Dubious donations: OFA responds

The Obama campaign has posted a response to the Government Accountability Institute report that addresses the campaign’s online fundraising methodology. I wrote about the report most recently in “Dubious donations: Hasen down the wind.” Here is the Obama campaign’s response (links not included):

Amidst the unparalleled spending from super PAC billionaires and outside groups, nearly 4 million Americans have come together to change the face of this race and help President Obama in the fight to keep moving our country forward. Thanks to our supporters, we’ve made American political history with 10 million grassroots donations since January.

The allegations made by Government Accountability Institute (GAI) are more reflective of the group’s politics than any grain of truth. GAI’s Chairman, Stephen Bannon, took over as executive chairman of Breitbart News and directed an anti-Obama movie released at the RNC by Citizens United. GAI President Peter Schweizer is a right-wing activist who advised Sarah Palin on foreign policy and worked as an editor for Breitbart News. The attorney hired by GAI to write their report, Ken Sukhia, shares an address with GAI, has “strong Republican ties,” and touts his work with Republicans on his own website.

We’ve seen this pattern of peddling bogus news before too, when right-wing pundit and former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen previously cited a GAI “report” to promote a false attack on President Obama, without initially disclosing that he had commissioned the report from his own business partner, Schweizer. Their attacks are entirely false and come from another right-wing front group posing as an independent watchdog.

OFA does not accept donations from foreign nationals or any other ineligible individual—and the campaign voluntarily goes above and beyond Federal Election Commitments to ensure the integrity of fundraising efforts.

Here’s how we do that:

All credit card contributions are processed using AN Address Verification System (AVS) to ensure their legitimacy.

OFA invests significant resources into a manual process to review any transaction that’s been flagged by the campaign’s credit card processor’s fraud detection services.

Though not required by law, OFA requires a copy of a valid passport from any contributor who has been affirmed as eligible but donates with a mailing address outside the U.S. If they do not offer in one in a timely manner, the donation is returned.

OFA screens all online credit card contributions that originate from a foreign IP address and, if any questions arise regarding the contributor’s U.S. citizenship, the campaign requests proof of a current and valid U.S. passport in order to be in compliance with the FEC’s safe harbor guidelines.

OFA has strong and rigorous safeguards in place to ensure our donors are eligible and that our fundraising efforts comply with all U.S. laws and regulations. While no campaign can control who visits their websites, OFA is in no way directing solicitations to foreign nationals nor knowingly seeking foreign contributions—that is the legal standard.

With the addition of the charming ad hominem attacks to the repertoire, that’s their story and they’re stickin’ to it.