Democratic California Rep. and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not match campaign donations, despite promising to personally do so in numerous emails to supporters.
Pelosi promised to match donations in at least 50 emails to supporters sent between January and April, Axios reported Monday. However, FEC records reveal that she has not given any of her own money to her campaign. The promises could create legal problems for Pelosi, according to Axios, which drew from a recent Department of Justice charge decision.
New: Nancy Pelosi’s campaign sent at least 50 fundraising emails from Jan to March promising she would “personally” match donations. But she’s never reported giving to her own campaign, in Q1 or otherwise https://t.co/GLMORe7Ju7
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) May 25, 2021
Campaign finance attorney Jan Baran, a partner at Holtzman Vogel Baran Torchinsky Josefiak PLLC, seemed to welcome further regulation of email fundraising using the “donation matching” strategy.
“You can do that if it’s true, but usually fundraising professionals who send out that type of message know it’s not true, and if you intentionally misrepresent something to take somebody’s money away from them that’s going to be fraud,” Baran told Campaigns & Elections.
Many politicians in both parties use the promise of matching donations to convince supporters to offer money. Campaign finance laws limit the amount of money individuals can give during an election cycle, but candidates are allowed to give unlimited amounts to their own campaigns. The offer of matching funds can be an attractive option for wealthier candidates such as Pelosi and former President Donald Trump in an effort to raise funds. (RELATED: Democrats Pushing To Match Your Tax Dollars To Small Campaign Contributions At An Astonishing Rate)
The 2020 election cycle was the most expensive in United States history, with candidates and donors spending $14.4 billion, according to Open Secrets. All four candidates in the Georgia Senate runoffs — Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock and Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue — broke spending records.
Spending on some Senate races did not pay off for Democrats, however. Challengers Amy McGrath, Jaime Harrison, Theresa Greenfield and Barbara Bollier outspent their respective Republican opponents Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, and Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall by a combined $125 million, according to financial records. All four lost their elections.