Obama is raising campaign money handy over fist - Big Time!
This is incredible. No wonder Obama is being so generous in helping
Hillary with her campaign debts. I am greatly surprised, almost shocked,
that this liberal journalist would write this column. Doesn't she know she
could be killed? She's brave!
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: June 29, 2008
Go to Columnist Page » <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/maureendowd/index.html>
OBAMA’S TROUBLING INTERNET FUND RAISING
Certainly the most interesting and potentially
devastating phone call I have received during this election cycle came
this week from one of the Obama’s campaign internet geeks. These are the
staffers who devised Obama’s internet fund raising campaign which raised
in the neighborhood of $200 million so far. That is more then twice the
total funds raised by any candidate in history – and this was all from the
What I learned from this insider was shocking but I
guess we shouldn’t be surprised that when it comes to fund raising there
simply are no rules that can’t be broken and no ethics that prevail.
Obama’s internet campaign started out innocently enough
with basic e-mail networking , lists saved from previous party campaigns
and from supporters who visited any of the Obama campaign web sites.
Small contributions came in from these sources and the
internet campaign staff were more than pleased by the results.
Then, about two months into the campaign the daily
contribution intake multiplied. Where was it coming from? One of the web
site security monitors began to notice the bulk of the contributions were
clearly coming in from overseas internet service providers and at the rate
and frequency of transmission it was clear these donations were
“programmed” by a very sophisticated user.
While the security people were not able to track most of
the sources due to firewalls and other blocking devices put on these
contributions they were able to collate the number of contributions that
were coming in seemingly from individuals but the funds were from only a
few credit card accounts and bank electronic funds transfers. The internet
service providers (ISP) they were able to trace were from Saudi Arabia ,
Iran , and other Middle Eastern countries. One of the banks used for fund
transfers was also located in Saudi Arabia .
Another concentrated group of donations was traced to a
Chinese ISP with a similar pattern of limited credit card charges.
It became clear that these donations were very likely
coming from sources other than American voters. This was discussed at
length within the campaign and the decision was made that none of these
donations violated campaign financing laws.
It was also decided that it was not the responsibility
of the campaign to audit these millions of contributions as to the actual
source (specific credit card number or bank transfer account numbers) to
insure that none of these internet contributors exceeded the legal maximum
donation on a cumulative basis of many small donations. They also found
the record keeping was not complete enough to do it anyway.
This is a shocking revelation.
We have been concerned about the legality of “bundling”
contributions after the recent exposure of illegal bundlers but now it
appears we may have an even greater problem.
I guess we should have been somewhat suspicious when the
numbers started to come out. We were told (no proof offered) that the
Obama internet contributions were from $10.00 to $25.00 or so.
If the $200,000,000 is right, and the average
contribution was $15.00, that would mean over 13 million individuals made
contributions? That would also be 13 million contributions would need to
be processed. How did all that happen?
I believe the Obama campaign’s internet fund raising
needs a serious, in depth investigation and audit. It also appears the
whole question of internet fund raising needs investigation by the
legislature and perhaps new laws to insure it complies not only with the
letter of these laws but the spirit as well.