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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Web-Based Bundling

Which political action committee gave the most money to congressional campaigns in 2006?
MoveOn.org? EMILY’s List? The National Rifle Association?
Nope, nope and nope.
ActBlue – the web-based bundler – was the single biggest PAC contributor in the last cycle. It delivered some $17 million to candidates in 2006, with about $15.5 million going directly to congressional campaigns. t’s proving to have an even bigger presence in the presidential election, and the organization’s founders are predicting that they will move $100 million dollars during the 2008 cycle.

Bloggers, campaigns, and individuals twisting the arms of their friends all use the organization to contribute money online. ActBlue in turn, processes the donations, keeps track of the records, and handles the logistics.
What makes the model so successful is that it’s completely decentralized. ActBlue doesn’t endorse any candidates or causes – every Democratic campaign is treated exactly the same. The donations are driven from the bottom up, and ActBlue makes its money off of tips. And because the organization is a PAC, not a business, it doesn’t even need to make money at all.
Since getting started in 2004, donors have used ActBlue to funnel money to more than 1,500 Democratic candidates in races all across the country. I haven’t seen statistics for other PACs, but again, I’m going to guess that no other committee is even close to those numbers.
One group that definitely comes up short is ABC PAC – the GOP ActBlue counterpart. So far, all total, they’ve raised just $385 for the Republican presidential candidates, and obviously none of the campaigns use the PAC for their online fundraising like John Edwards does with ActBlue.
That’s got the some Republicans worried.
The Washington Post reports that R. Rebecca Donatelli, the online guru who helped John McCain make Internet fundraising a force in the 2000 election, has announced that she and a partner are working to revamp ABC PAC and will launch a new version of the website this fall.
We’ll soon see if Republicans can narrow this particular example of “The Internet Gap” between the two parties.

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