Theodore's World: Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations

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October 29, 2008

Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations

Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations

washington post

By Matthew Mosk

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor's identity, campaign officials confirmed.

Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.

The Obama organization said its extensive review has ensured that the campaign has refunded any improper contributions, and noted that Federal Election Commission rules do not require front-end screening of donations.

In recent weeks, questionable contributions have created headaches for Obama's accounting team as it has tried to explain why campaign finance filings have included itemized donations from individuals using fake names, such as Es Esh or Doodad Pro. Those revelations prompted conservative bloggers to further test Obama's finance vetting by giving money using the kind of prepaid cards that can be bought at a drugstore and cannot be traced to a donor.

The problem with such cards, campaign finance lawyers said, is that they make it impossible to tell whether foreign nationals, donors who have exceeded the limits, government contractors or others who are barred from giving to a federal campaign are making contributions.

"They have opened the floodgates to all this money coming in," said Sean Cairncross, chief counsel to the Republican National Committee. "I think they've made the determination that whatever money they have to refund on the back end doesn't outweigh the benefit of taking all this money upfront."

The Obama campaign has shattered presidential fundraising records, in part by capitalizing on the ease of online giving. Of the $150 million the senator from Illinois raised in September, nearly $100 million came in over the Internet.

The Obama team's disclosures came in response to questions from The Washington Post about the case of Mary T. Biskup, a retired insurance manager from Manchester, Mo., who turned up on Obama's FEC reports as having donated $174,800 to the campaign. Contributors are limited to giving $2,300 for the general election.

Biskup, who had scores of Obama contributions attributed to her, said in an interview that she never donated to the candidate. "That's an error," she said. Moreover, she added, her credit card was never billed for the donations, meaning someone appropriated her name and made the contributions with another card.

When asked whether the campaign takes steps to verify whether a donor's name matches the name on the credit card used to make a payment, Obama's campaign replied in an e-mail: "Name-matching is not a standard check conducted or made available in the credit card processing industry. We believe Visa and MasterCard do not even have the ability to do this.

Wild Thing's comment......

This is another reason why the left does not like the Patriotic Act.

My guess is that Obama knows most of his contributions are illegal and he could care less. He does not have to be accountable on anything so why should he worry. Demcorats are the party of not having to be accountable.

This was on FOX this morning. They explained that the Obama's campaign does not have AVS turned on for it's credit card processing on donations (AVS = Address Verification Service).

They said a lot, a ton of money was coming in from Europe and all kinds of other placles. Fox went on to list some of the names: Adolf Hilter, Yogi Bear, William Ayers.

....Thank you Lynn for sending this to me.

Posted by Wild Thing at October 29, 2008 11:55 AM


This is the proverbial chickens coming home to roost. The failed McCain-Feingold bill just bit John McCain in his campaign ass.

Posted by: Les at October 30, 2008 03:56 PM

Back in 2000 I made small donations ($100) to bush and lazio with my anonomous checking accout that has neither name nor address nor phone number on the checks. I use those to avoid getting put on lists. Those check were below the $200 reporting limit, but neither campain took them. That is (unncessary?) integraty. I guess I can not expect the same from our oponents.

Posted by: Odin at October 30, 2008 06:09 PM