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. Trysh in Los Angeles

    Good Grief Gladys!! They are really desperate aren't they?

    October 5, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Dave

    another distraction from the republicans...

    they want all of us to forget how they've sent this country down the tubes the last 8 years.

    October 5, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Steve Peeler

    Funny how this is just now coming to light that McCain is loosing. I almost had made my mind up to vote for McCain and then he picked Palin. John McCain is the biggest ill tempered, fat cat idiot in Washington. Anyone ever heard of the Keating 5? John Mccain was a very big part of that and cost the taxpayers over $90 Billion back in late 80's and early 90's.

    Tell me this, why is Palin being investigated on ethics as well as other issues for less than 2 years being Gov of Alaska, John McCain involved in one the the biggest scandals in Us Senate history, and it all gets swept under the rug. Obama is said to be pals with terriorist. If that is true, where is the solid proof? If the Mccain Palin ticket has solid proof of this, then disclose it. Lets see the truth. Don't just make claims and nothing to back it up. I am an Independent and I am sick of Sarah Palin and John McCain. Somebody kick Sarah in the balls.

    October 5, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. Frank in Deerfield, IL.

    When you have nothing to say you say nothing. The McCain/Palin ticket is an unfortunate representation of one of our major American political parties. Reading off of note cards, winking and unbecoming personal attack behavior is not enough. This is a sad day in American governance when that ticket represents one half of the best America can consider. The Obama/Biden ticket certainly has imperfections, but they communicate their proposed programs and policies in an appropriate manner for consideration by the American public.

    October 5, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. Shane

    The RNC is really getting desperate!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. Rick Short

    Boy, the Republicans are getting very desperate and we know that desperate people do desperate things.

    October 5, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. values


    October 5, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. OS

    The GOP tactics are so cheap and mean.

    Now they don't have policies and issues to run on, therefore they are desperate to coming up issues that are wrong and irrelevant.


    October 5, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. Victor

    Well, the law is clear on this issue and I hope Obama played according to the rules. However, I must point out that the republicans are an appaling set of people who will do anything, distort facts and lie just to win an election. Sometimes, those of us who live outside the US wonder if americans are blind that they can not see through these lies or is just blind optimism. Honestly, there is no future for America under the Mccain/Palin ticket whose socio-economic and foreign policies relies on antiquated methodology that is not applicable in today's global system.

    October 5, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Turn about is fair play. I definietly advise the Obama campaign to do the same...investigate all RNC and McCain donations, likewise

    October 5, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. I Just Said Thanks, but No Thanks to Another 4 Years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    Meanwhile . . .

    How's your 401 K doing America?

    When you get it, this week, say a special thank you for George Bush, John McCain and Sarah "Cheney" Palin

    October 5, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. awo

    OMG..Mclame is full of crap..

    October 5, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. dizizi31

    Wouldn't be the first time an investigation of campaign funds was done. Is there anything the GOP won't do to take the questions about Gov Palin's firing of staff from the limelight?

    October 5, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. Barney

    Hmmmm – maybe the DNC should demand the same in reverse.

    I have two friends here on green-cards that have given small amounts to McCain. Is that counted?

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 5, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Jerry from Oregon

    of course Obama opted out of public financing. He had to do so so that he could be prepared to confront the barrage of smears that the McCain campaign, the RNC, and any 527 organizations will launch against him over the next 4 weeks. The Republicans can't afford to let the Democrats take the White house. They need Bush and Cheney to be pardoned for wiping the country's behind with the constitution; no Democrat would do that!

    the question is how many Americans will buy the lies and smears?

    October 5, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. mj

    it is ok for Mc Shame to do this though ,take money from a foriegn company EADS

    October 5, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. k

    Now that is a good reason to suspend a campaign!

    October 5, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. The Red Man

    Well, there you have it: More proof that Obama will do anything to win this election, even if it means lying about how he got his vast stores of campaign wealth.

    Obama seems to be a tricky one when it comes to money.

    October 5, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. chippyarm

    While I read the posts fairly regularly, I don't fully understand. Can someone tell me about Palin's ties to a group that wants to separate from the United States? I understand they have had issues with the American flag. How sad if true. Thanks

    October 5, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. Erika

    This is absolutely ridiculous!!!! how many people live in this country and love it as if it is theirs and they cannot contribute??? it takes years to become a citizen! as as legal residents they have the right to care about who is governing the country they live in, even if they cannot vote. This is more than absurd in my opinion! the RCN is desperate because they are losing, Period!

    October 5, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Alpha

    This is awful, what is to become of our nation, parties bickering at each other just to have power... this is a sign of a fall of the empire. History is repeating itself, just like every nation that had power, Rome, Persians, Greek, England, France.... The DNC should also swat back with an inquiry of all donations to the RNC, dollar for dollar, every nickel and dime.

    October 5, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. Kevin

    Once again the distractors who have at the helm of their ticket a dying old man and an illiterate woman from alaska, want to try and cast doubt on Obama because they cant figure out a way to beat him otherwise. Well guess what people bring it on.

    October 5, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  23. Ike from Shreveport, LA

    Wow hey guys and gals is anyone surprise this in happening just a month away from the general election. This guy is going to win and there throwing everything his way. ......not to mention the RNC is simply jelous that the guy has done an excelleny job of running his campaign. ..even some democrats of envious...why because his doing what he's doing in a positive way and he happens to be black.

    October 5, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. Joe in MN

    Ploy!!! I have, and will continue to donate monthly to Obama/Biden, and common sense.

    October 5, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. mtg

    Desperate and grasping for straws. McCain does not have the knowledge of economics nor the backbone to tackle the problems of the ecomomy or foreign affairs. He's not much different than Bush. Smarter? Certainly. Incompetent? Definately

    October 5, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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