We have published a series of posts on Obama’s “dubious donations” — i.e., the Obama campaign’s invitation of fraudulent and illegal giving through the disabling of basic credit card/debit card verification devices. I wrote about the Obama campaign fundraising operation in the October 2008 New York Post column “Dubious donations.” The Post subhead observed: “Bam’s Web site invites fraud.”
The Washington Post reported on the matter two days later in the story “Obama accepting untraceable donations,” by Matthew Mosk. Mosk quoted Obama campaign officials on their practices. According to them, everything was copacetic.
It having worked so well the first time around, and it having aroused so little interest among the mainstream media, Obama is doing it again. So we have reported in the series of posts beginning with “Dubious donations (2012 edition).” There is a story here, but you’d never know it if you get your news from the mainstream media.
It has been reported that the Obama campaign this year, as in 2008, has disabled or chosen not to use AVS in screening contributions made by credit card.
That doesn’t sound very important. But it’s evidence of a modus operandi that strikes me as thuggish.
AVS stands for Address Verification System. It’s the software that checks whether the name of the cardholder matches his or her address.
If a campaign doesn’t use AVS, it can wind up accepting contributions from phony names or accepting contributions from foreigners, both of which are illegal.
The 2008 Obama campaign pocketed money from “John Galt, 1957 Ayn Rand Lane, Galts Gulch CO 99999” and $174,000 from a woman in Missouri who told reporters she had given nothing and had never been billed. Presumably she would have noticed an extra charge of $174,000.
The Obama campaign is evidently happy to pocket the money. After all, this is the president who, according to political scientist Brendan Doherty, has appeared at more fundraisers in three and a half years than his six predecessors did in 35 years.
Obama has been to at least two fundraisers just in my apartment building. I often see police and Secret Service blocking traffic for a block around Washington’s posh Jefferson Hotel at 16th and M streets.
Obama talks a good game on transparency and openness, but he’s ready to flout the law by avoiding AVS and to break his high-minded campaign promises.
In the 2008 campaign cycle, he promised to take public financing for the general election. He broke that promise when it became apparent he could raise far more money on his own.
During much of this cycle, he’s been criticizing Republican super-PACs as a perversion of the political process. But when he saw that Republicans might be able to raise as much money as Democrats, he broke that promise too and authorized Cabinet members to appear at fundraisers for the super-PAC headed by his former deputy press secretary.
Democrats outraised Republicans in 2004 and 2008. Evidently Obama considers it grossly unfair that they might not do so this year. That’s not how things work in Chicago.
Barone being Barone, he assimilates Obama’s dubious donations to a larger theme. The theme is that of Obama’s Chicago-style politics. Barone himself dubbed it “Gangster Government” in a May 2009 column that I can’t find online at the moment.
He concludes today’s column with a return to the dubious donations: “Other campaigns have not disabled their AVS systems. But then their candidates are not from Chicago. Obama likes to talk about the need for civility. He just doesn’t like to practice it.”