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. Tom

    GOP is desperate and cranking up the mud-slinging machine. They've got nothing else, so it will be flying fast and furious now. Oh, the irony of the GOP claiming someone else got soiled money. They are the kings of that!

    October 5, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. D.Kimbro OHIO

    Sounds like sour grapes...What will they try next. John McCain is a pathetic old man.

    October 5, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Jerry in Los Angeles

    This is kinda funny coming from the party that is against oversight and regulation. Now they want to go over contributions with a fine-tooth comb? I say, fine let them, and we will do the same. We have called McCain's gambling bluffs, and we will do it again.

    And by the way, thank your brother for delivering the state of Virginia to the Democrats! Calling whole regions of a state COMMUNIST because they are starting to favor democrats. I'm sick of this patriot card fear-mongering. Are all the Blue states going to be labeled COMMUNIST by the McCain camp now? Is this what we have to look forward to under a McCain/Palin administration (God Forbid!) ??

    October 5, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Nimi from NY

    The Republican party are doing everything they can to distract us from what is important. I lost the home I owned for 12 years this year. Obama is telling me what he's going to do to improve my financial standing while McCain is not. A warning to the Republicans: Hillary tried this and it didn't work. The Republican party will be next because it's not going to work for them either. There's too much at stake here.

    October 5, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. Len in Washington

    Perhaps we should get a good look at BOTH campaigns. Are the Republicans ready for that?

    October 5, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Barney

    How much did McCain raise in Sept?

    October 5, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. President William Jeffeerson Nixon

    It's always the "american" issue Patriotism, God, and country, Hidden messages; well come 11/04/2008 Obama will run the floor on the Racist White Wing Republican Party.

    October 5, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. When all else fails

    when all else fails start the investigation. couldn't the RNC do this months ago? There isn't anything else left to do but to investigate the realness of the contributions. Nov 4th can't get here soon enough so that this train wreck of Mclame/Failin ends!!!!!!


    October 5, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. Hojo

    Another desparate tactic by the McCain campaign. They are the lowest of the lowest when it comes to ethics. This tells me that they are quilty of what they are accusing the Obama campaign of.

    October 5, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. TRUTH

    the truth hurts

    October 5, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Yogui

    Another desperate action by the McCain campaign. They will never learn that the fate of the Republican Party has already been written. It is pretty much over for them.

    October 5, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Jess

    I have donated to his campaing over 2,000 dollars so far! I will keep donating for OBama. This is another disgusting attempt to distract voters !! BUt guess what us voters are smarter than that..


    October 5, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Joey

    The big babies are out in full force. They losing the election and so they have a baseless argument. Anything to cause a distraction or to slow down the Obama camp. I would love to audit McCain's contributions.

    October 5, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |


    October 5, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. Zrank Fappa

    This looks like the last resort of the pathetic Repugnicans. Their issues and policies suck so bad, they have to try everything in their power to try and cut Obama down. Ain't gonna work. I smell a landslide on Nov 4. And this will be great day to give the "bird" to all racists everywhere, as well as the likes of slime like Hannity, Rush, O'Reilly, and the rest of the God-fearing folks over at Faux news.

    Obama 08

    October 5, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. Georgian

    So the smearing continues...would you stop entertaining this nonsense CNN..now since they are losing ..they want to question how money was obtained. The MSM should hold both party's responsible for talking about the issues ONLY!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. javone77

    This reeks of desperation. I don't even understand why there is a cap on how much someone can spend on a campaign if that is what they want to do. This si so lame. "I can't win on my own so let me try to tear him down". Please.

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

    Well, I'm legal donor. McCain can check me out.

    October 5, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. lou

    I think Oprah donated alot of money

    October 5, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. Dane

    Well I guess I can't complain really. Do what you can to win, this is not a smear or lie. Obama checked signatures to get people off ballots so I see no problem with what the RNC is doing. I'm sure the Obama campaign will be fine. Interesting how the McCain camp is doing everything but talk about the issues though

    Obama/Biden 08'

    October 5, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Smitherman

    Barack Obama is a smart man, He is smart enough to know that he would not be allowed to get away with recieving illegal funds. He is probably using dummy Corporations to launder the money. I mean come on, he's not stupid.

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

    Ever been audited? Auditors always find a bone of contention.–always– and the more money involved, the bigger the bone. Obviously, the RNC is accusing Obama of having a big bone! True, no doubt, but a racist stereotype nonetheless =)

    October 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. Sue

    Desperation. People tend to support more when they believe in the candidate. This was the first candidate I donated to, and I am sure that many others are the same.

    October 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. Darren

    I guess it's too much to ask that the GOP just accept the FACT that they are a bunch of losers who should just go away. They had the table set the way they wanted it (91% approval of the Executive and control of both houses of Congress in '91) – AND THEY BLEW IT!


    Now just go away. No need to add 'sore' to 'loser.'

    October 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Just Saying...

    Interesting that the RNC is asking for an audit because obviously they can't seem to raise funds as well as the Obama Campaign does. Remember Americans are ready for change so they are giving in great numbers. It's always a smart idea to make sure your own house is clean and skeleton free before you start judging that of your neighbour and this seems to be a bad habit from the Republicans.

    So if the RNC is asking for audits, then do it for both Obama and McCain campaigns to be FAIR! We have clearly seen the McCain track record this election season – It is full of lies, dirty smears and unsubstancial fear creating tactics just to draw the attention away from real issues and we are tired of it.

    It is time for CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN and that is OBAMA-BIDEN 2008!

    October 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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