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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)-

from http://www.examiner.com/article/obama-foreign-donor-scandal-grows

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-

from http://washingtonexaminer.com/report-obama.com-solicits-foreign-contributions-for-prez/article/2510096

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.

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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.

From- http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/bundlers.php

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.”

Download the full report for yourself or read the telling excerpt below:

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.

112

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

the campaign.

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.

113

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

reading of

2USC-441-E; Subp-A.

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-

romney-or-obama/.

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

there.

113

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”

(emphasis added).

114 FEC Advisory Opinion 2011-13.

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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.

116

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.

118 http://blog.sina.com.cn/youyuanbujingmeng

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87.8% of the traffic flowing to the site comes from China while only 4.5% is from the United

States.

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.

120

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

119 http://www.markosweb.com/www/sina.com/

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/

163.com; http://zh-tw.facebook.com/barackobama/posts/204381686306063?comment_id=1374238&offset=0&total_comments=4792;

http://home.ngocn.net/wap/space.php?m_sid=5674ab592318ecd6dffa1b5fde1dbc30&uid=2931&do=blog&id=19942; http://zhhk.

facebook.com/SteveWestly/posts/303944846297428?comment_id=4206428&offset=0&total_comments=1;

http://tuzipei.blog.163.com/blog/static/139303005201132952320913/; http://www.tianya.cn/publicforum/content/stocks/1/540030.shtml

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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.

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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.

122

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.”

123

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.

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years.

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.

125

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.”

126

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.