By Gary P Jackson
Peter Schweizer and the Government Accountability Institute are all over the latest criminal activity from the Obama regime. Though it was suspected that the Obama campaign was getting millions in illegal foreign donations in 2008, the actions of the regime this campaign season leave no doubt. The Obama campaign is actually soliciting donation from foreigners, this is incredibly illegal.
Of course, as the report below says, the FEC generally looks the other way, rather than do it’s job. Even if it does investigate, the FEC rarely takes action.
Unscrupulous actors like Barack Obama are able to push the rules well past the breaking point, because they know nothing will happen to them. Nothing at all.
Peter and Stephen K Bannon appeared on The Sean Hannity Show Monday night to talk about this:
Video courtesy SarahNet.
Schweizer and Peter J Boyer wrote an extensive piece for Newsweek:[emphasis mine]
The Illegal-Donor Loophole
There has been no shortage of media attention paid to the role of money in the current presidential contest. Super PACs, bundlers, 527s, and mega-donors have attracted abundant notice. But there has been surprisingly little focus on perhaps the most secretive and influential financial force in politics today: the wide-open coffers of the Internet.
With millions of online campaign donations ricocheting through cyberspace, one might think the Federal Election Commission would have erected serious walls to guard federal elections from foreign or fraudulent Internet contributions. But that’s far from true. In fact, campaigns are largely expected to police these matters themselves.
There’s certainly ample historical reason to worry about foreign donations: in the 1990s, for instance, there were allegations that Chinese officials had funneled money into U.S. campaigns.
The solicitation of campaign donations from foreign nationals is prohibited by the Federal Election Campaign Act. But that law, passed in the 1970s, did not anticipate the Internet, or the creative uses that can be made of such social media as Facebook.
Campaigns that aggressively raise money online are soliciting donations from people around the world—whether they intend to or not. People repost campaign solicitations on blogs that send them sprawling around the globe like digital kudzu. For example, an Obama campaign official posting ended up on Arabic Facebook, complete with a hyperlink to a donation page. In another instance, someone posted videos on Latin American websites featuring Sen. Marco Rubio, and included embedded advertisements asking for campaign donations.
In addition, people around the world are being asked for donations by the campaigns themselves, simply because they signed up for information on campaign websites. The problem: candidate webpages don’t ask visitors from foreign IP addresses to enter a military ID or passport number. Instead, the websites use auto-responder email systems that simply gather up email addresses and automatically spit out solicitations.
The FEC, meanwhile, has taken the position that this sort of passive internet solicitation is not illegal, because the campaigns, presumably, are not intentionally targeting foreign nationals with their online money pleas.
Further complicating the issue are websites like Obama.com—which is owned not by the Obama campaign but by Robert Roche, an American businessman and Obama fundraiser who lives in Shanghai. Roche’s China-based media company, Acorn International, runs infomercials on Chinese state television. Obama.com redirects to a specific donation page on BarackObama.com, the official campaign website. Unlike BarackObama.com, Obama.com’s traffic is 68 percent foreign, according to markosweb.com, a traffic-analysis website. According to France-based web analytics site Mustat.com, Obama.com receives over 2,000 visitors every day.
The name Robert W. Roche appears 11 times in the White House visitors log during the Obama administration. Roche also sits on the Obama administration’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, and is a co-chair of Technology for Obama, a fundraising effort. (In an email exchange, Roche declined to discuss his website, or his support for the Obama reelection effort, referring the inquiries to the Obama campaign team. The Obama campaign, in turn, says it has no control over Roche’s website; it also says only 2 percent of the donations associated with Obama.com come from overseas.)
But it isn’t just foreign donations that are a concern. So are fraudulent donations. In the age of digital contributions, fraudsters can deploy so-called robo-donations, computer programs that use false names to spew hundreds of donations a day in small increments, in order to evade reporting requirements. According to an October 2008 Washington Post article, Mary Biskup of Missouri appeared to give more than $170,000 in small donations to the 2008 Obama campaign. Yet Biskup said she never gave any money to the campaign. Some other contributor gave the donations using her name, without her knowledge. (The Obama campaign explained to the Post that it caught the donations and returned them.)
This makes it all the more surprising that the Obama campaign does not use a standard security tool, the card verification value (CVV) system—the three- or four-digit number often imprinted on the back of a credit card, whose purpose is to verify that the person executing the purchase (or, in this case, donation) physically possesses the card. The Romney campaign, by contrast, does use the CVV—as has almost every other candidate who has run for president in recent years, from Hillary Clinton in 2008 to Ron Paul this year. (The Obama campaign says it doesn’t use the CVV because it can be an inhibiting factor for some small donors.) Interestingly, the Obama campaign’s online store requires the CVV to purchase items like hats or hoodies (the campaign points out that its merchandise vendor requires the tool).
We also focused on the Obama campaign because it is far more successful than Romney when it comes to small donors—which the Internet greatly helps to facilitate. In September the Obama campaign brought in its biggest fundraising haul—$181 million. Nearly all of that amount (98 percent) came from small donations, through 1.8 million transactions.
The Obama campaign says that it is rigorous in its self-regulation effort. “We take great care to make sure that every one of our more than three million donors are eligible to donate and that our fundraising efforts fully comply with all U.S. laws and regulations,” says campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher. Campaign officials say they use multiple security tools to screen all online credit-card contributions, and then review, by hand, those donations that are flagged by their automated system. Potentially improper donations, such as those originating from foreign Internet addresses, are returned to any donors who cannot provide a copy of their current U.S. passport photo pages, the campaign says.
But the weakness of the current system isn’t particular to any campaign. It’s a broad reliance on self-policing combined with a lack of transparency. Foreign or fraudulent donations might be less of a concern if it were possible for outsiders—the press, the public, good government watchdog groups, or the Federal Election Commission—to independently determine whether they were taking place. But it isn’t. Candidates need only publicly report campaign contributions over $200. For donations between $50 and $200 (the average donation in Obama’s huge September haul was $53), candidates are simply required to make an effort to obtain accurate identifying information—information they aren’t required to report. And for donations under $50, regulations don’t even require campaigns to keep a record of identifying information.
The FEC, to be sure, does occasionally conduct investigations into foreign or fraudulent donations. But the majority of these investigations only result in civil fines or closure without action. There is much more that could be done to remedy this situation. First, campaigns should be required to disclose identifying information on all their donors, not just those who give over $200. Second, campaigns should be required to ask for the CVV number when accepting donations. Finally, campaigns should be required to ask people signing up for campaign information whether they are able to legally donate. There is simply no reason non-Americans should be solicited for donations via email.
Until such measures are enacted, however, the integrity of our campaign-donation system will remain mostly in the hands of political consultants and campaign managers. Is that wise?
For more on the subject, see this new report from Peter Schweizer’s Government Accountability Institute.
Here’s even more from CBS Market Watch:
Many of us remember how “Doodad Pro” and “O.J. Simpson” gave money to Obama during his first presidential campaign. And how this was no accident. From 2008:
The Obama campaign has turned a blind eye to the possibility of donor fraud. Reportedly, during the heated primary battle with Hillary Clinton, the Obama campaign “turned off” many of the security features on its online donor page, allowing any person with a valid credit card number to donate using any name or address.
Typically, card merchants require a cardholder’s name to match critical personal details, such as an address or, at the least, a ZIP code.
And of course some of the money came from the credit cards of real people. It’s just that they didn’t authorize the donations.
Well, in the wake of news that Obama is headed towards raising $1 billion as a candidate this time around, there has been word of a new scandal regarding foreign contributions, which Katie Pavlich says could break as early as tonight.
By the way, Obama’s incredible $181 million take in September was especially notable because only 2% of it was reportable:
The campaign said that just over 1.8 million people made donations to the campaign last month. According to the campaign, over 500k of these were brand-new donors, having neither given in 2008 nor 2012. 98% of contributions were under the reporting threshold of $250. Of these, the average contribution was $53.
That means up to 98% of the September take could be from illegal sources. I’m not saying it is — in fact, it’s virtually certain that any illegal amount is nowhere near that much. But it still could be a lot.
If money is coming from foreign sources, it might be interesting to see how much is coming from Russia. Remember: In March, Obama told Russia he could be more . . . flexible with Russia after the election:
President Barack Obama was caught on camera on Monday assuring outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he will have “more flexibility” to deal with contentious issues like missile defense after the U.S. presidential election.
Obama, during talks in Seoul, urged Moscow to give him “space” until after the November ballot, and Medvedev said he would relay the message to incoming Russian president Vladimir Putin.
More foreign money could lead to more flexibility. It’s amazing how flexible politicians can become when there is enough cash to loosen things up.
We’ll stay on top of this story.
UPDATE: Commenter John Cunningham says:
There can be no doubt that the Obama web site is wide open for foreign money and fraud. I was over at a buddy’s house a month ago, I watched him log onto the Obama site, use his Visa card to donate $5, with no request for security code. he was moved to a page that asked for his personal info.
He entered Josef Stalin, Apt. 2, the Kremlin, Red Square, Moscow. Job–General Secretary. Employer: Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
It took the donation. his account was charged a couple of days later.
I just tried this, up the point where they wanted me to hit the donate button. I entered this information:
Then I entered my credit card number and expiration date, and I got this page, asking for my employer and occupation, which I duly filled in:
While it’s obvious the Obama campaign is breaking the law, just as it did in 2008, it’s just as obvious those in charge of stopping these illegal activities are asleep at the wheel, and that’s the real scandal.
Corruption in politics have hit critical mass. We need to send real reformers to Washington and create laws with real teeth that will see corrupt politicians pay for their crimes. Right now there is so much corruption because there is no real penalties if anyone gets caught.
This is a dangerous situation. With all of the money buying so much influence, the very existence of our Republic is threatened. Again, this is nothing new, but we are a point now that it can no longer be tolerated. Politicians are able to get away with illegal activities that would sens an ordinary citizen to prison for a long, long time.
Things MUST change and they must change now.