Act Blue makes the promise to Democratic Party activists that their donations of money to Democratic politicians will help make the politicians more accountable. One particular interaction leaves significant room for doubt in this claim, however. It centers around U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney and her relationship with the New York Life insurance company.
Over the years, Maloney has taken tens of thousands of dollars in donations from New York Life and its lobbyists. Maloney has also accepted donations from Act Blue. Specifically, there are two routes through which grassroots activists can make donations to Maloney through Act Blue: To her campaign accounts, and to Maloney’s political action committee (Carolyn’s PAC).
A curious thing happened with Carolyn’s PAC a while ago, however. Back in June of 2008, Carolyn’s PAC gave 5,000 dollars to the New York Life Insurance Company Political Action Committee.
Why? No journalists have reported on this transaction, and I can’t for the life of me think why a member of the U.S. Congress would use her own PAC to grant money to an insurance company’s PAC, for the insurance company to use in buying influence with politicians.
One thing’s for sure, though: Carolyn’s PAC is not accountable to Democratic grassroots activists. I don’t know of anyone participating in ActBlue’s fundraising campaigns who is hoping that their individual donations will help to buy influence for insurance companies.