Natural disasters like recent Hurricane Michael sometimes bring out both the best and worst in people. While emergency-responders risk their lives to save people from danger, looters attempt to steal the belongings of those who’ve had to flee their homes. Sadly, capitalizing on the suffering of others is a business for some.
On October 10, 2018, Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat – Florida, appeared to be doing something wholly philanthropic when he sent out an e-mail asking people to donate funds for hurricane disaster relief. The e-mail contained a list of non-profit organizations that provide aid. However, according to the Washington Free Beacon, the senior Senator from Florida failed to disclose that the links for each organization send users to the website ActBlue. ActBlue is a group that assists Democrats with raising money and keeps donor e-mails for future fundraising efforts.
Hurricane Michael ravaged the state of Florida on the same day that Nelson sent out the questionable e-mail. Before going out to sea, the category 4 storm left more than one million people in multiple states without electricity. According to The Weather Channel, at least 19 people perished. Many are still missing.
Within mere hours of hurricane Michael hitting Florida, Nelson sent out his e-mail containing the list of non-profit groups he deemed are “vital resources for people who need help.” Some of the organizations listed include American Red Cross, Florida Disaster Fund, Big Bend Homeless Coalition, and Team Rubicon.
Every group’s link sends users to a page on ActBlue’s website requesting they give money to hurricane relief efforts. In addition to the e-mail, the senior Senator from Florida tweeted out an ActBlue link on his website for people to provide donations for hurricane relief. The tweet read, “The devastation from #HurricaneMichael is widespread across the Panhandle and Big Bend in Florida. Anything you can give to these nonprofit organizations will help people with needed relief.”
ActBlue, founded in 2004, is a federally registered political action committee. It’s referred to itself as “the online clearinghouse for Democratic action.” ActBlue’s website proclaims, “ActBlue is a nonprofit, building fundraising technology for the left. Democratic campaigns get more donations through ActBlue than any other platform.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, NRSC, called out Nelson for his “desperate attempt” to win re-election in November. In order to keep his seat, Nelson will have to beat popular Governor Rick Scott, Republican – Florida.
Regarding the seemingly tone deaf e-mail, Camille Gallo, spokeswoman for NRSC, said, “Bill Nelson has reached a new low in a desperate attempt to save his political career. While Floridians were trying to save their homes and lives, Bill Nelson used this tragedy as an opportunity to save his taxpayer-funded job by shamelessly using disaster relief efforts to bolster his fundraising operation.”
Besides sending out the e-mail with the links sending users to ActBlue, Nelson also ran attack ads while Scott prepared Florida’s panhandle for its most devastating hurricane strike ever according to Townhall. Nelson’s campaign also reportedly sent a tracker to Scott’s emergency briefing. Perhaps, the lowly Nelson campaign actually believed Scott would attack the Democrat at a time when Florida residents’ lives and property might be lost.
Townhall also reported that the senior Senator from Florida sent out fundraising e-mails while he was visiting the Sunshine State’s emergency operations center.
To make matters worse, this isn’t the first time Nelson has tried to capitalize from a hurricane. Last year, the NRSC condemned him for attempting to raise funds off Hurricane Irma to help with this year’s re-election bid. The NRSC contended that Nelson’s Senate campaign staff sent out a fundraising e-mail tied to Hurricane Irma. In the e-mail, the senior Senator from Florida tried to raise money off the fact that he petitioned major airlines to not increase ticket prices in connection with Hurricane Irma’s approach.
Politico reported the NRSC’s argument that the airlines were restricting fares before Nelson’s attempted intervention. In a statement, NRSC Communications Director Katie Martin remarked, “Bill Nelson is spending time blasting out fundraising emails, while countless Floridians are recovering from Hurricane Irma’s devastation. Bill Nelson’s DC elitist behavior is always self-serving, but this kind of out of touch behavior reaches a new low.”
Time will tell if Nelson’s rash attempts to raise money for his campaign during natural disasters will contribute to him securing his Senate seat or losing it to Governor Scott.
~ Freedom News Report