The Corner

Is the Obama Campaign Being Financed by Foreign Donations?

Peter Schweizer’s Government Accountability Institute is out with a report today on foreign and fraudulent campaign contributions. It is the most comprehensive treatment of the issue to date. The key findings relate to the Obama campaign: 

  • The Obama campaign lacks the “industry standard level” of credit card security for donations

  • The website was purchased by an Obama bundler based in Shanghai, China, with questionable ties to state-run enterprises

  • 68% of the traffic to is foreign, and the site was linked to a specific donation page on the official campaign website for ten months 

Schweizer also finds that, based on the security measures currently in place, nearly half of Congress is vulnerable to fraudulent and foreign donations. Schweizer provided this statement to Powerline, which covers the report here

When it comes to money in this campaign all the focus has been on Super PACs. But far more troubling in my mind is the reality of how easily foreign governments or individuals can inject funds in the U.S. 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 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: The irony here is rich, because the president railed against foreign donations in as high profile an address as the State of the Union, and David Axelrod accused both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Republican Super PACs for purportedly accepting donations from foreign entities. I’ve collected their remarks here

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