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Obama Campaign Takes Money Now, Asks Questions Later

Is Obama's campaign piggy bank a murky shade of sneakiness? By allowing donors to use prepaid credit cards, which are for the most part untraceable, the Obama campaign could be allowing donors to dodge limits or hide a donor's identity. That combined with a huge chunk of donations being given online, basic security measures to stop illegal or anonymous money from hitting the campaign account are nonexistent. The campaign's solution is to take the money now, and study the list for illegal donations or discrepancies later.

The campaign says the FEC rules don't require screening of the money before it's been accepted, but their methods seem problematic. Recent filings have included donations from the likes of "Doodad Pro." The biggest problem seems to be the prepaid cards, which makes it impossible to check for any of the identity or contribution limits, as well as whether the money is coming from a foreign source, a problem they've faced all campaign. An investigation of the money situation was prompted in part by a $174,800 donation from one person listed in a FEC report — the limit is $2,300. Problematic in itself, but made worse by the fact that the person didn't even do it — someone else was using her name.

This can't be the campaign finance reform Obama's in favor of — can it?


Join The Conversation
jpac jpac 8 years
This is just not accurate an rather misleading. The Obama campaign goes through painstaking efforts to make sure it follows the rules, and actually goes above and beyond the requirements (e.g. refusing to accept donations from anyone registered as a lobbyist). With regards to the $174,000 donation, that money would never be able to be used by the campaign and it was never attempted. The system worked here, as it was supposed to. Anytime a donation exceeds the maximun (which, in a general election Presidential is actually 30,800, because you can donate 2,300 to the candidate and 28,500 to the National Comittee), every cent over the maximum is taken out of the cash-on-hand totals and refunded (usually after the campaign as a matter of practicality). That money is NEVER used, ever, period. In a situation where someone grossly over contributes (such as $170,000) it is reported to the FEC and triggers an automatic investigation. It is extremely misleading to claim the Obama campaign is being shady, they did what they were supposed to do and reported it to the independent, federal commission who then investigated the situation. As for pre-paid card issues, it is a very difficult situation for the reasons so many people have commented on already. It isn't about raising money (the vast majority of donations come from personal credit cards or checks, not pre-paid cards), it is an issue of not denying someone a chance to take part financially because they don't have a credit line. This is not an Obama campagn decision, this was a decision made by the bi-partisan legislation during campaign finance reform. Again, the Obama campaign goes through painstaking steps to obtain the identities of the people making donations and questionable (and sometime downright obvious) discrepencies cause the money to be removed from cash-on-hand totals and therefor not used. After the election, the campaign will go through every last bit on questionable donations that were removed from cash-on-hand and, therefore, not used, and do one of two things: if the issue is simply someone exceeded the maximum in a minor way, the money is refunded with a note that essentially says "thank you for your donation, you exceeded the maximun by $100, so here is your refund." If the issue appears to be more than that, some type of fraud, then it is turned over to the FEC for investigation. I write this as someone who has worked on numerous campaigns over the years, including working closely with finance committees on both sides of the aisle (although I am a Dem). I do not work for the Obama campaign, but am very familiar with their finance committee and can say it is perhaps the strictest campaign I have ever seen when it comes to following the rules and preventing fraud.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
"What people are not aware of is, in some communities people are unable to get checking accounts and bank cards. So, they get prepaid cards to use for transactions online what they could essentially be doing is opening up the donor base to those who are unable to pay in no other way besides cash. You can get prepaid cards for the check cashing places in many large cities, where there is a very diverse population." Very good point, Geri.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
"And prepaid credit cards" I also think that preventing people from paying by prepaid credit card is also on the same lines as voter suppression a lot of people who are stated to be in the "democratic demographic" ( the youth, the poor, some minorities) that would vote for Obama don't have lines of credit, so a pre paid card is useful
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
If you look at almost any post regardless of it it's McCain or Obama related there will be a direct call for the other candidate to be called out and to think that it's not going to be means that you haven't been on citizensugar lately. It's American politics and we live in a primarily "two party world" so many people want to see both sides of a story. Donations from private citizens are donations regardless if it's funneled through a 3rd party or not. If the roles were reversed and McCain was getting donations hands over fist would could exspect the Obama campaign to try and raise doubt about his finaces as well. It's almost human nature that when your getting beat you have to find a way to win even if it's to say the other guys cheating!
GeriAnne1932 GeriAnne1932 8 years
What people are not aware of is, in some communities people are unable to get checking accounts and bank cards. So, they get prepaid cards to use for transactions online what they could essentially be doing is opening up the donor base to those who are unable to pay in no other way besides cash. You can get prepaid cards for the check cashing places in many large cities, where there is a very diverse population.
Sticker1 Sticker1 8 years
The Anarchist's Cookbook is actually a pretty interesting little book. Entertaining and thoughtful all at once. I think as long as the rules aren't enforced in a strict manner, anybody would take advantage of them in terms of donations. They should probably create a limit on private fund raising in the future in order to level the playing field.
hope2be hope2be 8 years
First, CitizenSugar, thanks for posting the article. Um, I read about the campaign donation thing a few days ago. I think they're also investigating RNC too after DNC requested a full-on investigation for their campaign donors for McCain/Palin. I think I read this on news though, article done by AP. I heard also (I've not been to McCain website) that the McCain/Palin released like an accounting of their campaign funds. And that DNC has been reviewing them and finds some discrepancies or it's somewhat beyond the limit or something like that. I need to find that article now. I don't know, I think they need to fix some elements for future campaigning. Faulty voting machines, donation regulations and so on.
dreamsugar dreamsugar 8 years
Roarman Roarman 8 years
He also has time to teach kindergartners about sex. He is a busy guy, not sure how he will fit this all in and be President if he is elected. At least he can take grinding kitties up to make prepaid debit cards off his to do list if elected.
piper23 piper23 8 years
Yeah, but he reads 'The Anorchist's Cookbook' to the kids so that's not neccessarily a good thing.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
stephley stephley 8 years
Kittens to grind up, money to steal, terrorists to entertain, and still has time to read to the kids!
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
You forgot stephley that in addition to being pure evil Obama arranged for the prepaid credit cards to be made of ground up kittens.
dreamsugar dreamsugar 8 years
Stephley P.I. for president!! ;)
stephley stephley 8 years
It seems to me that funneling massive amounts of money through prepaid credit cards would be costly and ultimately traceable. You'd have to have boatloads of cards - which means that stores or websites would have records of one or two buyers with huge orders. Then someone has to sit and make the donations online and again, ultimately they would be traceable at least to the point of origin because any company/store that has the cards in its possession to sell would have the card numbers recorded. The cards can't be stolen or they wouldn't be activated. You probably could erase the original sale somehow, but this is an awful lot of effort for a big money donor. It seems an amateurish, or very new to the game of questionable donations, way of doing things. But we know that Obama is pure evil so I'm sure the time and effort to cheat this way would be worth it to him.
piper23 piper23 8 years
Citizen is an equal opportunity offender.
dreamsugar dreamsugar 8 years
The dev department (at my job) says adding in the code would probably take a couple of hours -- but of course they would have to look at the code first to give you a more accurate time quote ;)
dreamsugar dreamsugar 8 years
[So my little itty bitty donation went to the RNC which probably covered to cost of Palin's panty hose.] :rotfl:
indielove indielove 8 years
"And pre-paid credit cards -- if there is no way to check how are they suppose to know -- and how are they suppose to be held responsible for it." Exactly.
dreamsugar dreamsugar 8 years
[When will we see a post about McCain's questionable donations?]= Exactly -- McCain is playing defense and throwing the kitchen sink right about now. The Obama camp has said that they have refunded many and all donations that were frivolous or which they felt were fraudulent. And pre-paid credit cards -- if there is no way to check how are they suppose to know -- and how are they suppose to be held responsible for it.
kranky kranky 8 years
siguros siguros 8 years
So McCain isnt accepting donations via pre-paid credit cards?
indielove indielove 8 years
Ok. Look, my point is that if McCain's donors aren't scrutinized, why should the issue of Obama's be hashed and rehashed every 2.5 seconds? The bias is overwhelming and I see alot of bitterness coming out and not only from my side of the fence.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Or I could leave a comment! I just think we should resist the urge to talk about whether the site is biased or whether the other guy did it, too instead of just discussing this story.
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