October 5th, 2008
04:19 PM ET
13 years ago

RNC to seek audit of all contributions to Obama campaign

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/05/art.boberlin1005.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Obama's July speech in Berlin drew tens of thousands. Now the RNC wants an audit to determine whether the federal ban on contributions from foreign nationals may have been violated."]
(CNN) – The fund-raising prowess of the Obama campaign may be put under a microscope, if the Republican National Committee has its way.

The RNC announced that it plans to file a complaint with the Federal Election Committee Monday that seeks an audit of the more than $450 million donated so far to Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

The complaint will address two issues highlighted in a recent Newsweek report about the Obama campaign’s fund-raising. First, the RNC will ask the federal agency responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws to audit and inquire into whether the Obama campaign accepted any money from foreign nationals, a contribution source prohibited under federal law.

“We believe that, based on the law, the Obama campaign has accepted contributions from foreign nationals and has knowingly done so through at least its failure to reasonably investigate where all this money is coming from,” RNC Chief Counsel Sean Cairncross told reporters Sunday.

Listen: RNC announces plans to ask for an audit of Obama camp's fund-raising

The FEC defines foreign nationals as foreign governments, foreign political parties, foreign corporations, foreign associations, foreign partnerships, individuals who are foreign citizens, and immigrants to the U.S. who do not have a “green card,” showing they are permanent residents or are lawfully admitted to the country.

Second, the RNC plans to ask for an audit of possible excessive contributions to the Democratic nominee. “The Obama campaign has a track record of accepting these,” Cairncross told reporters, referring to recent FEC requests directed at the Obama campaign to explain what appear to be multiple small donations from single donors listed in the campaign’s finance reports which violate the contribution limits when aggregated.

The Obama campaign was quick to turn the McCain camp's critical eye back onto McCain's own fund-raising. “Because of campaign finance issues, John McCain has had to return over $1.2 million to donors who potentially violated the law with their contributions," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement Sunday. "We look forward to a thorough investigation into whether John McCain’s campaign has returned all of the money it raised from foreign nationals," Burton added.

The Obama campaign also responded to the RNC's claims that it may have received some contributions prohibited by federal law. "Without accepting a dime from the Washington lobbyists or corporate PACs that have funded John McCain's campaign, our campaign has shattered fundraising records with donations from more than 2.5 million Americans. We have gone above and beyond the transparency requirements by disclosing our bundlers and the levels of contributions they raise. We constantly review our donors for any issues and while no organization is completely protected from internet fraud, we will continue to review our fundraising procedures to ensure that we are taking every available to step to root-out improper contributions,” Burton said.

As the primary season ended and presidential race turned to the general election phase, Sen. Barack Obama announced that he had decided not to take public financing – a declaration that appeared to go back on his earlier commitment to work out an arrangement about public financing with the Republican nominee.

Watch: I'm opting out, Obama says

Sen. McCain, however, decided to take public financing during the general election race and is now limited to spending the $84 million given to his campaign by the federal government. Because Obama declined public funds for the general election, his spending is not limited by federal law.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • FEC • John McCain • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (701 Responses)
  1. More News

    They would. My concern.
    Palin,
    Madeleine Albright?????
    Madeleine Albright?????
    Madeleine Albright?????
    Madeleine Albright?????
    Madeleine Albright?????
    Madeleine Albright?????

    October 5, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Keith in VA Beach

    The RNC is all a bunch of haters who are seeing their power slip away. sorry so sad.

    October 5, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. aughhhh

    This reeks of desperation from the McCain camp! Very pathetic move!

    October 5, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. FreeNLovIt

    Meanwhile, can we also audit 6 billion or something like that, THAT had MAGICALLY disappear under this administration, while we were conducting a war in Iraq? And oh, the 5 zillion machine guns or ammunitions that were also lost?

    How about that?

    October 5, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Shoreline

    Another case of McCain's No Last Straw Left Behind program.

    October 5, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. pat

    Desperation is sad; McCain should not be dragged so low by his folks. Makes me not want to vote for him!

    October 5, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Fine, as long as T. Boone Pickens antes up information on how he funded the Swift Boat Vets!!

    And contributions from foreign nationals – you think Bush got any cash from the Arabian Peninsula?!?!?! Where was the request for investigation by the GOP then?!?!?!

    October 5, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Stacy Clarks, TX

    cry me a river!

    accept the fact that the American people are funding obama's campaign!

    October 5, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. Andy

    HAHAHAHAHAH breath AAAHAHAHAHAHAHA breath. Wow the republicans are seriously desperate. The republican brand is a mess, sooo much wasted energy trying to tear down Obama and no time building up the country.

    October 5, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Where is Obama getting his money from. Who are his contributors and what are their real names?

    October 5, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. Frank

    Ah, and some of us had long suspected this!!! They need to look very closely to potential donors from radical Islamic countries and their agents, specifically Iran and Syria!!!! Don't be surprised if it turns out that millions were sent by such entities! I am glad someone finally is waking up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CNN: please don't censore this one!

    October 5, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. Thomas

    You might want to look into the financial contributions too the
    McCain / Palin campaign by Achmed Chalabi !

    McCain's Brain Owned by Achmed Chalabi
    This time, it's his chief foreign policy guy, Randy Scheunemann,
    who Achmed Chalabi, Iranian agent, corrupt banker, and general con man .

    Follow the crumbs and you find the Truth .

    Those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it !

    Fallow the money, not the Moose !

    Al the best to you at CNN,
    More will be revealed !

    October 5, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Sue in MI

    Here we go with the swift boating tactics. I bet that were McCain's campaign contributions put under a similar microscope, irregularities would also surface. Hope they are prepared for that. I do not endorse wrongdoing by either party, but with this coming to light as McCain falls deeper into the abyss, one has to wonder.

    October 5, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. I can see Russia

    Once again, the republicans offer NO plan, NO help. They only wish to elevate themselves by knocking down the democrats.

    Its sad and it won't work.

    October 5, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. jim

    More Republican bullcrap to change the subject

    October 5, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Andrew

    How desperate are the republicans right now? What new lows will they go to to try to salvage this disastrous campaign of fear mongering and lies. Well tit for tat I expect to see a similar move being made by the DNC. McCain isn't a white knight, I'd like to see where he is pulling in his money from.

    October 5, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Brian Rich

    Another desperate attempt by the McCain campaign to find something...ANYTHING that makes Obama weaker in the public eye. Good luck Johnny, you need it.

    October 5, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  18. Hall for Obama

    John McCain, if we could just get you to talk about the real deal that concerning the American People maybe some of this mud sling would stop.

    October 5, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. Maxine

    The Republicans will not stop at nothing!!!!

    October 5, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. Ted van Tol

    It wont work!
    To much durt in one weekend!
    McCain and Palin are over and out.
    Obama wil be the next President of the USA.

    October 5, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. david Armendale, SF, CA

    more Republican red-herring maneuvers to distract us from the fact that this Republican President and Repubican Presidential Candidate are responsible for driving this country into a ditch and McCain has no strategy for getting us out.

    October 5, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. SAGG

    Big deal. McWhine will do anything to complain about Obama having money. You should've accepted public financing, dude...

    October 5, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. Economist

    Good! A bit of Obama's own medicine.

    October 5, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. georgia

    These people are rather desperate, aren't they?

    October 5, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Poetic Justice

    I could cry! This is totally pathetic. McCain and company have reached a new low.

    October 5, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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