WASHINGTON (AP) — A Texas company is launching a new political donation app for Republicans that will rival a similar platform already adopted by President Donald Trump, a move that could complicate GOP efforts to match Democrats’ online fundraising success.
Give.GOP will launch on Tuesday. It comes a week after the rollout of WinRed, a platform adopted by all national Republican campaign committees and praised by Trump via tweet after its debut.
Top Republican leaders and donors have sought to find one platform for their online giving since Democrats’ online giving portal, ActBlue , played a pivotal role in their 2018 midterm success . The nonprofit served as a conduit that funneled more than $1.6 billion to Democratic campaigns.
Republicans’ campaigns, however, use a hodgepodge of more than a dozen for-profit companies to collect online contributions. That cedes an advantage to a monolithic platform like ActBlue, which allows donors to give to candidates up and down the ballot with a few taps of a smartphone.
Give.GOP founder Paul Dietzel said efforts by national Republicans to adopt one online giving platform run counter to long-standing GOP beliefs in “free markets, equal opportunity and capitalism.”
Dietzel also is the CEO of another online donation company that Republicans have used, Anedot, and he said some have likened the party’s top-down effort to socialism.
“This sounds a lot like AOC, not the Republican Party,” he said, using the initials for outspoken New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who identifies as a democratic socialist.
Emails obtained by The Associated Press show that Republican leaders have incentivized the adoption of WinRed.
A National Republican Congressional Committee official wrote in one message this month that members of Congress who adopt the platform can get a break of up to $20,000 on their membership dues, a term used for the campaign cash they are expected to give to Republican political committees.
A spokesman for WinRed did not respond to a request for comment.
Dietzel says his app will be used by state parties across the U.S. and by several GOP governors. He said it allows donors to split donations among multiple committees, points donors to similar candidates to whom they could give and will charge a smaller processing fee, allowing campaigns to keep a larger share of contributions.
But Josh Holmes, a longtime adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was involved in the development of WinRed, questioned the wisdom of comparing Trump’s and other Republicans’ preference of a giving app to socialism.
“I don’t think it’s terrific for business to call President Trump a socialist,” Holmes said. “But that’s their business, not mine.”