October 8, 2012
The Government Accountability Institute released a blockbuster study today on the issue of foreign donations in American politics, and in particular, the Obama campaign. The study determined three key findings:
- The absence of the industry-standard CVV and unknown use of AVS anti-fraud security for online credit card donations.
- The presence of a branded, major third-party owned website (Obama.com) redirects its 68% foreign traffic to a campaign donation page.
- Active foreign solicition using indiscriminate email solicitations and exposure to social media.
The branded site, Obama.com, was created in Shanghai, China, by an Obama bundler, but its present registration information is hidden.
If this story seems like a re-run, that’s because the Obama campaign also disabled the credit card verification system for online donations four years ago.
The Obama campaign had also disabled the credit card verification system this year, and was caught accepting donations from “Aunt Zeituni,” “Adolph Hitler” (occupation: dictator) and “Nidal Hasan.” “Osama binladen” also donated back in April 2012.
To understand how this happens, click on the link to our post from April 2012. It’s standard operating practice for online donation pages to include the CVV field, which a donor would use to fill in the code on the back of their credit card for security verification. As we demonstrated in that post, the Romney campaign’s donation page included the CVV field, but Obama’s did not.
That doesn’t happen by accident. Having run an online donation page for a political party, I’ve been on the inside of this question. It’s industry standard to include the CVV field; someone typically has to disable that field intentionally. Disabling the CVV field opens the donation page up to accepting money from foreign sources and from identity thieves who may have stolen credit card information from unsuspecting innocent parties.
Interestingly, according to the GAI’s study, the Obama campaign’s online store requires the CVV for purchasing campaign swag.
Accepting foreign donations is illegal. It’s also against federal law to solicit foreign donations. Obama himself has decried the possibility of foreign money working its way into U.S. elections. In 2010, he said that American elections should not be “bankrolled by foreign entities.” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod even accused the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of accepting foreign donations, and when pressed for evidence, insisted that the burden of proof was on the Chamber, not the Obama campaign. Axelrod presumably would not accept that the burden of proof regarding his campaign’s evident acceptance of foreign donations is now on the campaign.
Powerline, Dan Riehl, Daily Caller, Katie Pavlich, National Review, and Hot Air all have more on this story. The Obama campaign says it raised a staggering $181 million in September. But federal law doesn’t require disclosure on donations less than $200, and guess what: Most of Obama’s donations stayed below that mark. This means the campaign doesn’t have to disclose where those small donations are coming from, or who is behind them. Americans have no reason to be confident that the president of the United States’ re-election effort is being driven by Americans donating to it.
We’re on our third iteration of this foreign donation scandal for Barack Obama. It’s about to break into the top five scandals that should sink this president.