A year after they insisted that the Women’s March e-mail database contained no donor information as part of a national security warning against political email phishing schemes, the group now says they are apologizing for reporting an average donation of $14.92.
The average contribution amount was revealed in a “women’s rights transparency report” published by the Women’s March Wednesday. The organization sent out e-mails and articles in February to counter financial fraud allegations by conservative news outlet The Washington Free Beacon.
“Just got the Womens March national phishing list update email,” one of the group’s alerting emails read. “As part of our continuing efforts to monitor and stop this type of fraud from happening, we have reported this to all our partners and will contact you directly if we find further evidence of this issue.”
When asked for comment, the Women’s March sent back an email from its general counsel, who expressed regret for their errors and promised to avoid repeating them in the future.
“While our legal team and data science team conducted valid and appropriate forensic analysis throughout the process, the email from February 2018 mistakenly sent out was the result of a miscommunication that resulted in the false alarm, without conforming to a completed and approved email database routing system,” the email read. “We sincerely apologize for that. We have implemented processes to prevent that from happening again.”
The prior alert stated that 99 percent of donations were from supporters donating $20 or less, while one percent was in the $1,000 and over range.
The organization had already admitted that in some cases emails to supporters asking for money may have been designed to “spoof legitimate email address.”
However, in response to conservative groups’ reports that foundation emails obtained by The Washington Free Beacon showing grants to the movement for its 2018 March on Washington, D.C., called for donors to make minimum donations to “help save a crucial march in our fight for girls and women” were also sent to supporters, the Women’s March opted not to share the email recipients’ identities.
In a letter to The Washington Free Beacon posted on the organization’s site, the group wrote that after it had determined that the emails had been sent from its verified email addresses it informed the media about them and removed them from the organization’s website. The group also stated the emails were not created on a taxpayer-funded government server.
The women’s group has long been criticized by conservatives for using a political cover to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from concerned female supporters who donate $5 or less to the group each year for the promise of future marches. The group says it has earned more than $4 million in tax-exempt 501(c)(4) charitable status funds since its inception in 2017.
The Women’s March’s 2017 march was attended by roughly 4 million demonstrators in 100 U.S. cities, according to CNN. The president has been critical of the March, calling its advocacy movement “a total scam and a fraud on the American people.”