October 21st, 2008
02:15 PM ET
6 years ago

GOP tries to pressure Obama over small donors

A crowd estimated at 100,000 turned out for Sen. Obama's recent rally in St. Louis. Obama's campaign has more than three million individual donors.
A crowd estimated at 100,000 turned out for Sen. Obama's recent rally in St. Louis. Obama's campaign has more than three million individual donors.

(CNN) – Republicans are looking to turn Sen. Barack Obama’s jaw-dropping $150 million September fundraising haul into a liability, pointing to a lack of transparency over the thousands of small donations that have padded the Democrat’s campaign coffers.

In its latest effort to cast a bright light of scrutiny on Obama’s fundraising, the Republican National Committee launched a new Web site Tuesday that allows users to search for individuals who have contributed less than $200 to the RNC since Sen. John McCain became the GOP’s nominee. The site follows up on an administrative complaint recently filed by the RNC that asks the Federal Election Commission to require Obama to disclose all of his donors – even small donors who give less than $200, which Obama is not otherwise legally required to disclose.

The new site hits the Internet a day after McCain campaign manager Rick Davis told reporters that Obama’s failure to make a similar effort would leave lingering questions about the source of those funds. “Our house is right,” Davis said on a campaign conference call, referring to the McCain campaign’s decision to disclose all of its donors, even those it is not legally required to disclose because of the size of their contribution. Davis said that “the vast majority of [Obama’s donors] are probably legitimate,” but pointed to recent press reports of donations received by the campaign over the Internet that were not in compliance with federal campaign finance law. “So . . . from our perspective, a little bit of sunshine, a little bit of transparency will go a long way on this issue,” he said.

Click here to listen to Rick Davis on Obama's fundraising

The Obama campaign dismissed the suggestion from the RNC and the McCain camp that it is hiding something by not disclosing its small donors. “Without accepting a dime from Washington lobbyists or corporate PACs, which have paid a pretty penny to John McCain’s campaign, our campaign has shattered fundraising records with donations from more than 3.1 million Americans,” Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan said in an e-mail. “We have gone above and beyond the transparency requirements by disclosing our bundlers and the levels of contributions they raise – and we have followed the FEC’s disclosure rules for individual contributors. Compiling our monthly FEC report is no small feat – it totals nearly 80,000 pages. While the McCain campaign claims to have made their donor list fully transparent, they list hundreds of donors on their website under the name ‘anonymous,’ many more with zip codes that don’t exist, and fraudulent contributors with names like ‘Jesus II’ – we hope and expect that they will implement a rigorous review process like we have to make sure their contributions are appropriate.”

Since announcing his presidential bid, Obama has raised approximately $600 million as of the end of September. His campaign is the first to forgo public funds during the general election phase since the creation of the federal public financing system for presidential races in response to the Watergate scandal.

Early in his campaign, Obama made statements suggesting that he would agree to accept public funding if the GOP nominee did the same. He subsequently announced, however, that he had decided to opt out of the public financing system and would rely instead on private contributions allowed by federal law in order to finance his general election efforts. Because he decided against participating in the public funding system, Obama’s campaign will not be subject to an audit by the FEC, which McCain’s campaign will face as a result of receiving public money.

At the time the RNC filed its FEC complaint requesting an complete audit of the Obama campaign’s finances, the Illinois senator’s campaign said it had been the victim of Internet fraud in those cases where improper contributions were submitted online, and that it was reviewing its fundraising procedures to make sure every available step had been taken to root out such contributions in the future.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain • RNC
soundoff (336 Responses)
  1. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    My husband and I made six donations to Obama's campaign in September...there, transparent enough for ya' RNC?

    October 21, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Dee

    The jealousy coming from the McCain camp is hilarious....I'm one of the under $200 donors to the Obama campaign..now what? are they gonna hit me up for a donation?

    October 21, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. FREE THINKER FOR OBAMA

    John McCain, RNC, please go to hell and leave us alone.

    October 21, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. Arsik

    Yeah and On Russian channel the other day I heard that McCain asked money from Russia for his campaign. I am not sure if it is true or not but Ya.. I write what I read either it is right or wrong. McSame get your money from your wife if you are broke

    October 21, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  5. truth hurts

    go get a life you are sick

    October 21, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. CD

    Pot calling kettle black. McCain please go HOME and take your step plastic barbie with you.

    October 21, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    RNC is so busy distracting, their candidates can't get to the issues.

    Fear and Smear ain't working this time.

    Vote early

    October 21, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Puff

    Pressure Obama??? Are you nuts??? This guy answers to no one. Just ask all his followers, he is above the law!! How dare anyone ask the Messiah a question.

    Wake up folks, he is on the campaign trail and won't answer questions, what do you think it will be like when you give him the white house??? Think it will get any better? Think again.
    Get off the hope dope before it is too late.

    October 21, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. MY FRIENDS - REPUBLI-KLANS JOA$$HN McINSANE/PAIN-LIN ARE SPREADING HATE & BIGOTRY IN AMERICA

    petty and more whinning!

    americans are already voting and these fools are still stuck in the past!!!!!

    October 21, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. In Good Company

    Rant on, GOP. Obama is not "buying the election". That $150 million dollars is the PEOPLE SPEAKING UP. We're voting with our wallets. The reason so many of the donations are small is because he is energizing younger voters, college students, people who don't have a lot of money but are willing to give what they can.

    October 21, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. OLD NEWS!!!

    Early in his campaign, Obama made statements suggesting that he would agree to accept public funding if the GOP nominee did the same. He subsequently announced, however, that he had decided to opt out of the public financing system and would rely instead on private contributions allowed by federal law in order to finance his general election efforts. Because he decided against participating in the public funding system, Obama’s campaign will not be subject to an audit by the FEC, which McCain’s campaign will face as a result of receiving public money.........OLD NEWS !!!!!!

    October 21, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Bridgette-PA

    "Early in his campaign, Obama made statements suggesting that he would agree to accept public funding if the GOP nominee did the same. He subsequently announced, however, that he had decided to opt out of the public financing system and would rely instead on private contributions allowed by federal law in order to finance his general election efforts. Because he decided against participating in the public funding system, Obama’s campaign will not be subject to an audit by the FEC, which McCain’s campaign will face as a result of receiving public money"
    IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS? NOOOOOOOOOO! NOW LET IT GO ALREADY!
    OBAMA/BIDEN 08!

    October 21, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. ez

    Early voting is the way to go.

    Registered Republican "voted" Obama/Biden 08

    October 21, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. No Longer Amused, Las Vegas

    Another red herring from McCains's increasingly desperate campaign.

    October 21, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Ed McDuffie

    It's simple the RNC cannot get the biggets and thier racist ignorant supports to give $86.00 to support thier views.

    October 21, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. sophia nyc

    GOP go away already. It's time for a new party to reduce the Republican party to nothingness.

    October 21, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. Over taxed, over worked

    I hope the republicans lose. The only candidate that could of beat Obama is Ron Paul. He was raising that kind of money before they stonewalled him. With Dr Paul out, I'm voting 3rd party.

    October 21, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Phil Newton from Murphy, Oregon

    Big GOP Brother is watching us.

    October 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. s.positive

    This is from a party that has just asked russia for donations. I guess 632000 new donors divided by $150 million is hard to believe because you the GOP wanted to leave Americans poor. KISS where the sun doesn't shine...

    October 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. TAINOPOWER

    The only reason I will vote for McCain is. Hillary Clinton. yes Hillary Clinton if obama wins Hilary wont be able to run for president in 2012 and 2016 she be to old to run . I will ask all democrats to vote for McCain and if McCain wins Hillary will have a chance to run again for president in 2012 and she will win.

    October 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Darrel from Denver

    They appear to be whining here.

    Hmmmmm....whiners, clinging to guns and religion, perhaps? It's about all they have left based on what I am seeing of the polling numbers.

    That is not to say that Democrats aren't religious or believe in the right to bear arms. It's just that the Republican don't give them credit for that since we are all just simple socialistic, communist leaning terrorist, tree hugging, baby-killers in their eyes.

    October 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. Arkansas Undertaker

    Newsflash GOP!!!! The Obama Campaign owes you nothing!!!! Get a life and quit whinning over something you cant change!!!

    October 21, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. Annie, Atlanta

    I'm one of those small donors. You see them on blogs everywhere. Look at all the small donors who gave to the MN house race after Bachmann opened her hateful mouth on Hardball. The GOP can't handle being behind. They planned years ago to take charge and keep it, even if they had to steal it. Now they see it slipping away and cry fowl at every turn as a distraction. I'm disgusted.

    October 21, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. tim

    Obama won't because no one in the MSM will challenge him on it.

    October 21, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Enough!!!!!

    Racism and jealousy are both terrible on their own, but worst when combined. If you people want to know how he did this so you can copy him, like you do everything else, just ask. Obama is polite enough to share information

    October 21, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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