Who, me?

While doing some research Monday, I stumbled across a site called Newsmeat, which has a search engine for political contributions over $200 dating back to 1978. Out of curiosity, I plugged in my name. I was more than a little surprised when it indicated I contributed $353.35 in August 2004 to a political action committee known as America Coming Together (ACT).

Since I didn’t recall the organization, let alone a contribution to it, I went to the campaign finance reports at the FEC site. Sure enough, on page 4,878 of ACT’s quarterly report filed in mid-October 2004, there’s my name, home address, occupation and law firm. It also shows ACT supposedly received the $353.35 from me on August 21, 2004.

Needless to say, I was quite intrigued, what with the odd amount of the purported contribution and the fact I remembered neither the organization nor any contribution. Turns out ACT was backed by George Soros and was a liberal group with the goal of defeating Dubya in the 2004 election. It disbanded in 2005. According to the excellent search function at Open Secrets, I was one of 18 South Dakotans to contribute $200 or more to ACT. I don’t know any of the other contributors and it would be interesting to know if the others made the contributions attributed to them.

While it sounds like the type of group I would support, my Quicken program shows no contribution to ACT in 2004 or at any time. In fact, the amount listed on the FEC report exceeds my total political contributions in 2004, all of which went to two state legislative candidates and a state ballot issue committee. Given the accuracy of the personal information in the FEC report, I really wonder who or what “borrowed” my name to funnel money to this PAC.

POLITICS, n. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

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