Bernie Bits: A Super PAC Causes 'Confusion' for Sanders' Donors | Off Message

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Bits: A Super PAC Causes 'Confusion' for Sanders' Donors


You might think James Bond is not easily duped, but he has apparently not spent much time navigating campaign financing in America.

Daniel Craig, the British actor and U.S. resident who starred as 007 in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, acknowledged he gave $47,300 to a political action committee thinking the donation was to support presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), according to the Center for Public Integrity, an investigative news outlet. Apparently eluding him was the fact that the Vermont senator eschews PACs. 

The PAC, Americans Socially United, is the work of  Cary Lee Peterson, a character who might fit into a Bond movie if screenwriters could find a way to make campaign finance action-film-worthy. The Center for Public Integrity noted that Peterson "has routinely run afoul of creditors and the law — including stiffing one of the nation’s largest news companies out of a six-figure sum." 

The center's Michael Beckel noted that anyone can form a super PAC, and reported:

Campaign finance watchdogs say this creates a buyer-beware situation for donors, especially if the super PAC’s name is similar to that of the candidate.

Peterson, a self-described “lobbyist” and “diplomat” prone to making extravagant claims about his business operations, initially took this approach, naming Americans Socially United both “Ready for Bernie Sanders 2016” and “Bet on Bernie 2016” before the FEC made him change it. The super PAC has also failed to file campaign finance disclosures, in violation of federal law.

“The risk of donors being duped is very high,” said Paul S. Ryan, an attorney at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, which supports stricter campaign finance regulations.

Sanders' campaign has tried to get Peterson to stop, telling him his websites appear to be official Sanders campaign sites. The Center for Public Integrity reported that Sanders' legal counsel told him in a June letter: “While Bernie 2016 is grateful for your enthusiasm, we are compelled to inform you that your current efforts are illegal and are causing harmful confusion for supporters of Senator Sanders’ campaign.”