The authors of this blog are concerned internet professionals who have worked in and around e-commerce and internet marketing for over a decade. We’ve taken to writing this blog due to the media’s unwillingness to tackle what is potentially one of the largest cases of fundraising fraud in presidential campaign history. And since this is a topic near and dear to our hearts, we felt like this blog could help shine a bright light on the murky world of Obama’s online campaign fundraising machine.
Recently, it has become abundantly clear that the Obama campaign has deliberately made it easy for motivated Obama supporters to violate campaign finance law. The Obama campaign has for some reason intentionally deactivated basic credit card fraud filters on its website, thereby allowing contributors give donations with fake names and addresses. What this has done is essentially create a loophole for folks to circumvent federal election contribution limits (they can give more than $2,300 and nobody will ever know!). And it creates an added bonus: it is now much easier to give illegal foreign donations as well!
This is not just rumor-mongering. Several citizens have already tested the Obama campaign website by using purposely incorrect names and addresses. And the results are in…the Obama campaign has accepted these donations and the respective credit card accounts were charged. These fraudulent donations were accepted as a direct result of the Obama campaign deliberately turning off the basic fraud checks that are used to verify a credit cardholder’s address. It is almost unheard of for an online merchant to turn off these filters. Afterall, who wants to ship a product to the wrong address? Today, it remains unclear why the Obama camp turned these filters off.
What are the ramifications? Well, the Obama campaign can accept an almost unlimited amount of money from any contributor by allowing them to repeatedly use false names and addresses with the same credit card for any online credit card donations. This can also feasibly allow non-US citizens (who are legally prohibited from donating to any US political campaign) to donate to the Obama campaign by simply making up a United States address. Depressingly, there are few real legal mechanisms to prevent this as the FEC reporting requirements for donations under $200 are minimal and the law hasn’t caught up with regulating these donations online.
To be clear, there is not PROOF that the Obama campaign has received millions of dollars of unethical donations. But the Obama campaign’s complete disregard for the spirit of the law and the recent findings of donor fraud sure don’t look good.
Given the lazy and confusing reporting the mainstream press has so far offered the public, we feel a compelling need to stay on top of this issue until it is proven that the Obama campaign did not -and is not- systematically accepting fraudulent donations.
There’s a simple way for the Obama campaign to clear this matter up. All Obama has to do is simply release his campaign’s donor records (as have the McCain and Clinton campaigns). If he has nothing to hide, Obama should welcome the request. Obama talks about how we need more transparency in government, so let’s see him walk the talk.