Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama's Untraceable "Back-End" Contributions

The Washington Post picks up on the Obama campaign's finance irregularities this morning, "Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations":

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor's identity, campaign officials confirmed.

Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.

The Obama organization said its extensive review has ensured that the campaign has refunded any improper contributions, and noted that Federal Election Commission rules do not require front-end screening of donations.

In recent weeks, questionable contributions have created headaches for Obama's accounting team as it has tried to explain why campaign finance filings have included itemized donations from individuals using fake names, such as Es Esh or Doodad Pro. Those revelations prompted conservative bloggers to further test Obama's finance vetting by giving money using the kind of prepaid cards that can be bought at a drugstore and cannot be traced to a donor.

The problem with such cards, campaign finance lawyers said, is that they make it impossible to tell whether foreign nationals, donors who have exceeded the limits, government contractors or others who are barred from giving to a federal campaign are making contributions.

"They have opened the floodgates to all this money coming in," said Sean Cairncross, chief counsel to the Republican National Committee. "I think they've made the determination that whatever money they have to refund on the back end doesn't outweigh the benefit of taking all this money upfront."
Here's more:

...R. Rebecca Donatelli, who handles online contributions for the McCain operation and the RNC, said security measures have been standard in the GOP nominee's fundraising efforts throughout the campaign. She said she was "flabbergasted" to learn that the Obama campaign accepts prepaid cards.
Flabbergasted, alright. Mark Steyn indicates just who's able to contribute under "back-end"review:

Almost every fraudulent donation sails through, and real money leaves real accounts. To give to Obama his fellow "citizens of the world" don't even have to pretend to be American. As detailed yesterday, Mr A Hitler of Berlin, Germany is only the most obvious fake donor to make a contribution and receive shortly afterwards a Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome email thanking him for joining the active community of community activists:

Dear Adolfe,

Thanks for joining this movement...

Check out the resources below — learn how you can connect with fellow supporters, organize in your neighborhood, build our national grassroots organization, and stay informed with the very latest campaign news.

This story demonstrates just how dramatically old-school Barack Obama really is.

Here's a man who campaigns on "hope and change" and "post-partisanship," who then turns out to have refused public financing when he realized he could win the money game, and who ends up pushing the envelope of federal election law in his campaign for the White House.

With just a week left in the campaign, Obama's finance scandal won't slow the Democratic juggernaut (the media's lack of investigative journalism guarantees it), but after the election, an Obama administration's claims to uniting the people under a banner of reform will be rightly denounced as just more talk from a candidate who's now taken the urban-machine steamroller model of politics all the way to the White House.

As Bill Dyer rightly argues:

This is an infectious disease, an antibiotic-resistant acute contagion of corruption, a type of flesh-eating political bacteria that will — best case for Democrats, unless immediately disinfected starting today by their candidate himself — rob their would-be president elect of any political legitimacy even before Election Day, much less before the inauguration. In both scope and consequence, this bodes to make Watergate look like a playground fist-fight among kindergartners.

See also, Powerline, "Obama Shrugged: The Website."