Federal judge allows state investigations into WinRed fundraising tactics to continue

WinRed, which handles political donations for Republican candidates, has been investigated by attorneys general in New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Minnesota over the use of pre-checked donation boxes to lock in candidate contributions. and to committees on a monthly or weekly schedule, the court filings show.

The investigations followed a New York Times investigation last year into the tactics of former President Donald Trump’s political operation, which included using pre-checked boxes to automatically sign up contributors to social media programs. recurring donations.

WinRed had sued in Minnesota to stop the investigations, arguing that its operations were governed by federal campaign finance law, not state consumer protection laws that attorneys general were seeking to do. apply.

Chief Judge John Tunheim of the U.S. District Court in Minnesota on Wednesday dismissed WinRed’s lawsuit against Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Tunheim said the federal election law “does not supersede generally applicable state consumer protection laws simply because the state seeks to apply them to a federally registered political committee.”

He also rejected WinRed’s attempt to halt investigations in Connecticut, Maryland and New York, saying he had no jurisdiction over those states.

“WinRed will appeal,” the company said in an email.

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday welcomed the judge’s decision.

“No business has the right to use politics as an excuse to mislead consumers,” James said in a statement. “It is their responsibility to be honest and transparent with their services, and it is the responsibility of states to combat deceptive behavior in all its forms.”

This story has been updated with comment from WinRed.

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