McCain Aide: Obama Should Reveal Donors

Wednesday, 22 Oct 2008 04:00 PM

By Kenneth R. Timmerman

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Barack Obama has raised more than $600 million for his campaign — a record number — but the most stunning fact is that more than half the donors gave less than $200, and their names and addresses have not been disclosed.

Though not required by law to release such names, the McCain campaign and Republican National Committee are angry about the suspicious donation activity of so many small donors they are demanding Obama release the names of his donor file.

Earlier this week McCain-Palin campaign manager, Rick Davis, blasted the Obama campaign for failing to disclose the origin of his campaign warchest, and told reporters that the Republican National committee was now joining McCain in making all its donors available through a searchable online database, www.RNCDonors.com

The $150 million Obama had raised in September was “an extraordinary amount of money,” he told reporters on Monday. If nothing else, and regardless of who wins the election, Obama “will go down as the greatest fundraiser in American political history.”

Davis blasted Obama for having broken his promise during the primary season to accept public campaign funding — which comes with strict spending limits.

Obama made “repeated pledges” to sit down with his Republican opponent even before McCain had emerged as the winner of the GOP primaries. Once McCain emerged as the winner, Obama said he’d call John McCain. “He never made that call,” and then went on to reject public financing and spending limits, Davis said.

Citing news reports that donors from Gaza had purchased $33,000 worth of T-shirts from the Obama online story, Davis said the law requires that all purchases from a campaign store be counted against a donor’s $2,300 limit per election, as the McCain campaign had done. “Clearly, there’s no such limitation in the Obama campaign,” he said.

“A little bit of sunshine, a little bit of transparency, would go a long way,” he added.

Using a loophole in the federal election laws, Obama has refused to make public the name of donors who have given less than $200. “There is literally $300 million in secret donations,” Davis said.

“I have no doubt that the vast majority are perfectly legitimate, but they are being kept secret by the Obama campaign,” Davis said.

The Republican National Committee put up a new Web site on Tuesday where Internet users can search its donor database, even for small donors. Davis said the Obama camp had shown “a pattern of non-disclosure, and nonresponsiveness,” when faced with questions on ACORN, Bill Ayers, and other subjects they would rather avoid.

He called on reporters to do their job over the next two weeks, to ensure a full vetting of both tickets and of the interest groups trying to influence the outcome, to ensure a “legitimate election” on Nov. 4.

“We’ve seen what happens when people question the outcome of elections based on information they didn’t have prior to Election Day. We should not have that happen in this election,” he said.

The real concern with Obama’s unknown campaign donors are lingering suspicions that some of the money may be coming from overseas donors.

“I just hope we know that every one of those donations came from a legitimate, U.S.-based source who has every right to participate in this election,” Davis said. “I’ve never been involved in a campaign since 1980 where you didn’t know where your money is coming from. I think it’s a minimum requirement in this game.”

Earlier this week, a Newsmax analysis, "Obama’s Secret Campaign Cash: Has $63 Million Flowed From Foreign Sources?" turned up more than 60,000 contributions in unrounded amounts, which fundraising experts said appeared to be foreign currency transactions. The Obama campaign said they could have been made by people buying merchandise from the Obama online store.

The campaign declined to provide any accounting of the proceeds from the online store, while our analysis determined that the individuals who made these contributions gave anywhere from $13 million to $63 million to the Obama campaign.

No vendor is identified in the Obama campaign’s finance reports as a supplier to the online store. Asked by Newsmax to identify who was providing the T-shirts and other merchandise, spokesman Ben LaBolt named Tiger Eye Design.

While the Obama campaign paid just over $8.3 million to a vendor identified as Tiger Eye Promotions LLC, of Greenville, Ohio, the overwhelming majority of these payments were listed as “Print Advertising.” Less than half a million dollars was identified as “promotional materials,” the only possible category that could have included online store supplies.

Four other companies also provided unidentified “promotional materials,” for which the campaign paid a total of $152,184.20, FEC records show.

Another possible source for the unrounded contributions were special “money-bombs” organized by a grass-roots donor, says Zach Hensel, an Obama supporter from Baltimore, Md.

“There's a history going back earlier in the year of tacking $0.01 onto donations to Obama. There was a concerted effort to make a "money bomb" of $5.01 donations on Abe Lincoln's birthday, for example [the penny making a huge difference when aggregated],” he told Newsmax.

Hensel is correct — up to a point. A Newsmax analysis of the Obama itemized donor base shows 383 contributions of $5.01 on Feb. 12, 2008, Lincoln’s birthday. The total amount they raised was $1,918.83.

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