On Wednesday, U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) introduced legislation aimed at preventing fraudulent campaign donations. The legislation, titled “Put Zombie Donors to Rest Act,” would amend the Internal Revenue Code to require a billing address and credit verification value (CVV) for contributions to political organizations.
On March 28th, 2023, the O’Keefe Media Group, an investigative news organization, published a report uncovering a “national plot to utilize senior citizens matching a similar profile as vehicles to launder millions of dollars into political campaigns.” In response to a letter sent to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the FEC said it “does not impose requirements for specific safety or security guardrails that political committees must use to accept online donations.” Instead, the FEC lays the responsibility on political committees, saying committees “must use appropriate screening procedures” because federal law does not require the FEC to review these donations itself.
“Through the diligent efforts of citizen journalists, O’Keefe Media Group has uncovered potentially millions of dollars in campaign donation fraud. Unidentified entities or individuals are using the identities of American citizens to perpetrate fraudulent campaign contributions. Termed as ‘zombie donors,’ these fraudulent transactions exploit payment methods that possess scant or negligible identity authentication mechanisms. The ‘Put Zombie Donors to Rest Act’ aims to amend the Internal Revenue Code and mandates the inclusion of both a credit verification value (CVV) and a billing address as mandatory requirements for confirming the donor’s true identity, cross-referencing it with the corresponding address or banking information,” Congressman Gaetz said.
“The corporate press, who regularly combs through publicly available FEC data, had an opportunity to uncover this but did not. It took citizen journalists to not just flag the data but to corroborate findings in states across the country. Rep. Gaetz’s bill is a reminder of what journalism can do when in the hands of the people. If it weren’t for the citizen journalists inspired by O’Keefe Media Group’s Maryland investigation who hit the streets and highlighted this apparently fraudulent scheme in other states, we might not have arrived at this moment. This story, however, is far from over and questions remain. I look forward to transparency from Act Blue and other major credit card processors in our political system because through that transparency lies the answer of who may be the funders and architects of this scheme which targets senior citizens,” said James O’Keefe, Founder and CEO of O’Keefe Media Group.
Full text of Congressman Gaetz’s bill can be found HERE. Additionally, exclusive coverage of the bill by the Daily Caller can be found HERE.