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. Ted:Canada

    Just out !!!

    CHINA HAS MORE HOUSEHOLD COMPUTERS THAN THE US.

    Too bad Bush, McCain and Sarah don't know how to use one.

    US FALLING BEHIND – Bid Time!

    October 5, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. perplexed

    Now the GOP is attacking from ALL fronts... This is a true act of desperation!!!!

    Things are getting nastier and nastier they seem to be big sore losers.

    McCain is following Karl Rove's tactics line by line. What a shame.

    October 5, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. BLCJ

    Just act like the Republicans when Palin & her workers got their subpenas and refuse to talk!

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

    I'm totally for that, as long as the same is done to the RNC funds. LOL, just imagine what we'd find there. I wonder if the Saudi royal family has gotten their hands in the McCain pot yet?

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

    It sounds like McCain is having fundraising troubles.

    October 5, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. txgal44

    The GOP is really desperate. They're looking for anything and everything. This, along with Sarah Palin, is going to blow up in their faces. This is the end of the GOP. They will probably not be a Republican president for the next 24 years.

    October 5, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. Craig Nazor

    When they are being investigated, the Republicans scream "frivolous lawsuits", "political gridlock", or they ignore subpoenas, or they evoke executive privilege, or they attempt to re-write the law retroactively.

    Republicans have stood against campaign reform for years. McCain himself has been involved in the Keating scandal. His wife has embezzled controlled drugs from her own non-profit and tried to blame someone else.

    Well, investigate away, but investigate it ALL. The money that I have given to the Obama campaign is all legitimate, and this will just make me give MORE!

    The Republican chickens have finally come home to roost!

    October 5, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. pam Eugene OR

    Looking for something that is not there. McCain is so jealous of Obama's ability to raise money he can't stand it. He will waste thousands of taxpayers' money to find,m nothing.
    McCain is almost broke and he is pitiful.

    October 5, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. IndependentMindinElection08

    Here comes the last minute, desperate swift boat style attacks from the RNC and the McCain campaign. You guys are unbelievable. Let's audit the RNC and see what we find. Guarantee we'd find that machine full of dirty lobbyist money...McCain, you are out of touch.

    October 5, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    INVESTIGATE JOHN MCCAIN NOW AND SHOW HOW CORRUPT HE IS SINCE HE DOESN'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE FAILED ECONOMY AND TRUST ME THERE'S A GOOD REASON AND THAT'S WHY MCCAIN AND PALIN ARE ATTEMPTING TO DESTROY OBAMA'S CREDIBILITY. MCCAIN AND PALIN WANT OBAMA TO WADDLE IN THE DIRT WITH THEM TO AVOID BEING EXPOSED. AMERICANS WILL STAND STRONG AND DEMAND MCCAIN AND PALIN GIVE US THEIR ECONOMIC PLAN WHICH THEY HAVEN'T.

    October 5, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. TJ

    How about checking Sarah Palin's misdeeds in Alaska. Why is she and first dude Todd refused the subpoenas served by the court in Alaska? That is because they are hiding something that they don't want the American public to know!

    October 5, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. CANADIAN CLUB

    ACT OF DESPERATION. SHIFT THE FOCUS OF THE REAL ISSUES, BY ENGAGING IN DIVERSIONARY TACTICS. GAME OVER FOR THE REPUBS. TAKE YOUR SLIMY TACTICS AND RETREAT UNDER THE ROCK FROM WHERE YOU CRAWLED FROM.

    October 5, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Mrs. Texas Teacher!

    hmmmm..... I listened to BBC on this issue. Sometimes you hear more about your own country in a foreign press than here. Not one media here to my knowledge told the public what BBC did. Now I could be wrong, someone in this country might have said, but I did not hear it.

    BBC said that McCain chose public financing for his campaign, because the Republican Party was so wealthy. McCain would get all kinds of support from the RNP. According to BBC, it is widely known that the DNP does not have the kind of capital that Republican party has to run ads, etc. In doing so, McCain was of the opinion that he would freeze Obama into having much less money to work with for his campaign. Well, Obama obviously might have been born at night, but NOT last night! I don't know who said that, but I liked it. I immediately got on my computer and sent some of my hard earned money to support Obama. I have never done that before. And I tell you I have heard many people in my area say the same thing!

    October 5, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. shame on you

    mr mccain, if you would better concentrate in describing for us your plans and intentions for our country (besides remaining at war), as well as you focus on trying to discredit senator obama (by any means necessary), you might help yourself and your party better. but you insist and continue to focus on lying on senator obama and now you are investigating (and this is your right) his donators and backers because senator obama's party is backing him financially "better" than your own. check your party and ask yourself why is your party not backing you, instead of criticizing the fact that senator obama's party is. look in the mirror mr. mccain.

    October 5, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. mel

    give it up mc cain it is over!

    October 5, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. Hispanic Conservative

    I beleive that the RNC will find issues with Obama and his campaign accepting foreign monies, how would this be any different fm him accepting favors fm people like Ayers, Rezco, Wright? Obama is a dirty Chicago politician, who knows how to play dirty with all those dirty criminals or people who hate America.

    October 5, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. Nancy

    Oh, for gawd's sake! Talk about Republican desperation. Is the McCain/Palin ticket going to pay for this audit or are the American taxpayers going to have to foot the bill for this supreme waste of time?

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

    Everyone seems to ignore the fact that McCain was born in Panama, just like Noriega.

    October 5, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Eli

    Smears ... Distortions ... Lies ... Distractions!

    That's what McLame and the RNC stand for.

    October 5, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. MeganM

    Waaa!! No fair - Obama is getting more money than us! Boo hoo. He has to be breaking the law! Surely since our candidate can't raise this much money, Obama has to be stopped. Here's a suggestion GOP, start concentrating on the issues & maybe you'd be competitive. Also, doesn't help that all of your hedge fund managers are too busy avoiding homelessness to donate to your ticket.

    October 5, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. JT

    Neither candidate's campaign can speak to every nickle they've taken in. It's just not possible. The U.S. government can not even account for every dime we've spent in Iraq for goodness sake. The RNC/McCain campaign in on a witch hunt...anything to take people's mind off the last 8 years. Anything at all.

    October 5, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. sophia nyc

    Good luck RNC you won't stop democracy from taking place and outing your corrupt party.

    October 5, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. Gabriel Miami, FL

    When issues are no longer important.. Just start swinging!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. deborah, WV

    I think THE PEOPLE should do an audit of RNC and McCain's many lobbists including some that have foreign ties. AND they should be held accountable!

    Also where are the hundreds of millions of dollars coming from for salary deals for hate mongers like Rush Linbaugh? WE THE PEOPLE need to find his many sponsers and boycott their products!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. Ann

    Desperate times calls for desperate measures. GOP is grasping at straws. Focus on the issues. America is bleeding and this is only what you can put at the table. Anything just to win the presidency. What does if profit John McSame if he wins the White House and loses his soul...

    October 5, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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