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. Fabian Blache III, Baton Rouge, LA

    Apparently, Senator McCain's campaign is still trying to find the current that flows to victory. His erratic responses under pressure truly have been subject to deep scrutiny.

    October 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. SF

    Wow....I guess they just can't accept the fact that the "little people" like me have donated to his campaign over and over again!!! McSame, you remember the "little people" don't you..........the ones that the Bush administration forgot all about over the past 8 years! I am tired of your smash mouth campaigning and so is America..........we are smarter people after the past 8 years and we are listening to the ISSUES, not, your petty playground antics!!

    October 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Concerned Citizen

    Oh C'mon, until now, the Republicans are concerned on who contributes to Senator Obama's campaign. How come they didn't make an issue out of it a month ago? Could it be that they are now behind on the polls and getting desperate? Like Palin said during the debate "you betcha."

    October 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. Gia in Los Angeles

    Another example of the McCain camp trying to change the story and put Obama on the defensive. McCain's only chance is to attack and lie, attack and lie. It's not gonna work! The People will prevail!! They will not find anything illegal in Obama's fundraising, but it keeps McCain from talking about substantive issues for as long as he can make it a story.

    Go Obama/Biden '08.

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

    Wow!!! I wish the Republican party will get over themselves...was anyone rasing questions when Bush was accepting money from lobbyists and foreigh oil companies...give me a break...I donate 25 dollars a week to Obama campaign because it gives me hope that we can change, now I am going to double that donation...The problem with the Republican party is they spend too much time worrying about the wrong things instead of putting that energy into how they are going to fix the economic crisis...give me a break, this people are sick!

    Obama/Biden08

    October 5, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. Siman

    Another desperate moment of republicans!

    October 5, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. MEP

    Is this what John McCain has? Is this his idea of responding to an economic crisis?He reveals his flawed character by choosing this path. By the way - why are Texas Republicans involved in Troopergate?

    October 5, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Lucy

    Enough is enough. Why won't the John McCain and the Republican National Committee discuss the issues. Fact check has shown time and time again that the majority of their Republicans ads are "misleading" or simply false (aka a lie). Swift boating by the Republican Party again...false attacks right before the election. Palin said he was pals with terrorists and that was also false (yeah, ask Katie Couric if Palin ever read a magazine) and Palin said it again today. The more the Republicans act this way, the more I am ashamed that I ever voted Republican. Americans want answers, we want truth. This is serious, not some ridiculous politcal game. I want to elect a grown-up. The Republicans have become the party of Drama Queens. I now know that the Republicans are out of touch if they believe the voters aren't looking up fact check. I sent a small donation to Obama after the bailout and it felt good. I thought I was sticking it to the Republicans like they were sticking it to me. I bet everyon hurt in the stockmarket wanted to strike back at the injustice. I bet I will get a emotional lift again on election day.

    October 5, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. connie

    Seems to me that the McCain camp is just upset that the Obama camp has more money to run an effective campaign. And since the Rep. Party has lost the "edge", they are doing everything possible to distract the American Voter. Good luck, you will NOT change my vote.

    October 5, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. brian

    boy they are trying anything to win . i am verey mad we need to vote for obama and get rid of MCnuts.

    October 5, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. Gene

    McCain and Palin are so power greedy to get into the White House that they would resort to vile and very dirty tactics to smear a winning candidate. If these two clowns are doing very dishonest and deceitful smears, I would never want them to run our country. They are a couple of crooks! I suggest that Palin needs to read the facts first before she start spewing very wicked lies! She need to check her backyard and closet first before smearing others.

    October 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Tiaunia, Dallas

    This will continue to be on the most unbelievable elections, when those losing cannot accept defeat.

    This is sad and I sure hope this over sooner than we think. GROW UP RNC!

    If it were "foreign" donations given to your campaign you would have nothing to say about it.

    October 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Franko

    Even his campaign financing is done unscroupulously. Obama is nothing new and only playing on the fears of others to gain the presidency. For shame...for shame!

    October 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Argy

    Desperation never looked better than on the RNC. Welcome to reality and enjoy the LOSS.

    October 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. JayInNewHampshire

    It's time for Obama to unleash his own junkyard dog. It's time to le Joe Biden loose on Scary Palin. Talk about the "witch doctor" rev, the abuse of power with troopergate, the hiring of her friends for positions billing alaska for days she spent at home, speaking out for her husband to have alaska removed from thr u.s and so on go get her Joe!

    October 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. Michael

    McCain and Betsy Co-ed are absolute hypocrites. They will do anything to win. McCain said, the words came out of his mouth, "We are going to turn the page on the economy and concentrate Swift Boat type attacks on Obama". This is the scumbag who claims to put the country first. He has a totally unqualified cheer leader as his vice presidential nominee to take his place if as a 73 year old man he should die of cancer which he has had four serious bouts with. And what Obama won't say but I will, this phony was one of the Keating Five who brought do the Savings & Loan industry by selling his vote for S & L money. The industry is gone and this person is as much responsible as anyone of the other four and as much responsible as Keating. Google it and you'll see for your self.

    October 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Chris Banner

    I don't know if you could call that jealousy but if Obama was successful within his campaigh, and if he raised more money than the republicans because more americans believe in him, that shouldn't be a problem for those who are not voting for Obama.
    The republicans are really losing it, and they should sort their business out. Am an independent and still to understand why we can't have fair campaigns where both candidates address the real issues.
    It seems though, that the republicans always start these dirty games..
    Am leaning towards Obama and will vote for the obama/biden ticket

    October 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Proud American

    Ha! I love it! The Republicans are smelling defeat. You lay on the bed you make. The Republicans are their own worst enemy (unfortunately we Americans also pay for their ineptitude).
    Obama/ Biden '08

    October 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. LadiDi

    Anything to steal an election. Its like the kettle calling the pot black.

    October 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Mike G

    Getting a little desperate there boys? Dang, the repubs are starting to panic. This is hardly an october surprise.

    October 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. R, Ohio

    The GOP are certainly getting desperate; can't wait to see what else they have up there sleeves. Again, they are up to tricks and dishonorable tactics to focus the American people away from the issues. I am so sick of McCain and his party.

    October 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. Sharyn in Atlanta

    DESPERATE that is all there is to say about this.

    October 5, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Pay in Attention, USA

    Improper contributions? Nah!

    DISTRACTION!

    Can't win on issues? Attack opponent's integrity, character – or make up lies... That's McCain's strategy...

    October 5, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. MYS

    More dirty tricks and desperate last gasps from a desperate party.

    These people, with their sordid relationships to Fannie/Freddie and scandals of their own to deal with (Alaska secessionism and Troopergate to name a few), have absolutely no moral leg to stand on.

    The RNC and McCain/Palin duo are dishonorable and shameful.

    October 5, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. 45 year old white lady for Obama

    they sound desperate!!!!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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