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. Tired Elephant

    Sour grapes, jealousy and nothing more. How about Rick Davis and this lobbying firm and so much more. Sarah Palin's per diems and so much more. A desparate act of a dying campaign.

    October 5, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Dylan

    What's that smell??

    ...smells like desperation. These Repubs clearly got nothing left in the tank.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 5, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. Jim

    They know they can't match his contributions, and they can't win on the issues, so they resort to this. Expect more dirty tactics from the GOP until November 4.


    October 5, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Pamila Shields

    I am a 47 year black female business owner in Snellville, Ga. My business has temporary closed, I plan to reopen over the next few months but I'm scared due to the economy. I have two daughters ages 15 and 11 whom I want to send to college one day. TALK TO ME ABOUT THAT. I want to hear about how you can help make my life better for my girls and I. So that as a mother I can STAND PROUD. I DO NOT CARE about whom Obama may or may not have been friends with. Obama needs to STAY ON THE ISSUES THAT ARE REAL do not ALLOW McCain to BAIT you. Also, I am sick of the media talking about subprime loans and that is the reason the banks have gone under. I have a subprime loan and I am having problems paying my mortgage, I did not understand when I purchased my home that my mortgage would increase, I WAS SO HAPPY TO BE A HOMEOWNERS AND TO BE ABLE TO GIVE THIS TO MY CHILDREN THAT I DID NOT READ THE FINE PRINT e

    October 5, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. PCS / North Carolina

    How about checking CEO's, and Corporate hierarchial donations to the RNC. Bottom line : The RNC idiots / religious fanatics and the filthy rich are trying to change the subject from economy.

    October 5, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. Lin lin

    This is what happens when desperation sets in !!!!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. energy

    I know the Chairman of Nigerian Stock Exchange Dr. Ndidi Onyiuke rallied over $1 M from Nigerian professionals but were turned down by the Obama Campaign.

    Regardless, I am amazed that Obama had earlier stated that he would accept public financing and later backed away. But one wonders why the Obama press is not making this an issue. Where is Jack Cafferty, Ronald Martin, Jeff Toobin, Gloria Bolger?

    "American presidency is NOT for sale" and should not be. That ought to be McShame's campaign slogan to counter all the money Obama is raising from his Muslim friends.

    October 5, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. Alex

    Oh my god, McCain is real erratic and desperate now. Go out and make your case to the American people on issues that matter to them and stop smear campaign. It is one thing to talk about “clean campaign” and to keep word. Only a fool can take McCain’s word.

    October 5, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. Tami

    Wait! I see a Boat named "Swift"

    The next thirty days will hopefully fly by..how much more of the Republican garbage can America stand!?

    October 5, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. DJ

    Of course he has taken foreign money. How else would he have had such enormous sums of money contributed? Does this surprise anyone? It should not. If the media had done its job and investigated him thoroughly, he would not have even won the nomination for the dems. It would be Hillary. America, come to your senses before it is too late.
    Vote McCain/Palin

    October 5, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Donna

    RNC, you won't stop at anything to win this election. How very, very sad.

    October 5, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. Yes, we can!

    Is the RNC also going to file a complaint about J McCain's campaign constant violations of his federal funding limits. The same people who drafted this bill are also advising him on how use its loopholes. McCain has no scrupples!

    Obama will be the first president in 20 years! to bring back integrity to the WhiteHouse. Bill Clinton disgraced it with his affairs and Dubya has painted it red in blood and red in debt!

    Vote OBAMA/BIDDEN 2008

    October 5, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Llij Nosmoht

    McCain/Palin: Your daily antics are a ruse to camoflage your pathetic, angry and irratic campaign failings. Stick to the issues or drop out.

    October 5, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Anonymous



    October 5, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. Texas

    Oh come on... RNC! Why don't you investigate Wall Street ask those big boys for an Audit!!!

    I thought about voting for McCain but after he nominated the pitbull with the wrong lipstick how can't complete a sentence and this dishonorable tactics! He has lost my repect! He is a flake in my books.

    October 5, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |

    There is a old saying,, "a drowining man try to hold onto a straw' McCain, Palin, and the Replican party are going down fast so they will try to hold onto anything they can find to try and keep afloat. Sadly, though nothing will work for them now because McCain in his greed to win at any cost has betrayed the TRust of the American people and the World by inserting Palin, a lady who cannot even put a sentence together and hasno obsolutely nothing about the Economy, foreign Affairs, and his oblivious to the World around her. This lady is not even fit to be a PTA secretary. I think she get where she is because of her look, her race, and her ability to fabricate. America should be very, very afraid of this Ticket. Even if you don't like Obama because of his race, you are safer with him and Biden as President.

    October 5, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Trina in New Mexico

    Desperation in these final days ..... I hope they're paying Karl Rove good money. And maybe they realize what Karl Rove did "for" Bush II. Not a dayum thing!

    October 5, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Ismail

    When they do the audit they will trace money coming from me in $20.00 dollar increments every two or three weeks. They will also find it from millions of people like me too. This is still another desperate attempt to smear Obama and the truth will come to light.

    October 5, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  19. Oz

    Do I hear trembling at the RNC head quarters? It's always fun to watch these guys running scared–and these tactics show it.

    October 5, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. V

    They should also audit All McCain accounts. How much he recieved from lobbyists

    October 5, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. McCain is toast

    GOP = Working the refs and whining.

    Whatever happened to this once proud political party, the party of fiscal responsibility and personal responsibility? You'd think they had embraced the ACLU and the trial lawyers the way they carry on about everything.

    That Obama's campaign may go down in history as one of the smartest is debatable; but the McCain campaign has undoubtedly been one of the worst and least honorable ever.

    October 5, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. Steve -LA

    Sounds like a set-up to me by the RNC. Just when I thought they (RNC) could not stoop any lower.

    October 5, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  23. Former Republican in Texas

    Boy, the Republicans are in a panic and grasping at every straw now, aren't they?
    If they audit Obama, then they need to audit McCain too. Fair is fair.

    October 5, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Keith - Ottawa, Ontario

    When a man is drowning... He will grasp at ANY straw.

    October 5, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. John Rico

    Well. As Sarah Palin would say "This investigation seems politically motivated so I won't help with it."

    October 5, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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