Tags: heritage | audit | obama

Heritage Foundation: Audit Obama Campaign

Tuesday, 04 Nov 2008 01:26 PM

By Dave Eberhart

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The Washington-based Heritage Foundation is demanding that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) audits the Obama campaign.

“If Americans are ever to trust the electoral process again, a full investigation and audit of Obama and ACORN are an absolute necessity,” the foundation declared in an essay issued today.

The prestigious foundation noted with concern that there is an opening for the Obama camp to skate through unscathed, without a review of the sources and handling of the tens-of-millions of dollars that have gushed into the Obama war chest.

As soon as Obama broke his pledge to John McCain and opted out of public financing, he ostensibly opened up his books and records to a detailed federal audit. However, at least four of the six FEC commissioners must vote first to pursue an investigation “for cause.”

“No doubt there is great ‘cause’ to be concerned about Obama’s fundraising effort,” concluded the essay’s authors.

By way of showing the bold red flags the Obama campaign has run up, the foundation recalled a test by the independent National Journal to determine the veracity of allegations that the Democrat’s online fundraising system literally was designed to facilitate fraud.

The essay recounts how journalist Neil Munro bought two prepaid American Express gift cards worth $25 each to donate to the Obama and McCain campaigns online.

Munro bought the cards with cash and then accessed the campaigns’ Web sites from a public library in Fairfax, Va.

The Obama campaign’s site accepted the $25 donation, but the McCain campaign’s site rejected it.

When the National Journal contacted the McCain campaign, a representative explained that its system rejected the donation because American Express could not verify that the donor lived at the address given with the online contribution.

In turn, the Obama campaign replied by e-mail: “Name-matching is not a standard check conducted or made available in the credit card processing industry. We believe Visa and MasterCard do not even have the ability to do this.”

But the Heritage Foundation alleges that the Obama camp’s explanation has a big hole.

Juan Proano, whose technology firm handled online contributions for John Edwards’ presidential primary campaign, told The Washington Post that it is a ready option to require donors’ names and addresses to match those on their credit-card accounts.

Well, the McCain camp figured this out easily enough.

The National Journal also asked Obama officials to explain why the campaign failed to identify hundreds of thousands of low-dollar donors.

The Obama campaign responded that it “would be a pretty hard thing for us to be able to process.”

Again, a fabrication, according to the National Journal, which quickly discovered that there is off-the-shelf, well-known and inexpensive technology that allows Republican and Democratic campaigns alike to sort and identify millions of donors and to highlight or exclude overseas contributors.

“The technology is offered by companies that complete credit card transactions, by banks that provide credit cards to customers, by telecommunications companies that maintain digital networks, and by a variety of smaller firms that track Internet activity,” is the ready conclusion.

The essayists explained how a five-minute phone call to Bank of America’s merchant-services department showed how a campaign could sort transactions to identify any credit cards that were used to make small donations under fake names and fake addresses.

“The campaign could have easily downloaded transaction data from the bank’s Web site and transferred the file into a database, such as Excel,” explained a Bank of America employee.

“Instead of making a 5-minute phone call to protect the integrity of U.S. elections, the Obama campaign did nothing. This is exactly the same approach the campaign has taken toward ACORN’s massive and well-established voter registration fraud campaign,” concluded the essayists.

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