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RNC raising questions about legions of Obama small donors

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FROM THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE

Please see the below. There are very real questions concerning Obama's fundraising operation and its compliance with the rules and regulations that govern elections. Reports of fictitious donors, excessive contributions, foreign donations, and even folks getting their credit cards charged without their permission are running in newspapers across the country. At what point does the Obama campaign take responsibility and speak to these issues in a meaningful way?

Sent: Monday, October 20, 2008 12:05 PM
Subject: PUBLIC FINANCE FALLOUT

PUBLIC FINANCE FALLOUT
After Destroying The Public Finance System, Obama's Fundraising Is Fraught With Suspicious Donations And A Lack Of Disclosure
______________________________________________________________________

Obama Abandoned Pledge To Seek Agreement To Accept Public Financing Alongside His Republican Opponent:

In Response To A Midwest Democracy Network Questionnaire, Obama Said He Would Accept Public Funding In The General Election. Question: "If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?" Obama: "Yes. 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." (Sen. Barack Obama, "Presidential Candidate Questionnaire," Midwest Democracy Network, www.commoncause.org, 11/27/07)

Obama Even Referred To His Plan As A "Fundraising Pledge" For His Opponents To Accept. Obama: "In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge." (Sen. Barack Obama, "Presidential Candidate Questionnaire," Midwest Democracy Network, www.commoncause.org, 11/27/07)

Obama: "If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election." (Sen. Barack Obama, "Presidential Candidate Questionnaire," Midwest Democracy Network, www.commoncause.org, 11/27/07)

Then, The Obama Campaign Opted Out Of The General Election Public Financing System, While John McCain Stuck To His Pledge. Obama: "We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it, and they will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy and the powerful." (Jake Tapper, "Obama Prepares Argument To Discard Public-Financing Principle," ABC News' "Political Punch" Blog, blogs.abcnews.com, 4/8/08)

Obama's Campaign Has Refused To Reaffirm Its Earlier Commitment To Take Public Funding In The General Election If His Republican Opponent Agreed To Do The Same. "Senator John McCain's presidential campaign said Thursday that it stood by a year-old pledge made with Senator Barack Obama that each would accept public financing for the general election if the nominee of the opposing party did the same. But Mr. Obama's campaign refused to reaffirm its earlier commitment." (Elisabeth Bumiller, "Skirmishing By McCain And Obama On Financing," The New York Times, 2/15/08)

Obama Opted Out Of Public Financing System While McCain Stays True To Pledge. "After deciding to opt out of the public finance system, the Democratic nominee is now spending a significant amount of campaign time raising money from wealthy donors in virtually every major city where he stops. Republican rival John McCain has stayed with public financing, freeing him from some fundraising burdens." (John McCormick, "Fundraising Occupies Many Obama Campaign Stops," Chicago Tribune, 9/21/08)

Obama Roundly Criticized For Abandoning Public Finance Pledge And Destroying The Modern Campaign Finance System:

The Associated Press' Jim Kuhnhenn: Obama "Destined The Current System Of Public Financing To The Trash Heap." "When the Democratic presidential candidate reneged on his pledge to take public financing for the general election, campaign watchdog groups and newspaper editorialists pounced. They all hoped he would help salvage a broken campaign finance system. Instead, he created a whole new one, and he destined the current system of public financing to the trash heap." (Jim Kuhnhenn, "Analysis: Obama Money Dooms Current Public Finance," The Associated Press, 10/19/08)

USA Today: "Obama has pretty much managed to kill off public financing of presidential campaigns. Despite promises to the contrary during the primaries, the Democrat is the first presidential nominee to spurn public financing for the general-election campaign." (Editorial, "Obama Puts Pragmatism Over Principle," USA Today, 10/17/08)

The New York Times: Obama Decision Puts "Public Funding On The Ropes." "The excitement underpinning Senator Barack Obama's campaign rests considerably on his evocative vows to depart from self-interested politics. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama has come up short of that standard with his decision to reject public spending limitations and opt instead for unlimited private financing in the general election." (Editorial, "Public Funding On The Ropes," The New York Times, 6/20/08)

The Washington Post: "Pardon the sarcasm. But given Mr. Obama's earlier pledge to 'aggressively pursue' an agreement with the Republican nominee to accept public financing, his effort to cloak his broken promise in the smug mantle of selfless dedication to the public good is a little hard to take." (Editorial, "The Politics Of Spare Change," The Washington Post, 6/20/08)

The Wall Street Journal: "Is this the tone of the new postpartisan Obama era? One may wonder. The fact remains that the decision is a large and telling Obama flip-flop." (Editorial, "A Reformer's Progress," The Wall Street Journal, 6/20/08)

Obama Has Raised Well Over $600 Million During The 2008 Cycle:

"Obama's Monthly Figure Pushed His Total Fundraising To $605 Million. No Presidential Candidate Has Ever Run Such An Expensive Campaign." (Jim Kuhnhenn, "Obama Raises Stunning $150 Million In September," The Associated Press, 10/19/08)

Recent Reports By Newsweek, The New York Times, And The Washington Post Uncovered Suspicious Obama Small Donors:

Newsweek Reported A Mr. Good Will Has Given $11,000 And A Mr. Doodad Pro Has Given $17,130 To The Obama Campaign In $10 And $25 Increments. "Consider the cases of Obama donors 'Doodad Pro' of Nunda, N.Y., who gave $17,130, and 'Good Will' of Austin, Texas, who gave more than $11,000--both in excess of the $2,300-per-person federal limit. In two recent letters to the Obama campaign, Federal Election Commission auditors flagged those (and other) donors and informed the campaign that the sums had to be returned. Neither name had ever been publicly reported because both individuals made online donations in $10 and $25 increments." (Michael Isikoff, "Obama's 'Good Will ' Hunting," Newsweek, 10/4/08)

Mr. Good Will Has His Occupation Listed As "Loving" And His Employer Listed As "You." "'Good Will' listed his employer as 'Loving' and his occupation as 'You,' while supplying as his address 1015 Norwood Park Boulevard, which is shared by the Austin nonprofit Goodwill Industries. Suzanha Burmeister, marketing director for Goodwill, said the group had 'no clue' who the donor was." (Michael Isikoff, "Obama's 'Good Will' Hunting," Newsweek, 10/4/08)

Mr. Doodad Pro Has No Occupation Or Employer Listed And His Address Is Shared By A Liquor Store. "'Doodad Pro' listed no occupation or employer; the contributor's listed address is shared by Lloyd and Lynn's Liquor Store in Nunda. 'I have never heard of such an individual,' says Diane Beardsley, who works at the store and is the mother of one of the owners. 'Nobody at this store has that much money to contribute.' (She added that a Doodad's Boutique, located next door, had closed a year ago, before the donations were made.)" (Michael Isikoff, "Obama's 'Good Will' Hunting," Newsweek, 10/4/08)

In A Similar Case Earlier This Year The Obama Campaign Had Refunded $33,000 To Two Palestinian Brothers. "(In a similar case earlier this year, the campaign returned $33,000 to two Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip who had bought T shirts in bulk from the campaign's online store. They had listed their address as 'Ga.,' which the campaign took to mean Georgia rather than Gaza.)" (Michael Isikoff, "Obama's 'Good Will' Hunting," Newsweek, 10/4/08)

"An Analysis Of Campaign Finance Records By The New York Times This Week Found Nearly 3,000 Donations To Mr. Obama, The Democratic Nominee, From More Than A Dozen People With Apparently Fictitious Donor Information." (Michael Luo and Griff Palmer, "Fictitious Donors Found In Obama Finance Records," The New York Times, 10/9/08)

"Last December, Someone Using The Name 'Test Person,' From 'Some Place, UT,' Made A Series Of Contributions, The Largest Being $764, To Senator Barack Obama's Presidential Campaign Totaling $2,410.07." (Michael Luo and Griff Palmer, "Fictitious Donors Found In Obama Finance Records," The New York Times, 10/9/08)

Obama Received $445 From A "Jockim Alberton" Employed By "Fdsa Fdsa" Living On A Street Which Did Not Exist. "Someone identifying himself as 'Jockim Alberton,' from 1581 Leroy Avenue in Wilmington, Del., began giving to Mr. Obama last November, contributing $10 and $25 at a time for a total of $445 through the end of February. The only problem? There is no Leroy Avenue in Wilmington. And Jockim Alberton, who listed his employer and occupation as 'Fdsa Fdsa,' does not show up in a se arch of public records." (Michael Luo and Griff Palmer, "Fictitious Donors Found In Obama Finance Records," The New York Times, 10/9/08)

The Washington Post's Matthew Mosk Says Suspicious Obama Donors Are "Are Not Hard To Come By." "The number of fake names attached to Sen. Barack Obama's campaign contributions continues to inch up as news outlets and political researchers page through thousands of pages of donor listings. Turns out, they're not that hard to come by." (Matthew Mosk, "Questions About Online Controls Follow News Of Fake Obama Donors," The Washington Post's "The Trail" Blog, voices.washingtonpost.com, 10/10/08)

"New Discoveries From A Cursory Review Of The Listings Include Edrty Eddty, Who Donated $250 In July 2008 ... Eddty Listed His, Or Perhaps Her, Employer As 'Poiuyttrrewe / Qwertyuio' -- The Letters, More Or Less In Order, Found On The Top Line Of Standard Computer Keyboards." (Matthew Mosk, "Questions About Online Controls Follow News Of Fake Obama Donors," The Washington Post's "The Trail" Blog, voices.washingtonpost.com, 10/10/08)

"[E]s Esh, Who Gave $325 In July. Esh Hailed From This Unusual Address: 'Fhdfhdfh, Erial, NJ 08081.'" (Matthew Mosk, "Questions About Online Controls Follow News Of Fake Obama Donors," The Washington Post's "The Trail" Blog, voices.washingtonpost.com, 10/10/08)

An Analysis Conducted By The Associated Press Indicates Obama Could Have Raised As Much As $3.3. Million In Foreign Contributions:

"Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama Has Raised About $3.3 Million From Contributors Who Did Not List A Home State Or Who Designated Their State With An Abbreviation That Did Not Match One Of The 50 States Or U.S. Territories, According To Records Provided By The Federal Election Commission." ("Obama Money From Abroad Could Total $3.3 Million," The Associated Press, 10/7/08)

"The $3.3 Million Total Does Not Include Donors Who Have Given Less Than $200 And Whose Contributions Do Not Have To Be Itemized. Some Of That Money Could Also Have Come From Overseas." ("Obama Money From Abroad Could Total $3.3 Million," The Associated Press, 10/7/08)

Obama "Appears To Be Selectively Complying With Campaign Finance Laws" As The Names Of His Small Donors Are Not Disclosed:

The Hill's Tom Fitton: "The Obama Campaign Appears To Be Selectively Complying With Campaign Finance Laws." "The Obama campaign has failed to release the names of donors responsible for approximately half of his campaign's $426.9 million: those who have contributed less than $200. In addition, press reports allege Barack Obama's presidential campaign has accepted illegal online campaign contributions from this category of donors, which include funds allegedly donated by foreign nationals. The Obama campaign appears to be selectively complying with campaign finance laws. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) should immediately investigate allegations of foreign campaign contributions made to the Obama campaign possibly corrupting this presidential election." (Tom Fitton, "Who Are Obama's Donors?" The Hill's "Congress" Blog, blog.thehill.com, 10/14/08)

Reports Uncovered Recent Examples Of Credit Card Fraud:

"At Least Four Credit Card Holders In Missouri Have Recently Opened Their Statements And Found Unauthorized Transactions, Which Charged $2,300 To The Presidential Campaign Of Sen. Barack Obama." (Alex Fees, "Couple Finds Unauthorized Charge On Credit Card From Obama Campaign," KSDK-St. Louis, www.ksdk.com, 10/18/08)

"It Happened To Tom Brown And His Wife A Couple Weeks Ago. They Became Aware Of It After Discover Sent Them An E-Mail About An Unusually Large Purchase. 'My Wife Said, 'Oh My God!' Right Away, She Called Discover To Cancel The Card,' Brown Said. 'I Talked To Discover About It, And They Said It Looks Like It Was Keyed In From Chicago.' Specifically, The E-Mail Indicated The Charge Came From Obama For America Chicago Illinois." (Alex Fees, "Couple Finds Unauthorized Charge On Credit Card From Obama Campaign," KSDK-St. Louis, www.ksdk.com, 10/18/08 )

It Has Been Reported Consistently That At Least 90% Of Obama's Contributions Come From Small Donors:

About 90 Percent Of Obama's Donors Have Contributed Less Than $200. "In political circles, the generally accepted definition of a 'small donor' is someone who contributes less than $200. Through February, about 90 percent of Obama's donors fit that description, according to information from his campaign and the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. If March continued that trend, Obama has more than 1.1 million small donors." (James A. Barnes, "Online Fundraising Revolution," The National Journal, 4/19/08)

Obama Said That 90% Of His Donations Were From Small Donors. "During a Feb. 26 debate in Cleveland, for example, Obama said that 'we have now raised 90 percent of our donations from small donors, $25, $50.' His campaign's own data from January 2007 through January 2008 show that 36 percent of donated funds were from small donors. Obama probably meant that 90 percent of the individuals who contributed were small donors, but the number of donors has not been verified." (Jay Mandle, "The Small-Donor Fallacy," The Washington Post, 6/20/08)

94% Of Obama's Donations Have Come From Donors Who Have Contributed $200 Or Less. "One thing that is clear is that Obama's vast base of small donors - 1.7 million was the last public count - carries big clout. To date, Obama has reported raising $338 million for his campaign from individuals and 94% of his donations have come in amounts of $200 or less." (Politico Website, www.politico.com, Accessed 10/4/08)

Obama's Receives 93% Of His Funding From Small Donors. "Until now. Barack Obama is the first major presidential candidate since Teapot Dome to refuse to take money from Big Oil or lobbyists, with 93 percent of his funding coming from small donors giving $200 or less. Every other leading candidate (even Al Gore) took their cash and saw the world through the bottom of an oil-barrel. Not him." (Johann Hari, "A Crisis That Could Make The US Election A Cleaner Contest," The Independent [UK], 9/19/08)

6 Comments

I'm proud as a former member of the republican party (changed party affiliation this year to a member of the Democratic party) to go on record to say that I have given Obama's campaign various contributions this year, which in aggregate, total the maximum amount permitted by law. General Powell was right on point for addressing why moderate republicans have and are leaving the party.

Obama has made many promises he's gone back on and he'll break many more, get use to it. A good way to tell if Obama is telling a fib...his lips are moving. Obama tells his audience what he thinks they want to hear, he likes the applause, he thrives on it. The man is going to be President of the United States, he will not have an audience cheering him on all day and he's going to have a lot to live up to. His first order of business will be to fire Patrick Fitzgerald (another promise he made) because if he dosn't he will be indicted along with all of his Chicago Combine. His second order of business will be to pardon his friend Tony Rezko.

Steve S. McCain was nominated to please people like you. Thank you for confirming that people like you are backstabbing fools. Good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

I am proud, as a lifelong Democrat, to have broken with the party that betrayed me. I cast my early vote for John McCain. Thank Lynn, as usual, for publishing the truth that the mainstream media continues to ignore. Obama has never been what he says he is. As for "hope," well, I was never hopeless and didn't need to be sold a piece of candy from a Chicago politician. If I want more hope, I go to church. This year, I found political leadership in an unlikely place ... voting Republican for the first time in over 30 years. Anything can happen!

Why is Obama given a pass for his broken pledge to accept public financing? If he is breaking pledges and promises before the election, why should anyone be surprised if he does so after the election?

Steve S, poster #1 - NOT a seminar poster. After reading his insight, uh, um, er, eh, um, eh... yeah, me too. I, uh, er, um, ah... am also a former member of the, uh, Rebuplican Party.

But it was Steve's post that finally convinced me! Team Obama! Rah!

That and the whole "wealth distribution" thing. I don't make $250K/year, but when I do, I want to fulfill my patriotic duty and give the equivalent of an additional 118% of my earned income to those who don't get to pay taxes! And before anyone reminds me that 39-33 = 3, do the actual math on the earnings. If my family or business has a combined earning of $250,000, under the current tax plan, at 33%, my federal tax bill will be $82,500. Given the same scenario, but at a 39% tax rate, my federal tax bill will be $97,500. That's $15,000 more (or one part-time employee.) Now, if you divide $97,500 by $82,500, that equals 118.18%- way more than the 103% that Obama quotes - and look! I'm even being honest with the placement of my decimal points! It's simple math. And that doesn't include any of the other taxes I would be required to pay as an employer.

But, Hey! Let's say I'm getting pretty good at what I do! What if I earn $500,000 as a small business owner? Say I own a restaurant, not a plumbing company. Then what? Well, my federal taxes go from $165,000 to $195,000 per year. That's an additional $30K/year - one full-time apprentice-type sous chef. OK, I'm now at $500,000 less $195,000 in federal taxes = $305,000/year. Let's say I'm open 6 days/week. Before my state and local taxes, I'm at $915.92/day. From that, I have to cover the rent/mortgage, utilites, my vendors, my one employee's wage, their Social Security & disability taxes, plus any other assessments my local government takes. Assuming that I can write off 25% of those costs (a VERY generous assumption), I'm left with nothing, unless I HAPPEN to be an owner who can 1)cook; 2)clear dishes; 3)clean dishes; 4)seat incoming parties; 5)maintain legal accounting, thereby surviving an audit; 6)bartend and make small talk, guaranteeing regulars; and 7)survive!

Now, back to the original scenario, where I'm making $250K, if I could afford to keep that Sous Chef, I wouldn't have to kill myself to pay the feds and could manage to serve a great meal and a competitive price. And survive.

That's Capitalism. That's America.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 20, 2008 1:31 PM.

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