Monday, October 6, 2008

Obama Funding Complaints

As mentioned in the previous post Reports of Obama Fundraising Fraud (below) there have been questions about the manner in which the Obama campaign has raised such large sums of money. Newsweek has also taken notice of the problems with small donors in its article Obama’s ‘Good Will’ Hunting, and has noted that the McCain campaign has made all of its small donor information public while the Obama campaign has refused.
"Good Will" listed his employer as "Loving" and his occupation as "You," while supplying as his address 1015 Norwood Park Boulevard, which is shared by the Austin nonprofit Goodwill Industries. Suzanha Burmeister, marketing director for Goodwill, said the group had "no clue" who the donor was. She added, however, that the group had received five puzzling thank-you letters from the Obama campaign this year, prompting it to send the campaign an e-mail in September pointing out the apparent fraudulent use of its name.
...(In a similar case earlier this year, the campaign returned $33,000 to two Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip who had bought T shirts in bulk from the campaign's online store. They had listed their address as "Ga.," which the campaign took to mean Georgia rather than Gaza.) "While no organization is completely protected from Internet fraud, we will continue to review our fund-raising procedures," LaBolt said. Some critics say the campaign hasn't done enough. This summer, watchdog groups asked both campaigns to share more information about its small donors. The McCain campaign agreed; the Obama campaign did not. "They could've done themselves a service" by heeding the suggestions, said Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics.

The American Spectator in its article Obama's Fishy $200 Million reports that an unnamed auditor for the Federal Elections Commission is being prevented investigating questionable fundraising techniques by the Obama campaign.
The Obama campaign has already had to deal with several FEC complaints about fraudulent donors and illegal foreign contributions, and the FEC says it has no record that those complaints have been resolved or closed. As well, the Obama campaign has been cagey at times about the means by which it has made its historic fundraising hauls, which now total almost $500 million for the election cycle. The Hillary Clinton campaign raised questions about the huge amount of e-retail sales the Obama campaign was making for such things as t-shirts and other campaign paraphernalia, and how such sales were being tracked and used for fundraising purposes. While the profits of those items counted against the $2,300 personal donation limit, there have always been lingering questions about the e-retail system...

...The FEC analyst says that Obama's filings indicate he has received large, bundled sums of donations from overseas, sometimes exceeding a quarter millions dollars. "It's suspicious, but it's the small donations made by credit card that need to be examined. We've raised red flags on many of these and the Obama campaign just ignores us. After this election, after we've sifted through everything -- if we're allowed to sift through everything -- I am confident that we are looking at perhaps the largest fine every leveled against a national campaign entity."

Similarly Newsmax reports in their article Secret, Foreign Money Floods Into Obama Campaign that online fund raising combine with no requirement to report donors who contribute less than $200 has lead to serious questions about Obama contributors.
Under campaign finance laws, an individual can donate $2,300 to a candidate for federal office in both the primary and general election, for a total of $4,600. If a donor has topped the limit in the primary, the campaign can 'redesignate' the contribution to the general election on its books.

In a letter dated June 25, 2008, the FEC asked the Obama campaign to verify a series of $25 donations from a contributor identified as 'Will, Good' from Austin, Texas.

Mr. Good Will listed his employer as 'Loving' and his profession as 'You.'

A Newsmax analysis of the 1.4 million individual contributions in the latest master file for the Obama campaign discovered 1,000 separate entries for Mr. Good Will, most of them for $25.

In total, Mr. Good Will gave $17,375.

Following this and subsequent FEC requests, campaign records show that 330 contributions from Mr. Good Will were credited back to a credit card. But the most recent report, filed on Sept. 20, showed a net cumulative balance of $8,950 still well over the $4,600 limit.

There can be no doubt that the Obama campaign noticed these contributions, since Obama's Sept. 20 report specified that Good Will's cumulative contributions since the beginning of the campaign were $9,375.

In an e-mailed response to a query from Newsmax, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt pledged that the campaign would return the donations. But given the slowness with which the campaign has responded to earlier FEC queries, there's no guarantee that the money will be returned before the Nov. 4 election.

Similarly, a donor identified as 'Pro, Doodad,' from 'Nando, NY,' gave $19,500 in 786 separate donations, most of them for $25. For most of these donations, Mr. Doodad Pro listed his employer as 'Loving' and his profession as 'You,' just as Good Will had done.

Foreign contributions are particularly suspect.
Until recently, the Obama Web site allowed a contributor to select the country where he resided from the entire membership of the United Nations, including such friendly places as North Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Unlike McCain's or Sen. Hillary Clinton's online donation pages, the Obama site did not ask for proof of citizenship until just recently. Clinton's presidential campaign required U.S. citizens living abroad to actually fax a copy of their passport before a donation would be accepted.

With such lax vetting of foreign contributions, the Obama campaign may have indirectly contributed to questionable fundraising by foreigners.

The National Review is also reporting on "Sen. Obama's eye-popping fundraising operation" in their article Obama's Funny Money, or Who's "Loving" "You," Barry?

At TD Blog the article Whistleblower Ignored by DOJ, FEC, FBI: $200 Million in Fishy Obama Donations! they are asking readers to contact the authorities and request that they investigate these allegations.
DOJ, Office of Inspector General
e-mail: oig.hotline@usdoj.gov
hotline: (contact information in English and Spanish): (800) 869-4499

FEC Office of Complaints Examination & Legal Administration Division
(202/694-1650)

FBI Tip Hotline
866-483-5137


Update: Washington Post reports RNC to File FEC Complaint on Obama Fundraising Practices
The RNC is alleging that the Obama campaign was so hungry for donations it "looked the other way" as contributions piled up from suspicious, and possibly even illegal foreign donors.

"We believe that the American people should know first and foremost if foreign money is pouring into a presidential election," said RNC Chief Counsel Sean Cairncross.

Cairncross alleged there was mounting evidence of this, and cited a report in the current issue of Newsweek magazine that documents a handful of instances where donors made repeated small donations using fake names, such as "Good Will" and "Doodad Pro."

Funny Funding for Obama

2 comments:

Leon48 said...

I can personally witness that the Obama campaign sent staff to my country to raise money for Obama from SWISS citizens. (not dual nationals swiss/USA !)

Also I can witness that 45 people in GENEVA - US AND SWISS - gave an average of 20'000 usd each which is well above the limit allowed by US law. One swiss person - Mr. Philippe Joye (a corrupt local politician who was thrown out of our VT some years back) even appeared on swiss TV saying that "it is fantastic that a black person can become president of the USA and we have a duty to support him - including financially".

I am at disposal,

Leon Fiss, Geneva, Switzerland

NC Mom said...

When I contributed to the Obama campaign in February, I had to answer the U.S. citizen questions.