Sunday, July 18, 2010

Biden Fined For Campaign Violations--Should Obama Be Next?

Apparently things like this still matter--even 2 years later:
The Federal Election Commission has penalized Vice President Joe Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign $219,000 for accepting over-the-limit contributions and a discounted flight on a jet owned by a New York hedge fund. His campaign was also charged with sloppy record keeping.
Sloppy record keeping? Hey, that rings a bell:
Donor Patrol: Obama’s Online Site Accepts More Fakes

Erika Franzi, a 36-year-old mother of four, had been following recent news reports examining how people using obviously fake names had made thousands of dollars in contributions to Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign without being detected.

So this afternoon, sitting in her family room at her home in Weaverville, N.C., while her two-year-old was watching “Sesame Street,” Ms. Franzi got on her laptop to conduct an experiment. She used her debit card to make a $15 donation to Mr. Obama’s campaign.

Ms. Franzi, who described herself as conservative and preferring Senator John McCain over Mr. Obama, used the name “Della Ware” and entered an address of 12345 No Way in Far Far Away, DE 78954. Under employer, she listed: Americans Against Obama; for occupation, she typed in: Founder.

To her surprise, she said, her contribution went through in “fewer than three seconds.” Then, in order to be fair, she repeated the experiment on Mr. McCain’s Web site, entering the exact same information. Three times, she said, she received the message: “We have found errors in the information that you submitted. Please review the information below and try again.”

Ms. Franzi’s experiment would not necessarily be notable, except it appears that many others are doing the same thing
Obama's own sloppy record keeping during his campaign went beyond goofy names:
On the grubby little racket of his online credit card fraud, Senator Obama merely has to run out the clock now. If it's not exposed before Tuesday, no one is going to have any appetite for investigating it once he's won. So he must be relieved that this off-message headline - "Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations" - only gets as far as Page 2 of The Washington Post. (There is an element of art to these calculations: The Obamatron editors in the media want to be able to cover themselves by saying they raised the story, but the trick is to do so at a time and place that prevents it going anywhere before November 4th.) The reporter, Matthew Mosk, filed a bland and perfunctory on the subject a couple of days ago, but he seems belatedly to have woken up and got some of the key points:
Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor's identity, campaign officials confirmed.
"Largely" untraceable? "Potentially" be used? No, they have been used to evade limits.But not a bad start. Here's a glimpse of the scale of the operation:
The Obama campaign has shattered presidential fundraising records, in part by capitalizing on the ease of online giving. Of the $150 million the senator from Illinois raised in September, nearly $100 million came in over the Internet.
So two-thirds of Obama's record haul derives from a website that intentionally disabled all the default security checks that prevent basic fraud like fake addresses and no-name matches.
But if you think that news of Biden's violation has made Obama nervous, think again. At the very end of the article about Biden, we learn:
Obama’s presidential campaign, which raised a record-shattering $750 million, is unlikely to be subject to such an audit because it did not participate in the public financing program, which automatically triggers an audit.
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