One of the latest news articles to make the rounds this week has been the story of how a certain Super Pac called called Americans Socially United has been raising money this year in the name of Bernie Sanders. The high-profile donation of 50K to the shady organization by James Bond actor Daniel Craig no doubt brought light to what is going on. The Super Pac is run by Cary Lee Peterson and has nothing to do with Bernie Sanders or his official campaign.
Sanders opponents were quick to assume they finally found some dirt on Bernie. They rubbed their hands together and squealed with delight as the news came out……until they read the rest of the story. When they learned that Bernie has and never had any control of this Super Pac was never connected to it in anyway they sighed with disappointment.
Back when the official campaign found out what the shady Super Pac was doing they sent a “Cease and Desist” letter, actually two of them, back in June.
We obtained online copies of the letters, the first being sent June 12, 2015 then a follow-up letter exactly a week later. View letters HERE.
Here’s a little of what the letters have to say:
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.
As you surely understand, contributions are critical to the success of any political campaign. Your campaigns and websites are creating supporter confusion because they appear to be official pages for the Bernie Sanders 2016 US Presidential campaign, and are therefore intercepting donations which are likely intended for the official campaign. In addition to this practical concern, your campaigns and websites violate federal law and infringe upon Bernie 2016’s intellectual property.
Most obviously, the name Bet on Bernie 2016 is a clear violation of section 102.l4(a) of the rules, 11 CFR which prohibits your committee from using the name of any candidate in its name.
We appreciate your support for Senator Sanders and this letter is intended to be a courtesy, in advance of any action Bernie 2016 may have to take to protect its rights and prevent fraud. It is our sincere hope that such action will not be necessary. To that end, please, confirm, within five (5) days of the date of this letter that you will immediately:
1. Take offine ready4bernie.com, betonbemiecorn, pledgesanderSZOI6.com, and any other websites or social media accounts in your control associated with the Bet on Bernie 2016 political committee or Senator Bernie Sanders.
2. Either change the name or terminate the Bet on Bernie 2016 political committee;
3. Cease and Desist any further use of the Bernie Marks, any other deceptively or confusingly similar mark or proprietary content, or Senator Bernie Sanders name and/or likeness;
4. Provide us a full financial accounting detailing all donations received by Bet on Bernie 2016, and any and all associated campaigns.
View letters HERE.
A quick analogy for how people are using Bernie’s name to profit for themselves, if this indeed the case with this “Super Pac”. If you have spent any time on Facebook or online in general you have probably seen Bernie Sanders T-Shirts, stickers and all types of merch for sale. While Bernie has an official store HERE, there are countless, faceless sites set up only to sell Bernie merch without a cent going to the campaign. Just google Teespring Bernie Sanders T-Shirt and you’ll find a ton. To be fair some of them declare they are sending some money into the campaign but not all.
A few years ago when the Seahawks were in the playoffs and making a run to the Super Bowl the un-licensed merch barons were out in full force and this is exactly what is happening around Bernie. They create a somewhat official looking or fan-oriented social media account, buy some ads and start watching the money pile up. Part of the problem is that some people running high on emotions and wanting to be a part of something special, don’t take the time to see if a money seeking organization is legit or not.
So, while we are going to bet on Bernie, we won’t be doing that at the Bet On Bernie website, instead we’ll be contributing smaller chunks to Bernie’s campaign directly, that can be found HERE