Attorney generals looking into online fundraising practices: reports

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Four attorneys general are looking into online fundraising practices of both the Republican and Democratic parties, according to court documents and people familiar with the matter, The Washington Post reported.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), Connecticut Attorney General William Tong (D), Minnesota Attorney General Keith EllisonKeith EllisonMinnesota AG asks judge to acknowledge trauma of children who witnessed Floyd’s death Sunday shows preview: Moderates, Biden reach deal on infrastructure; Chauvin sentenced to 22.5 years in prison Floyd’s brother says Chauvin sentence was ‘slap on the wrist’ MORE (D) and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) are investigating online fundraising platforms in both parties. 

A source familiar with the matter told The Post letters were sent to websites WinRed, a Republican fundraising platform, and ActBlue, a Democratic fundraising platform. 

A court filing on Wednesday from WinRed showed a letter detailing the state officials’ investigation into the company’s practice of using pre-checked boxes to get recurring donations from political donors who may not have realized the boxes were checked, The Post reported.

The investigation by the attorney generals was first reported by the Washington Examiner. 

“Our offices have significant experience with pre-checked solicitations and other forms of ‘negative option’ marketing to consumers,” the letter from the AGs read, according to the Post. “We believe that such solicitations can be inherently misleading, and result in consumers making unwanted and unintended purchases.”

WinRed argued on its website that the investigation amounted to a political play by Democrats, and the attorney generals 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.”

However, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong told The Post, “WinRed is only one of the entities we are investigating. We look forward to working with our sister states to defend our investigations and will continue fighting to protect consumers.”

The Hill has reached out to both the attorneys general and ActBlue. 

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