Claim: Obama campaign illegally solicited foreign donors via social media website
8:17 AM 10/08/2012 Matthew Boyle
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has been soliciting foreigners for donations, an explosive report from the conservative Government Accountability Institute (GAI) shows. Those foreign donors are allegedly visiting the Obama campaign’s donation solicitation Web pages through a social media website the campaign controls, and through an outside website that serves mostly Internet users from outside the United States.
About 20 percent of visitors to the “my.barackobama.com” social media website “originated from foreign locations,” the report found. That Web address is owned and controlled by the Obama re-election campaign.
“At no point during the [website's] subscription process is a visitor asked whether he or she can legally donate to a U.S. election,” GAI notes.
“Once a visitor signs up, he or she immediately begins receiving solicitations for donations. In fact, numerous foreign nationals report receiving solicitation letters and thank you emails from the campaign for their support. Some of these emails have been reposted on blog sites to encourage friends to click on the donate link or get their names on the email list.”
The “primary purpose of my.barackobama.com is to create a highly personalized vehicle for individuals to ‘get involved’ and to invite others to do the same,” GAI explains. But Obama’s campaign “employs various techniques to gather email and other data on the friends and associations of [the site's] members to further the campaign’s fundraising efforts.”
Washington Examiner writer Paul Bedard reported last week that a fundraising scandal would soon hit the Obama campaign, and may have been one reason why the president bumbled his way to failure during Wednesday’s debate against Mitt Romney.
Federal law prohibits ”a foreign national, directly or indirectly,” from making “a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value … in connection with a Federal, State, or local election. The same section of law makes it a federal crime to “solicit, accept, or receive” such campaign contributions.
GAI’s report explores fundraising practices that directly contradict the president’s 2010 insistence that American elections shouldn’t be funded by foreign powers.
“I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities,” Obama said then.
GAI cites examples comprising what it calls“but a sample” of a large trend of Obama’s campaign soliciting foreign nationals for campaign donations. Those examples focus on foreign bloggers posting fundraising-request emails from the Obama campaign.
The group identified such Obama fundraising solicitations sent to Chinese, Azerbaijani, Vietnamese, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian and Egyptian bloggers.
In a report accompanying the GAI report’s release, former U.S. Attorney Ken Sukhia concluded that the Obama campaign is clearly soliciting donations from foreign nationals. Sukhia served as counsel to President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney on military and overseas ballot cases during the 2000 election.
“The GAI Report has shown that the Obama Campaign actively solicits campaign contributions from non-U.S. residents throughout the world,” Sukhia wrote. “[S]uch solicitations could be explainable if they were received solely by U.S. citizens abroad. They clearly are not.”
In addition to soliciting foreigners for donations, the Obama campaign has chosen not to employ industry-standard safeguards against collecting unlawful foreign donations via its social media and online process, the GAI report says.
Could this be the NEXT Obama Scandal??????
Study cites security flaws in Obama online donation system
Published October 08, 2012 FoxNews.com
The Obama campaign's online donation system contains "major security vulnerabilities," a watchdog group reported Monday, suggesting the flaws could open the door to illicit foreign contributions.
The study by the Government Accountability Institute flagged security problems with a host of political websites, including the online donation pages for nearly half the members of Congress. The report, though, homed in on what it described as three major flaws in the Obama campaign's system for soliciting contributions -- claims the campaign later rejected as unfounded.
For one, the report said, the third-party owned Obama.com -- which redirects users to an official Obama campaign donation page -- has 68 percent foreign traffic, which would suggest a large amount of foreign traffic likewise heading to the Obama campaign donation page.. The site, according to the watchdog group, was bought by an Obama bundler in Shanghai, China.
"It's very clear the Obama campaign is the most successful and aggressive at online fundraising and they on a regular basis are submitting contributions or asking for contributions from people around the world," Peter Schweizer, president of Government Accountability Institute, told Fox News on Monday. "At the same time (they) have the basic lack of security on the back end."
The study also flagged the "absence of the industry standard" CVV requirement -- the requirement that users punch in the security code on their credit cards before purchases -- and it said it's unclear whether the campaign uses a separate anti-fraud system to check where donors live. The study also claimed the campaign used "active foreign solicitation" with email solicitations that go around the world.
The report raised concerns that small-dollar donations could be trickling in with little accounting of where they come from. Information on donations under $200 does not have to be disclosed.
An Obama campaign official, though, told Fox News the claims were "baseless," pointing to "robust safeguards" in place to prevent improper donations.
A campaign blog post further explained that the campaign does not accept donations from foreign nations, using an "address verification system" to confirm their legitimacy and manually reviewing any transaction flagged as potentially fraudulent. The campaign said it also requires a passport copy from anyone eligible to donate but listed with an address outside the U.S.
The campaign said the GAI claims "are more reflective of the group's politics than any grain of truth," citing the conservative background of the group's leaders.
According to the GAI report, Mitt Romney has raised $58 million in donations under $200 apiece, while Obama has raised $271 million.
Government Accountability Institute said that Romney's website, unlike Obama's, does require donors to enter in their CVV information. However, the study questioned Romney's use of foreign bundlers, noting the "full extent" of the Romney bundling network is not known because the Romney campaign has not disclosed that information.
The report showed 47.3 percent of House and Senate members with online donation pages also do not use the CVV requirement.