While Obama insists that tracking and disclosing his donor database is too difficult, the respected National Journal demonstrates that this simply isn’t the case in a new article entitled, Common Web Tools Make Tracking Donors Doable.
According to Bank of America, one of the two banks processing Obama’s online donations:
A five-minute phone call to Bank of America’s merchant-services department showed how a campaign could sort transactions to identify the credit cards used in donations.
The campaign could download transaction data from the bank’s Web site and transfer the file into a database, such as Excel, said the Bank of America employee. “Then highlight all your transactions and click your sort button,” the employee said.
The implication is that the Obama campaign could use this reporting to discover those multiple donations conducted by individuals faking names and addresses.
In addition, it was discovered that the Obama campaign does in fact track the IP addresses of donors:
Software code on Obama’s online donations page indicates that the site recognizes the IP address of everyone who gives money. It can be viewed by selecting page source from the “view” menu on most Web browsers. The code for donate.barackobama.com includes an “ip_addr” field, which records the visitor’s IP address.
So we now know that the Obama campaign tracks IP addresses. Which, of course, begs the question on how foreign donations are getting through. And since the front-end AVS fraud filters are turned off why wouldn’t the Obama campaign use the IP information it already collects to help prevent inappropriate foreign donations? Isn’t this supposed to be the internet generations’s candidate and campaign?!
What else is behind the curtain of the Obama donation website? Perhaps the good folks at Blue State Digital can shed some light. BSD provides the Obama campaign with its online fundraising tools and apparently offers online fundraising consulting advice to the campaign as well. We’d like to know how Blue State Digital advised the Obama campaign on AVS checks, IP filtering and other fraud prevention methods. Did they recommend AVS fraud be turned off? Did they recommend best practices and the Obama campaign ignored them? Unfortunately, Blue State Digital declined to respond to questions from this blog.