We’ve been following the story of the Obama campaign’s slipshod fundraising methods since 2008. I took a whack at explaining what we had learned as of October 27, 2008 in the New York Post column “Dubious donations.” We returned to the subject earlier this year in several posts, the last of which was “Dubious donations: Obama campaign statement.” The campaign statement was issued to Rick Hasen’s Election Law Blog, with no follow-up on the questions that it raised. The Obama campaign never returned my call seeking to follow up on its statement.
Today Peter Schweizer’s Government Accountability Institute issues America the Vulnerable, a report on foreign and fraudulent campaign contributions, the centerpiece of which is an analysis of Obama’s online fundraising operation. The GAI has set up this Web page to publicize the report, which is posted online here.
GAI takes a good-government approach to investigating the issues raised by online donations in general. The report’s findings about the Obama campaign’s modus operandi in particular are nevertheless newsworthy and disturbing. Peter Schweizer has provided us the following statement that concisely highlights the relevant findings and places the focus where it belongs:
When it comes to money in this campaign all the focus has been on SuperPACs. But far more troubling in my mind is the reality of how easily foreign governments or individuals can inject funds in the US presidential campaign. The FEC does not require basic security for Internet donations. And in the case of the Obama campaign the gate appears to be wide open. You need to use the CVV security code on your credit card to buy an Obama hoodie, but not to make a donation. And there is very real evidence that the campaign is not using the address verification system (AVS) in any real way. There are simply too many contributions they accept with either no zip code or an incorrect zip code. To make matters worse, donations under $200 don’t even need to be disclosed. Twenty years ago that might not matter but in the era of robo-donations its a huge problem.
UPDATE: Among those covering the release of the report this morning are my daughter Eliana at NRO’s Corner, Jim Geraghty at NRO’s Campaign Spot, Matthew Boyle at the Daily Caller, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, Katie Pavlich at Townhall, and Wynton Hall at Breitbart. Please check them all out.