Obama Foreign Donor Scandal- Paul Collier
An emerging scandal is being reported in the blogosphere of Barack Obama accepting Foreign Donor Dollars in the wake of his record-shattering September fundraising month where he raised $181 million. One such suspicion of wrong-doing on the part of the President comes from this fact, the difference between how the Obama campaign and the Romney campaign accept credit card dollars. Obama Foreign Donors could potentially give to the campaign undetected if they are not prompted to enter the security code from their credit card (which they are not required to do on the Obama Campaign site)-
Wrongdoing points to President Barack Obama and congressional figures in that the investigation has revealed thousands of situations involving credit card solicitations and donations from “unsecure” accounts, many of which are from overseas. The allegations of wrongdoing involve the fact that these donations may be in violation of federal election laws – a serious offense.
The current scandal coincides with the Obama campaign boasting a record-breaking month of fundraising to the tune of $181 million. As far back as April of this year, it was reported that persons could make an online donation to Obama without the three-digit security code on the back of one’s credit card while any transaction made to Mitt Romney without the code was rejected. This severe irregularity may have been the obvious “heads-up” for the investigation to continue to where it is at this time.
The primary source of this article is the Washington Examiner.
Another telling sign that the Obama campaign may be engaging in accepting, and even soliciting Obama Foreign Donors is an analysis of the site that shows most of its traffic comes from foreign countries, and seems built to solicit foreign traffic-
The independently owned website Obama.com, which steers users to the president’s campaign donation website, gets most of its traffic from foreign countries, raising questions about the legality of tens of millions of small dollar donations to the campaign, according to a new report.
The Government Accountability Institute today released details of an eight-month probe into fundraising by the presidential candidates and all House and Senate candidates that also shows that the president’s outreach and fundraising have targeted websites in Chinese, Arabic, Thai, and Korean. Generally, donations from foreign nations are illegal.
Perhaps the most damaging bit of evidence against the Obama campaign is that the website in question is actually owned by a wealthy bundler, an American Citizen, a Chinese-American (if you want to use the hyphens, and it is actually relevent here to do so), now living in….Shang Hi…that’s China to you and me folks.
In an explosive report set to send shockwaves through official Washington, the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) released a 108-page GAI investigation into the threat of foreign and fraudulent Internet campaign donations in U.S. federal elections (visit campaignfundingrisks.com to download the full report).
Breitbart News obtained an advance copy of the bombshell report which reveals that the Obama.com website is not owned by the president’s campaign but rather by Obama bundler Robert Roche, a U.S. citizen living in Shanghai, China. Roche is the chairman of a Chinese infomercial company, Acorn International, with ties to state-controlled banks that allow it to “gain revenue through credit card transactions with Chinese banks.”
The Obama Campaign’s Online Infrastructure
Despite the Obama campaign’s level of technological sophistication, the campaign does
not use the industry standard CVV feature on its donation pages. This creates a security risk that
is compounded by the considerable foreign interest in President Obama’s political history,
personal story, and views.
111 The main campaign website BarackObama.com receives
approximately 43% of its traffic from foreign IP addresses, according to Markosweb.com.
Though Americans living abroad no doubt generate some of this interest, the majority is likely
from foreign nationals. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with the President’s
international attention, his donation pages’ lack of CVV means that this interest creates
significant vulnerabilities for the integrity of the campaign’s donation process. The absence of
these security protocols is incongruous with the acknowledged technological sophistication of
As stated earlier, the Obama campaign relies on an aggressive email presence to solicit
donations from people that the campaign has calculated (using its massive amount of data on
individuals) to be likely donors. However, foreign citizens report that they regularly receive
emails soliciting donations from the campaign, in potential violation of federal campaign law.
The FEC, in an advisory opinion, has stated that there is no proscribed method in soliciting
federal campaign contributions.
114 The advisory opinion appears to conflict with the plain
One-way foreign citizens receive solicitation letters from the Obama campaign is through
my.barackobama.com, the social media platform created in part by Facebook’s Chris Hughes.
The website has no apparent safeguards to protect itself from foreign citizens participating.
According to the Obama campaign, my.barackobama.com currently has produced at least 13.1
111 Bruce Stoke, “Does the World Want Obama?” Pew Research Center, August 27, 2012, http://www.pewglobal.org/2012/08/27/does-worldwant-
112 SmartViper Web Mining Company: SmartViper Website Analytics, Markosweb.com; Because metric sites don’t gather separate traffic
levels for the donate.barackobama.com or contribute.barackobama.com subdomains, it is unclear how many foreign visitors actually wind up
2USC-441-E; Subp-A: “It shall be unlawful for…a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation…from a foreign national”
114 FEC Advisory Opinion 2011-13.
million email addresses for the campaign, each of which receives at least one email a week
soliciting a donation.
115 By looking at a random sample of 65,000 links into
my.barackobama.com, the Government Accountability Institute found that approximately 20%
of the links originated from foreign locations.
The primary purpose of my.barackobama.com is to create a highly personalized vehicle
for individuals to “get involved” and to invite others to do the same. The campaign employs
various techniques to gather email and other data on the friends and associations of
my.barackobama.com’s members to further the campaign’s fundraising efforts.
117 However, at
no point during the subscription process is a visitor asked whether he or she can legally donate to
a U.S. election. Once a visitor signs up, he or she immediately begins receiving solicitations for
donations. In fact, numerous foreign nationals report receiving solicitation letters and thank you
emails from the campaign for their support. Some of these emails have been reposted on blog
sites to encourage friends to click on the donate link or get their names on the email list.
Foreign Nationals and the Obama Campaign
Using a collection of online research tools, the Government Accountability Institute
analyzed a portion of the foreign links that lead to the Obama campaign website,
my.barackobama.com. The Institute found a wide variety of instances in which apparent foreign
nationals either received solicitation emails or posted links to my.barackobama.com. The
following are but a sample.
1. In July and August, a Chinese blogger reposts letters he has received from the Obama
campaign, each of which contains a solicitation for $3 or $5 (note that these smaller
donations don’t require the campaign to keep any record of them).
118 Markosweb states that
115 Blue State Digital, “Work: Obama for America,” http://www.bluestatedigital.com/work/case-studies/barack-obama/.
116 To guard against repeating the same sites in our sample we selected every 10th site in our database to examine more closely.
117 If one goes to the Obama campaign’s main website and asks to join my.barackobama.com, they are simply asked for a name, email, and zip
code/postal code. A user can then send invitations to their friends and associates to visit that user’s own particular donation page.
87.8% of the traffic flowing to the site comes from China while only 4.5% is from the United
119 The website contains hyperlinks that lead to the campaign’s donation page. The
website also contains graphics showing the disparity between Romney’s and the President’s
fundraising and a countdown clock to the date of the election. Other than the campaign
solicitation letters, the website is in Chinese characters.
2. On August 9
th, 2012 the Obama campaign sent a solicitation letter to “Hikemt Hadjy-Zadh,”
an Azerbaijani citizen. His email address is on an Azerbaijani domain and he posts numerous
120 This example is one of many of the instances where Chinese individuals repost campaign solicitation letters on their own websites. For more
examples from mainland China and Hong Kong, please see . http://tuzipei.blog.163.com/blog/static/139303005201132952320913/
solicitation letters he has received from the Obama campaign. Mr. Hadjy-Zadh reposts the
complete letters on a discussion forum, including numerous hyperlinks that go directly to the
campaign’s donation page.
3. A writer in Vietnam writes on a website for the Vietnam Institute for Development Studies (a
government-backed think tank) and posts emails he has received from my.barackobama.com
with more than 24 total links to the campaign’s donate page embedded in the emails. The
website is in the Vietnamese language, hosted on a Vietnamese server, and uses a
Vietnamese domain address.
121 In one instance, a letter from Mitch Stewart, Director of the
Obama campaign’s “Organizing for America,” asks for donations. Ironically, Stewart
laments that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is reportedly taking money from foreign
sources. The reader is then prompted to give his name and email address and thereafter
begins receiving solicitation letters for donations.
121 Vietnam Institute of Development Studies, http://www.vids.org.vn/vn/asp/News_Detail.asp?tabid=1&mid=831&ID=1172.
4. A Dutch blogger writing in Dutch on a Dutch website reprints an email from March 22, 2010
in which President Obama thanks his supporters for their help. “You’re welcome, Mr.
President,” he writes back.
5. The Dutch blog “His Dirk” received a donation request from the campaign. Aware of the
U.S. law, the blogger decided not to contribute. The blogger observed, “I imagine many non-
Americans have money transferred to the Obama campaign. It’s just too easy.”
6. A member of the Italian Radical Socialist movement and an administrator of their website
reposts solicitations from the Obama campaign which he reports receiving regularly for three
122 “You’re welcome Mister President,” http://www.fritshuis.nl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=167 %3Ayoure-welcomemister-
president&catid=1 %3Aalgemeen&Itemid=1; please see screenshot 3 in Appendix D.
123 Dirk Zijn, “Response to Your Message to Senator Obama,”
DirkZijn Blog, December 3, 2007, http://www.dirkzijn.nl/tag/donation/; please
see screenshot 4 in Appendix D.
124 “And because we are three years in his mailing list…But frankly after 3 years his
letters excite me much less…”
7. A Japanese blogger named Isogaya posts a link to the Obama campaign’s donation page.
When posting the link, Isogaya notes that an option in giving would be to give a gift card.
8. A Norwegian blogger posts a solicitation from the Obama campaign, including the link to the
donate page. When another blogger opines that non-U.S. citizens cannot contribute because
of American law, the blogger responds in Norwegian,“I have in practice given money to
Obama, I had done it.”
9. A blogger in Egypt who serves on the board of the Union of Arab Bloggers posts the
solicitation letters he reports to regularly receive from the Obama campaign.
127 “We as Arabs
and Muslims” support the “Democratic party, compared to the Republican Party,” but notes
his objection to the President’s stand on gay marriage.