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VERIFY: No, donations to Black Lives Matter do not go to the DNC

Claims that the Black Lives Matter movement is giving millions of dollars to the Democratic National Committee are false.

WASHINGTON — QUESTION:

Do donations to the Black Lives Matter movement go directly to the Democratic National Committee?

ANSWER:

No, that's false.

SOURCES:

Act Blue website and support page

Act Blue statement on Twitter

Black Lives Matter Tweet

Open Secrets tweets

Myles Martin- Federal Election Commission spokesperson

Federal Election Commission rules about earmarked contributions and conduits 

PROCESS:

A video with more than 2 million views implies that money from Black Lives Matter goes directly to the Democratic National Committee. 

The video was shared by Candace Owens, a conservative commentator, and received thousands of retweets.

We're verifying, do Black Lives Matter donations go to the Democratic National Committee?

Here's what is making so many people confused.

If you go to the official Black Lives Matter website and click donate, you’re redirected to a portal for “ActBlue,” which lists itself as a “registered charitable organization.”

Credit: Black Lives Matter Website Donate Page
When donors click 'donate' on the Black Lives Matter website, donors are taken to an ActBlue portal for the transaction.

If you search "ActBlue" on OpenSecrets.org, a site that tracks political spending, you'll see that ActBlue is listed as giving hundreds of millions of dollars to Democratic politicians and just under $30 million to the DNC itself.

This is causing confusion for a lot of people online.

To sort this all out, our Verify researchers dug into what ActBlue is all about. According to their about page, ActBlue is a nonprofit online fundraising platform for progressive organizations, nonprofits, and yes, Democratic candidates.

Since ActBlue helps transfer political donations, it needs to file with the Federal Election Commission.

An FEC spokesperson explained the process to our Verify researchers.

ActBlue is serving as a conduit to get your donation to a campaign. This process is called an "earmarked contribution." 

FEC earmarking rules require that these conduits disclose their information, too.

So all those DNC donations that say “ActBlue,” really means that someone used ActBlue to donate to the DNC. What you're seeing is a bunch of donations for the DNC made through ActBlue.

If you look on the FEC's website, search "ActBlue," and click on the individual contribution, you'll see a memo that the contribution is "earmarked."  

Credit: Federal Election Commission Website
FEC records show ActBlue making earmarked contributions on behalf of donors

If you select "open image," the itemized receipt will pop up showing the donor's name.

In a statement on Twitter, ActBlue called the claim going around a “disinformation campaign.”

"This is entirely false," ActBlue said. "When you donate to Black Lives Matter through ActBlue Charities, your donation goes to Black Lives Matter. The same is true for any candidate or organization that you donate to using ActBlue or ActBlue Charities."

Black Lives Matter tweeted "debunked conspiracy theories won't stop us."

It’s worth noting, OpenSecrets.org responded to Candace Owens directly, and in a separate tweet writing: “none of the money brought in by #BlackLivesMatter in recent weeks is going to the Democratic National Committee.”

So, we can Verify, this claim is false.

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