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. Carl

    Once again, internet fraud at it's finest, whether it's winning the lottery in the UK 132 times or helping out someone in Nigeria or donating money to Obama,

    scores and scores of stupid Americans have opened up their wallets without any doubt of security problems.

    April 25, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  2. Terri, FL

    I think we are increasingly seeing who is a strong candidate and who is not. The politics of win-at-all-cost spin the story to make themselves look good and their opponents look bad. This is the policy of the Clintons and John McCain. I want a different America. The reason people did not know how to run against Barack is because he is not average. They had to find a pastor, go through 30 years of sermons and select the one that is the most offensive. I don't think any pastor, black, white, green could stand up to that test.

    Barack still has my vote. He is the best candidate America has seen in a very long time. I like him.

    Obama 08

    April 25, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  3. Sean

    PA_Hill-fan: $10 million in a day? We don't need charity! We get $40+ million a month CONSISTENTLY! Guaranteed, even with the little windfall, Obama will still out-fundraise her in April.

    April 25, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  4. Stefanie

    I see so many women on here make statements that say "the White House needs a 'Woman's Touch'" and other sexist remarks, so it begs the question...it's ok for women to vote for Hillary because she is a woman, but it's wrong for black people to vote for Obama because he is black (did we forget he is half-white, also)? So only black people are voting on a non-issue?

    Isn't this a double standard? It's two demographics of people voting on something other than the issues, right?

    Face it, they are both generalizations. Not all black people are voting for Obama and not all women are voting for Hillary. Vote on the issues, if we can ever hear about them. Obviously not through the media. Do your own research!

    April 25, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  5. McCain/Hillary Ticket

    Be strong Barack, even though Hillary and McCain are double teaming you. Hillary doesn't have anything to lose because she already lost the election, and McCain wants another war. Of course McCain will not talk about war because it's a lost cause, so he's going to talk about silly things, such as Barack being an elitist. I don't think he is, especially next to Mr. Beer King, but if he is so what. I'll take an elitist any day than a warmongering wimp who will allow his campaign to be racist for his own selfish goals.

    John McCain doesn't need to go anywhere near the White House or American soldiers will be doomed. He will want an even longer war, and a new war with Iran.

    April 25, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  6. Stefanie

    I see so many women on here make statements such as "the White House needs a 'Woman's Touch'" and other sexist remarks, so it begs the question...it's ok for women to vote for Hillary because she is a woman, but it's wrong for black people to vote for Obama because he is black (did we forget he is half-white, also)? So only black people are voting on a non-issue? Women are strictly voting on the issues? And who did the black people vote for in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004, when no black candidates were running? Don't tell me they didn't vote either...because they did.

    Isn't this a double standard? It's two demographics of people voting on something other than the ISSUES, right?

    Face it, they are both generalizations. Not all black people are voting for Obama and not all women are voting for Hillary. Vote on the issues, if we can ever hear about them. Do your own research!

    April 25, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  7. Mark, MT

    Carl,
    The only security problem we have is you. You give your money to the candidate you like, and I'll give my money to the candidate I like. That is the American way.

    Barack did not have anything to do with the scammers and you know that–grow up, idiot.

    I'm sending another check to the Barack campaign.

    April 25, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. Darryl

    The FBI, CIA, GAO and FCC has softeware to trace this, it's likely some small time punk. I don't think the Clinton's would have someone do this that will trace back to them.

    This will like be trace back to it's source within 24 hours. Someone looking at Jail time this in line of ID Theft.

    Turn yourself in now the DOJ many go easy on you? NOT...

    Bye Bye Hillary

    April 25, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  9. anonymous

    Pavan, did you see a line "OTHER"? To clarify, if you click on that line you can enter ANY amount. Doing a little thinking would not hurt you.

    April 25, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  10. Vanessa

    I think we ought to take Senator Clinton at her word. She said in a speech today that we should treat this campaign like a job interview. Well, if you lie on your resume in a job quest you typically don't get the job. No matter how good you are, employers tend not to hire someone they know has lied.

    April 25, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  11. Key West Sun

    And the numbers do not add up for Obama to win the nomination either, so 4th grade math or not, we do not have a winner. Obama better tend to his affairs in Indiana first. A loss in Indiana will end his run, supers will have to go to Hillary if he can not win a big state next to his home state. 4th grade math shows that he can't win enough electoral vote to compete in the fall. Super's will have to go toHillary for any shot at the white house.

    April 25, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  12. Diane, MN

    Lynn D,

    Obama is not funded by Hamas. I'm always amazed a the stupidity of these posters. Please Lynn, take your meds and lie down. Jeesh.

    April 25, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  13. Brook, NJ

    I wouldn't put it past Hillary because she is un-American. She will say and do anything to win this election. She is a selfish, self-centered low down skunk of a person who will try to sabotage this election so she can win in 2012.

    Don't fall for her America, she is bad news.

    April 25, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  14. Linda

    Gov. Brad Henry knows that he made a lot of Oklahoma Democrats unhappy by pledging his vote at the Democratic National Convention to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.

    I went to Hillary Clinton dot com, and donated $100.00, and i feel real good. Henry is a loser backing a loser.

    April 25, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  15. Marc Tacoma, Wash

    I hope I didn't donate money to that site. I want my 25 dollars back. I want it back so I can donate it to the Obama cause.

    April 25, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  16. Bob

    Hilary wants another debate. Never mind that there has already been a record setting 21 of them! Does she never tire of makeing snide comment about a Black Church Pastor. Or pretending to be insulted on behalf of us gun owning Christians, even though she is neither.

    April 25, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  17. Neutral

    Obama get his campagin money from Libya thru intermediaries in Chicago. Ask Obama how's the 13th district of Chicago he represented when he was a state legislator? Him and Rezko did a good job lining up their pockets.

    Don't worry Obama supporters, Hillary supporters wil vote for McCain in general election.

    Too bad for the DNC, many registered democrats will leave their party and become independent voters. Where would DNC get their money?

    April 25, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  18. annie

    Someone should seek investigation of Obama, his campaign manger, his friends. If he has any decency in him at all, he should drop out of the race now before his closed door swings wide open and all hell breaks loose.

    April 25, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  19. He Is Still The Best

    My money went to the right place and I'm sending another check.

    Obama 08

    April 25, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  20. honei05

    to AF – Being First Lady does not qualify you. only dodging sniper fire bullets

    April 25, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  21. Elke

    Hey, this subject got high jacked. Some people turned this into a hate mongering opportunity.
    First of all, I cannot believe that the Clintons would be taking such a big risk and steal the money from Obama (that will come out anyway). But what makes me wonder is, that she was the one who had all the money to start with and now her campaign is broke. So much for her "experience". Obviously she cannot even manage a campaign, let alone a super budget of this country. With the economy in dire straits, poor U.S. of America if she manages to bully herself into the Presidency.
    I am a 62 year old white woman, but not senile enough to follow her blind. No, I've been listening to both of them and decided, hands down, that Obama is the less experienced but the more capable and trustworthy person to do the job.

    April 25, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  22. pam Eugene OR

    Yes, this nation probably does need a womans touch but not Hillary's. She is far too untrustworthy and self serving to ever represent me. I am first a democrat and second an Obama supporter. I am not willing to cut off my nose to spite my face.
    Even if I have to hold my nose and vote for Hillary I will. I do not want 4 more years of our children dying in Iraq, Iran or where ever the Republicans will send them. I want a stronger dollar, affordable health care, and gasoline that is not $4 a gallon.
    We will not get that from any Republican.
    Please Democrats vote for you values not your candidate.
    A DEMOCRAT 08

    April 25, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  23. richard

    No doubt this screams of another Obama scam and blame issue. We need to surely ensure this is not blamed on Hillary as usual.

    April 26, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  24. John

    With all the economic downturn,HD is wondering why people should contribute to Hillary campaign money.Reverse the whole question to why the people should contribute to Obama and yet he is not going to win?????

    April 26, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  25. richard

    As has been reported on several I repeat several occasions 90+% of blacks are voting for Obama. Many because he is black. 55% of Women are voting for Hillary based on several different issues. Get over it already and turn the page. Vote for who is the best for the job not who has your skin color.

    April 26, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
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