April 25th, 2008
07:45 PM ET
12 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)

    Tey are sites like OBAMA, aliar, deceiver, and crook, so why not take him for a cleaning. Some need to was his and REV Wright's s filthy minds, HILLARY 08

    April 26, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |

    These sites are like OBAMA, a liar, deceiver and crook, so why not take him for a cleaning, Some one needs to wash him and REV Wright of their filthy minds. They need to wake up no one owes them a darn thing. You can't blame this on Hillary like you try to do. Michigan and Florida votes need to count as is. Everyone of the candidates had choices of their names being on the ballots. They all were on the Florida ballot. Too bad Obama withdrew his off the Michigan one. Too bad how sad dumbbutt! Is he reallywhat you want running the country. I certainly don't in any office of the government. His suppporters are the worst racist I've ever seen. HILLARY 08

    April 26, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  3. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    mitch from ark, did you see how low and dirty supporters Obama has? You, Obama supporters are lower than fungus and villains. Obama team is trying to escape from the Wright's trouble, so bring out something to blame Hillary, they are wrong, Hillary is not a person who lower Obama supporters think. Do you remember Obama staff made 70 second anti-Hillary video? Obama's supporters are clever with computer, they know how to trick this campaign, that's why I will never vote Obama if he gets Nomination. McCain is more Presidential candidate than Obama and Mrs. McCain is more like First Lady than cruel Michelle. I don't trust Obama and his advisors at all. Actually Obama team is playing the game unfairly. Hillary 2008.

    April 26, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  4. We love you BARACK !

    The white house needs a woman? Guess there will be one exceptional woman and two more little women there...
    Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha..

    April 26, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  5. KA

    aah .. it's so ugly even to see what BO fans are joking at.. it just shows the character BO fans have.. yuk..looks like a childlike gibberish.

    and 99 percent of blacks favoring BO is never because of race.. never. it's because of his other qualities which blind BO supporters have seen and no one else.
    at least I don't see any other thing than his race.. A person is known by his company .. same goes for BO as well and many are clearly visible which BO is defending now and many more will be exposed with time.

    April 26, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
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