341 was sponsored by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and it has bipartisan support.

Spending by “Dark Money” Groups that Don’t Reveal Their Donors

According to the FEC, groups with names like “America First Policies” and “Ending Spending, Inc.” spent millions of dollars on media buys to influence the election. But whose money were they spending on all those ads?

Take Back believes that when organizations are acting like PACs, they ought to be required to disclose their donors like PACs do.

The Flood of Outside Money Drowns Citizens’ First Amendment Rights

According to the FEC, outside groups spent more than $28.7 million to influence this special election – more than $40 per person who lives in the district! How are the concerns of an individual constituent supposed to be heard above the noise of all that money?

Take Back supports a change in the Constitution to allow reasonable limits on political money.  Read John Pudner’s op-ed about this in The Daily Caller.

Take Back Our Republic did not comment during the campaign despite concerns about third-party funding of commercials supporting Handel, and questionable online contributions flooding into Ossoff’s campaign. But now that the election is over, it’s time to take a closer look at what happened during the campaign – and how it harms voters’ confidence in our government.

It’s time to start fixing the problems and Take Back Our Republic so our government will serve citizens, not special interests.

Please don’t sit on the sidelines watching the problem get worse with each election.

Photo Credit: Reuters

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