April 25th, 2008
07:45 PM ET
6 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.


WASHINGTON (CNN) –
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. Ric

    Racism is 92% of a race voting for their own skin color, despite the issues or the history of the candidate. Racism is accusing whites of voting for their own, while doing the same.
    Racism is YOU.

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

    Lynn D - want to back up your "I think" with some facts? There has been no reports that Obama is being supported by Hamas". So, are you a supporter of McCain or Clinton?

    April 25, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  3. Stupid Americans

    to "Grif " April 25th, 2008 6:25 pm ET

    come again?

    April 25, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  4. After further review,Texas

    Must be all those snipers and hackers on the internet.

    April 25, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. obamacrat

    IS REALLY DONT LIKE HILLARY SHE LIAES AND LIAS SO MUCH AND YOU CAN EVER TRUST HER BECAUSE SHE HAS NO TRUST!!!

    OBAMA 08!

    April 25, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  6. Sharon Minnesota

    I see a lot of LOL's coming from the Obama camp over this one. Yuk it up guys and get all your laughs now. Hillary and her crowd will be laughing it up come November when we are celebrating a win for the White House.

    April 25, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  7. gary

    HD. WHY NOT. OBAMA IS SMOOTH TALKING YOU SUPPORETERS TO GET YOUR MONEY, WITH EMPTY PROMISES. O.B. IS ONE BIG JOKE.

    April 25, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  8. Lisa (PA)

    Lynn~You wonder if Hamas is giving money to Senator Obama? How unjust and forgetful you are!!!

    What you should be asking is "Where did President Bill Clinton got all of his money?" The Chinese, The Colombians and other Middle-Eastern countries? He should give back the $800,000 to the Colombians for the CAFTA treaty.

    Come on Lynn come back with a brillant response! Did you forget that one really BIG tidbit?

    Obama '08

    April 25, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. HAWK,TEXAS

    I SEE IN THE NEWS WHERE OBAMAS BUDDY REZKO IS IN MORE TROUBLE. BUT OBAMA STILL HASEN'T RENOUNCED HIM. HMMMMM.

    April 25, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. NickNas

    The FBI, CIA, Interpol and Homeland defense should be RUNNING to secure this. Who knows what scammer (teerrorist) could be doing this.

    April 25, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  11. Independent

    I bet there is some connection to this with the Hillary campaign. No wonder hillary raised $10M so quickly. Also, hillary supporters lately hacked Obama's website. Shame on you Hillary, you dont need to run a decent campaign, you want us to believe the you will run the country better than McCain or Obama ? I want either McCain or Obama to be the president. We don't want liars like hillary as presidents, lying about her bosnia story, the pregnant ohio girl, she is a nasty politician, doing anything to win the votes, and will never do anything for the country. Obama is my first choice, second choice would be McCain, but McCain is also playing the dirty old politics lately, so my choice will be Obama in the general election

    April 25, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  12. Danny

    Why people keep donate money to Obama? you guy don't know that they
    not going to let Obama win a Presidency. I agree with you Ric.......90% to
    100% black people are vote for Obama this is race their just vote for their
    own color this is not Americans at all. Do not vote for Obama he not going to get our vote in general election, we have to vote for McCain if
    liberal Democratic party give Obama nominee. We don't care McCain good or bad just vote him people.

    Hillary 08 President.

    April 25, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  13. Rachel

    Wow- this website is just like the great Obama himself; a scam.

    April 25, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  14. To GRIF

    I think I can speak for many here when I say. Metamucil can do wonders for you.

    April 25, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  15. gary

    HD. DONT START CELEBRATING O.B. YET. DONT EVER THINK HRC CANT WIN. THE REAL PEOPLE WILL ELECT HRC. THEY DONT WANT A ON THE JOB TRAINING CANIDATE IN OFFICE. HIS SMOOTH SPEECHES ARE NOT ENOUGH TO RUN OUR COUNTRY. THIS RACE IS JUST RACE AND THE SUPER DELIGATES ARE NOT PULLED IN BY O.B.'S BULL--.ONLY THE TRAITORS ARE GOING TO O.B. FROM HRC. HRC HAS THE U.S. MILITARY ENDORSING HER. THAT SHOULD SHOW THE COUNTRY WHO IS THE BEST CANIDATE FOR OUR LEADER. IF YOU O.B. SUPPORTERS THINK HE'S THE SECOND COMMING, PUT HIM ON A BOAT AND PUSH HIM OFF AND SEE IF HE CAN WALK ACROSS WATER. YOU O.B. SUPPORTERS ALONG WITH HIM ARE A BIG JOKE.

    April 25, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. AF

    Has anyone check with Hillary to see if her campaign is beind this deception. Remember she keep saying she will do anything to win, that includes stealing the election. That's a republican playbook

    April 25, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  17. AF

    I am a little confused. I didn't know that being the first lady was qualification for the president.

    April 25, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  18. PA_Hill-fan

    DONATE BARACK TO OBAMA should have first alerted most people in the first place. Most Obama donors also knwo which site is real. So is this a distraction that Obama could not raise 10 million in a day?

    April 25, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  19. PA_Hill-fan

    DONATE BARACK TO OBAMA should have first alerted most people in the first place. Most Obama donors also know which site is real. So is this a distraction that Obama could not raise 10 million in a day?

    April 25, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  20. Annamica, OH

    The reason why we support HRC's campaign is because we believe in her just as you apparently believe in Obama's campaign. STOP the hating or I guarantee lots of HRC supporters will NOT support your candidate should he win the nomination.

    April 25, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. Candyce

    I strongly appreciate the action taken by Senator Obama by moving ahead and helping the DNC and his general election activities. Unless we have all forgotten our basic arithmetic from the 4th grade, the numbers do not add up for Senator Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. So instead of wasting time on petty issues, Senator Obama has taken the high road again. Way to go!

    April 25, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. Ilona Proud Canadian

    I don't know what to say to this new mess. Was Hillary's campaign behind this? maybe, but we really don't know. She did boast of making $10million over the Internet in 24 hours. I really hope that whoever was behind this scam is caught, and I don't mean the person who was actually responsible for the websites, but the people behind them. This has got to be more than a simple scam. And guys please don't be too hard on Griff and the others who are obvious Hillary supporters, they just can't help themselves, their adoration of Hillary has caused them to lose sight of the big picture.

    April 25, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  23. David

    Interesting......................
    Hillary raised $10 million after the PA win and the site disappears. Her biggest fund raising effort ever in her campaign within a 24 hour period.

    Just a thought.

    April 25, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  24. Nikole

    RIC-Don't play me small. I have been supporting Obama since before he decided to run, by signing a petition asking him to run. Black people get a chance to vote for a capable, black candidate, and we are racist for doing that? Your racism argument would have merit if he weren't such a GREAT candidate. White people have ruled around here since the beginning, are all of you racist for not having ever voted for a minority? Give me a break.

    April 25, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  25. Ilona Proud Canadian

    I just had a scary thought. Do you folks think that the Clinton fundraiser may have known something about this scam, and this was the reason for him defecting to Sen. Obama's camp??? It is just a scary thought that occurred to me. I really hope that I am wrong!

    April 25, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
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