Back in 2007, early on in his campaign, Barack Obama said:
“I have been a long-time advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests…. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election….If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.” – Washington Post
Obama even wrote an editorial in USA Today.
On June 19, 2008, shortly after cinching the Democratic party nomination, Obama’s campaign reneged on that promise. The campaign went on to rake in over $750 million by November of that year while his opponent John McCain abided by FEC regulations limiting private funding and encountered full public scrutiny.
The Obama campaign engaged in a massive credit card fraud scheme in raising that money. Federal law is clear. An individual can give $2,500 to each candidate and $30,800 to the national campaign committees. There are other limits as well, and the new Super PAC’s fall outside of this discussion.
We are talking specifically about “individual” campaign contributions. In 2008, Obama received campaign contributions from Osama Bin Laden, Bill Ayers, Saddam Hussein, A. Hitler, J. Stalin, hundreds of M. Mouses, and one Mary T. Biskup of Manchester, MO who seems to have given $175,000 using multiple credit cards on multiple dates.
Except when contacted Ms. Biskup stated that she had never made such donations, nor did they show up on her credit card bills. Hmmmm.
The media reported the fraud widely. NCV codes, the 3 and 4 digit credit card verification codes necessary to prevent fraudulent use of credit cards, were missing from the Obama campaign’s donation web pages. Address verifications were also missing. In other words anyone could donate as much as they wanted without verification or traceability, breaking the law doing so. In 2008, the amount involved exceeded $200 million.
It’s funny, because if you want to buy a Obama T Shirt or commemorative coffee mug on the same web site, the NCV code must be entered.
The FEC was asked to investigate the scandal, but stated that because the Obama campaign was privately financed it could not do so under the law.
A further twist was added when the Administration put the FEC on life support. Last year, Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center, Public Citizen, Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and U.S. PIRG held a press conference at which they stated:
“The FEC is itself a national campaign finance scandal,” and “The FEC is a dysfunctional agency that refuses to enforce the campaign finance laws.”
All summer long we have been reading about the President’s jetting around the country for high-profile fundraisers in New York, San Francisco, Detroit, and Los Angeles for high profile fund raisers. The numbers reported for these fundraisers have been in the $4 – $5 Million/event range. Not a bad payday, but in the middle of a down economy and with the middle class which is hurting there is a huge gap to be filled. There have been a number of reports of the Obama campaign struggling for financing this year, burning through cash much faster than they could raise it as of late August.
But a miracle seems to have occurred. Suddenly in September the campaign was able to raise $150 Million. But this has been tainted by another scandal. It seems the Obama campaign has used another subterfuge.
An independently owned web site called Obama.com run by a prominent Obama supporter in Shanghai, China has been raising hundreds of millions of dollars with no scrutiny whatsoever. By locating the site outside of the United States, it is largely shielded from U.S. laws. In addition, 68% of the traffic to the site has come from overseas, which is generally illegal. Almost all of the donations have been under the $200 reporting limit, and many have been made with non-traceable prepaid credit cards.
In a world in which the Treasury Department has become the most intrusive and relentless financial agency in the world in its search for money laundering operations, the Obama campaign has itself become a money laundering organization with virtually no scrutiny.
The president stood at the podium at the Democratic Convention railing against special interests but is seems that he has created his own special interest very successfully.
As in 2008, the reports say that the Obama campaign will spend close to $750 million on the campaign. This is an obscene sum, especially in the middle of an economic downturn. More to the point the president promised transparency and accountability and yet his has been one of the most opaque administrations and campaigns in history. Watch what he does, not what he says.