April 25th, 2008
07:45 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama campaign seeks investigation of unofficial Web sites

The Obama campaign has asked for an investigation into two unofficial Web sites.

The Obama campaign has asked for an investigation into two unofficial Web sites.

Lawyers for the Barack Obama campaign have asked the Justice Department to investigate two unofficial web sites that, until late this week, invited people to "Donate to Barack Obama for President 2008."

The Web sites - named donateooobama.org and donatetobarackobama.com - were operated by a group calling itself "Concerned Citizens for Obama." The first was advertised as a sponsored link on Google searches for "Barack Obama," appearing alongside Obama's official campaign web site.

As of Friday afternoon, the sites displayed nothing but a 'for sale' notice. But screengrabs taken by CNN earlier this week show what appears to be an official Obama campaign logo, a photo of the candidate, and an invitation to donate up to $2300 - the maximum contribution allowed by a single donor to a political committee during a primary campaign.

In a letter dated April 24, Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer wrote to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation.

"These activities ... appear clearly intended to deceive supporters of Barack Obama into believing they are contributing funds to our Committee," Bauer wrote.

The letter, addressed to the Chief of the Public Integrity section and provided to CNN by the Obama campaign, asks the Department of Justice to "initiate an immediate investigation of Concerned Citizens and the operation of these web sites."

The sites are registered to Lou Kheriaty, a resident of Bellingham, Washington.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Mr. Kheriaty described himself as an Internet developer and Obama supporter. Mr. Kheriaty said he didn't believe the web sites were misleading, pointing to a banner that informed readers they were donating to “Concerned Citizens for Obama.”

There is no record of the group being registered with the Federal Election Commission.

FEC records show Kheriaty donated to George W. Bush in 2004. A search of domain records shows he also owns a number of URLs, including donatetogiuliani.com and donatetothompson.com, as well as anti-Hillary Clinton domain names including hillaryrevealed.net.

After a brief conversation with CNN Wednesday, repeated attempts to contact Mr. Kheriaty have gone unanswered.

Kenneth Gross, an elections lawyer, said the site donatetoobama.org is "engaging in highly regulated activity with a number of landmines depending on how he's spending the money." He added: "It creates confusion at the very least."

- CNN Internet Reporter Abbi Tatton

Related Video: Abbi Tatton takes a look at the questionable Obama websites

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Julie MN

    I hope they investigate all of obamas internet money. Funny how obama just keeps raking in millions. must be from all the new college kids.

    April 25, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. JMT

    Grif – You can tell by the way Obama speaks to, speaks about and looks at Michelle and his two beautiful daughters and know that your comment has no merit. Now, let's talk about Bill and Hillary and respect for women...."I did not have sex with that woman....." I believe Hillary called all Bill's women trailer park trash.

    April 25, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  3. Clinton Spin


    You had me laughing. What is Grif talking about. He must be one of the highschool grads voting for Hilary.

    April 25, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  4. Greg

    Was Bill disrespectful when he ran? (he was younger than Obama)
    How about JFK?

    April 25, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. Jed in Texas

    Check Clintons pockets.

    April 25, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  6. Sick of Her from Texas

    So that's how Hillary got the $10 million.

    April 25, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. Terrence W from NC

    So he donated to Bush, huh? Maybe he's taking the money collected and supporting another candidate with it. (if a thief could be that giving)

    Hope he gets sued/busted/something... he should not get away with that. This election is too important.

    April 25, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. NotThisTimeinNY

    Only a fool would contribute to the Clintons - it's only a matter of days now ...

    April 25, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  9. Jim from Indiana

    Julie MN,
    Nope, I'm a retiree and I'm donating both money and time to Obama. I know lots of older folks who are working for Obama.

    April 25, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  10. Nunya

    He clearly is a scam artist and should be locked away and fed nothing but moldy bread and water for the next 60 years, with no access to electronics of any kind.

    Maybe if he's lucky he'll start having the same hallucinations that Grif is...

    April 25, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  11. Bob

    Hillary's henchmen have sunk to new lows (if that is possible)! They have posted false Obama web sites to siphon off Obama donations and make doners nervous about sending money! If Hillary ever were to be President,she would be the American version of Vladimir Putin. Spending all of her time trying to cling to power.

    April 25, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. Pamela (Oceanside, Ca)

    Everyone is trying to jump on to Obamas wagon.. go figure. I hope they catch who ever is behind those sites.

    April 25, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  13. Chuck OConnor

    I am not sure about the answer to this question but after watching "The Situation Room" today I am convinced that Jack Cafferty is to Barrack Obama what Bill OReilly has been to George Bush the last 8 years. His bias is so obvious it is nauseating. I count on CNN for unbiased reporting and Jack aint it !! Is he "trying out" to be Barrack's press secretary?

    April 25, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  14. Adara

    Stop blaming the Clintons, everyone! I agree that they are liars and will do anything to get back into the white house, but they can't be blamed for every individual that decides to commit fraud. Scams like this have been around throughout the ages. Even after 9/11 people were posing as representatives of fake charities as a way to trick people into giving them money. Let's stick to blaming the Clintons for their own lies. That list is a mile long as it is.

    April 25, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  15. Chuck OConnor

    Jack Cafferty did it!!

    April 25, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  16. Sesay, former Clinton backer

    Lynn D, that is just absurd. Why not you ask McBush and McClinton to return all the money given to them by lobbyists.

    April 25, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. PHH

    There are unscrupulous people everywhere.
    "Let the buyer beware" is an old phrase worth remembering.
    What I want to know is why no one is following the Paul vs. Clinton fraud case in Los Angeles?
    Talk about being aware...........

    April 25, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  18. jim in pennsylvania

    so thats where hilary the liar got her eight millon in the last to days/
    the woman is a artist in embezzlement.....
    just check out the paul vs hilary trial coming up in a few days
    she embezzled this man out of over one hundred and three thousand dollars............ her campaign owes 16 million to vendors. and they want paid you guys notice she dont have all the sound effects anymore in her stumps.... they the event staff want there money up front and wont take a check or credit card from her .........
    but hey she knows how to fix the economy ..............................

    April 25, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  19. Sean

    Lynn D: And many people believe they were abducted by aliens! Just because you believe something doesn't make it true!

    April 25, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  20. Marcopolo, Florida

    If this election was in Iraq or in a Third world country, Billarry would kill Sen. Obama for the nomination. The commission Justice of the Election should open an investigation on Sen. Clinton for criminal act, stealing money online. Shame on you Hillary!
    This is not United Kingdom, it is the United States of America.

    April 25, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  21. Sophia

    That is a shame that people will go to any lengths to scam others.
    How unfortunate what is becoming of humanity.
    Remember we are all Americans. White, Black, Hispanics, Asians etc. Bottomline is ... we are all Americans.
    How quickly we forget

    April 25, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  22. jim in pennsylvania

    hilary clinton is behind this - she will do or say anything to win..
    i hope this gets out.. but then again the liar hilary is good at supressing evidence...
    but she is a master at tearing people down....bill and hil need to check into a rest home and take jim carville with them to be pottie boy.

    April 25, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  23. Sean

    Julie MN: What if it is from college kids? Is that such a bad thing? I personally am 32 years old, white, business owner, and I will continue donating to his campaign. It's the first time in my life I've actually been interested in politics. It is not a young thing. It is seeing that for the first time, we can make a difference.

    April 25, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  24. Jean

    That's a way to raise 10million in 24 hhours.
    Strange huh??

    April 25, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  25. JLPR

    Sick of Her from Texas April 25th, 2008 7:00 pm ET

    So that's how Hillary got the $10 million.

    wow thats so immature

    April 25, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
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