MoveOn.org today sent out an email to its users asking them to contribute to their “Stamp Money Out Of Politics” initiative and to receive a rubber stamp to place their logo and contact info on U.S. printed currency.
The solicitation letter, quoted in part below, notes that Republicans have spent big and are raising more money to defeat Democrats in the Georgia Senate race runoffs. The aim is to convince small donors to pitch in $16 dollars or more to get a stamp to deface – or impress – U.S. currency and convince those small donors to ignore just how much more “big money” Democrats take in for electoral purposes.
Which is why we’re partnering with MoveOn to protest Big Money in politics. We’re asking you to join us in rubber-stamping bills with the message, “Stamp Money Out of Politics.” It’s totally legal, and every stamped bill becomes a mini billboard that is seen by an average of 875 people as it gets passed around.
Just click here, chip in $16 or more, and we’ll send you your very own “Stamp Money Out of Politics” rubber stamp! The money will be used to help win in Georgia and flip the Senate, and you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing to win free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for a year! (Editors’ note: links removed from above text.)
Wow! A free dollar decorator, a chance to fork over more bucks to MoveOn, AND a chance to win free ice cream for a year. Hard to resist!Ben & Jerry Letter from MoveOn.org, 30 November 2020
Democrats Dominate Election Spending As 2020 Election Costs Exceed 2016 Costs By More Than Double
What Ben & Jerry’s letter fails to state is the amount of “big money” that funded Democratic candidates in the 2020 elections and before. Here’s a graphic from opensecrets.org showing how much Democrats outspent Republicans in the 2020 election cycle. The 2020 election costs exceeded $14 billion for the entire cycle crushing the 2016 election cycle costs of just over $6 billion.
MoveOn.org Says Stamping Money Is Legal – Is It?
There are a number of articles that surface when you search “is it illegal to deface U.S. currency.” Many arguments have been made that it is illegal to use U.S. currency to advertise a business, but that advertising a political message is legal. Interesting analysis, but the laws governing alter specifically note:
“whoever designs, engraves, prints, makes, or executes, or utters, issues, distributes, circulates, or uses any business or professional card, notice, placard, circular, handbill, or advertisement in the likeness or similitude of any obligation or security of the United States issued under or authorized by any Act of Congress or writes, prints, or otherwise impresses upon or attaches to any such instrument, obligation, or security, or any coin of the United States, any business or professional card, notice, or advertisement, or any notice or advertisement whatever, shall be fined under this title.” 18 U.S.C. § 475.https://www.moneyfactory.gov/resources/lawsandregulations.html
The U.S. Code specifically states no impressing upon any instrument…of the United States (of) any business or professional card, notice, or advertisement, or any notice or advertisement whatever.” MoveOn.org is raising money via the stamping of or “imprinting upon” U.S. currency. Attorneys have argued that any impressions on U.S. currency are allowed if they are not for businesses – that is not what the U.S.C. specifies.
Separately, there is language in title 18, Section 333 which discusses the mutilation, etc of currency which says that it must be done with the “intent to render such items(s) unfit to be issued.” This is the clause that some attorneys have argued means that anyone putting impressions on currency cannot be fined or imprisoned. Here’s a question to that line of reasoning: What if U.S. citizens believe MoveOn.org’s ‘stamp’ renders it unusable? What if U.S. citizens demand that the U.S. government exchange that currency for un “stamped” bills?