Who is John Galt?

We’ve previously noted the gusher of illegal campaign contributions flowing into the Obama campaign from contributors such as “Doodad Pro” and “Good Will.” More recently, incidents have been reported in which people have seen credit card charges surface suggesting they donated to Barack Obama when they did not. Matthew Mosk and Sarah Cohen noted one such incident earlier this week:

Now comes the story of Mary T. Biskup, of Manchester, Missouri. Biskup got a call recently from the Obama campaign, which was trying to figure out why she donated $174,800 to the campaign — well over the contribution limit of $2,300.

The answer she gave them was simple. “That’s an error.”

Is the Obama campaign knowingly receiving illegal contributions? Yesterday one of our readers reported the results of an experiment he conducted:

I’ve read recent reports of the Obama campaign receiving donations from dubious names and foreign locales and it got me wondering: How is this possible?

I run a small Internet business and when I process credit cards I’m required to make sure the name on the card exactly matches the name of the customer making the purchase. Also, the purchaser’s address must match that of the cardholders. If these don’t match, then the payment isn’t approved. Period. So how is it possible that the Obama campaign could receive donations from fictional people and places? Well, I decided to do a little experiment. I went to the Obama campaign website and entered the following:

Name: John Galt
Address: 1957 Ayn Rand Lane
City: Galts Gulch
State: CO
Zip: 99999

Then I checked the box next to $15 and entered my actual credit card number and expiration date (it didn’t ask for the 3-didgit code on the back of the card) and it took me to the next page and… “Your donation has been processed. Thank you for your generous gift.”

This simply should not, and could not, happen in any business or any campaign that is honestly trying to vet it’s donors. Also, I don’t see how this could possibly happen without the collusion of the credit card companies. They simply wouldn’t allow any business to process, potentially, hundreds of millions in credit card transactions where the name on the card doesn’t match the purchasers name.

In short, with the system set up as it is by the Obama camp, an individual could donate unlimited amounts of money by simply making up fake names and addresses. And Obama is doing his best to facilitate this fraud. This is truly scandalous.

Our reader was not yet done. He tried the experiment on the McCain site: “I tried the exact same thing at the McCain site and it didn’t allow the transaction.” He then repeated the experiment at the Obama site:

I went back to the Obama site and made three additional donations using the names Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Bill Ayers, all with different addresses. All the transactions went through using the same credit card. I saved screenshots of the transactions.

Our reader reports, incidentally, that he was using his MasterCard for the contributions. We submit this report in the spirit of inquiry and would especially appreciate hearing from readers who can illuminate how credit card procedures might (or might not) allow this to happen.

UPDATE: Readers have replicated the experiment reported in this post. We will have to revisit the issue tonight or tomorrow and appreciate any information you can provide in the meantime.

CLARIFICATION: Many readers point out that the Obama campaign would exercise some control over the security level required to verify small dollar transactions and that no collusion with the card issuer or bank is therefore required. Mark Steyn elaborates here. Mark explains the question of security settings and then adds:

As the Powerline reader has noted, if “John Galt” of “Ayn Rand Lane” attempts a contribution at the McCain campaign, it gets rejected. Which is just as well. If the Republican candidate’s website were intentionally set up to facilitate fraudulent donations, it would be on the front page of The New York Times. But, as it’s King Barack the Spreader, we can rest assured the crack investigative units will be too preoccupied with Governor Palin’s shoes over the next two weeks.

It is a point that needs making and that could be made every day.

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