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. Kathleen

    McCain is so desparate that he will do anything. I am totally baffled that they think we are all stupid and will believe their pack of lies and innuendos about Senator Obama. McShame is the exact title of his campaign, not McCain.

    October 5, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Billy

    The cow says, "Moooo."

    The duck says, "Quack."

    The RNC says. "whaaaahh."

    October 5, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. Enitan

    The Republican party are already sounding like a pathetic sore loosers, it appears all their old cruked old tricks are not working this time, thank God the american people are finlly finally waking up and seeing that this is a party of lies and deceit.

    October 5, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Mike G

    Oh and BTW... McCain and all the others use the same fundraising techniques of internet donations. Just check out their websites. Hypocrites!

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

    The economy has gone to hell and the GOP is wasting time with this mindless crap. Keep it up and watch the voters run toward Obama!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. John Johnson, Los Angeles, California

    What we're witnessing is a desperate candidate in action, digging for any dirt or misdeed in his opponent's background in order to appeal to the most gullible voters. It is sad and, at the same time, infuriating. McCain's campaign has deteriorated into the very thing he says he is against– divisive politics. If he were to win this election, how does he expect himself or his vice president to work with a democratic Congress? We will be right back into gridlock at the worst possible time in our history.

    October 5, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Hans-Erik Iken

    I only WISH Obama could take contributions from foreig nationals, think how much he could raise in Europe and the Euro is worth $1,39 these days......

    If he could take money in Europe he would have twice the amount he has to spend at the moment.

    Add to that the rest of the world that favours him over McCain and it would be over already.

    October 5, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. henriettap

    Sounds like republicans are grasping at straws they seem desperate kind of like a cat being cornered and trying scratch their way out.Do they have at least some type of solution to start to get us out out of this mess we are in?Instead of going negative with no word of what they are going to do for the country and the economic mess.

    October 5, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Greg FL.

    Yea, lets investigate the gentlemen that bundled money for Charlie Christ and McCain out in California. I would love to know why this guy was raising money for a FL. election out in CA. I would also like to know why many of his contributors to McCain turned out to be foreign nationals.

    October 5, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. john

    Here comes the desperation!!

    October 5, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Molly Weasley

    The GOP really has nothing to offer this election, so all they can do is to try to distract from the real issues.

    October 5, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Doh!

    Wow...they are grasping at straws. Foolish

    October 5, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. BJS

    This is so out of control. John McCain and his u betcha gal are going to implode

    October 5, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. leon pa


    October 5, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. ERRATIC DEFINED “a: characterized by lack of consistency, regularity, or uniformity”. FOR EXAMPLE SEE GEEZER/GIDGET’S CAMPAIGN LURCHING FROM REST STOP TO REST STOP IN THE “LIARS EXPRESS”!

    Sounds like somebody missed his nap!

    He is just a bit cranky and needs his binky and blankie!

    Once again, what is coming out of Geezer camp is not a "breath of fresh air", just more moose flatulance!

    October 5, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. Pam

    Hey, McPalin, your desperation is showing!

    October 5, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. voter Arizona

    With the economy the way it is why is no one questioning where the average american can afford to give this kind of money to any campaign. If we are in such bad shape this is crazy spending this kind of money on any campaign. I don't believe that small donors have contributed this amount of money. I just wish the news organizations would do their job and investigate this matter. I will not vote for either of these 2 spending this kind of money just to gain the power of the presidency. The whole election system needs to be revamped.

    October 5, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Jim in Bisbee

    McCain/Palin haven't got a chance to win this election, and they've said as much with this pathetically weak attempt to distract the voters from the real issues – all of which they're on the wrong side of.

    I'm looking forward to a Democratic president and a Democratic congress working together to fix the mess Bush has left us with. McCain's recent descent into a campaign of lies and deception is making this much more likely as voters are increasingly turned off by the tactics employed during the last 8 years. Too bad for McCain this is the only education program Bush had that worked – learning to spot the politics of personal destruction.

    October 5, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Independent for O'Bama

    Wow, how anyone could vote for this McCain/Palin ticket is beyond me. I guess if you can't convince America to vote for you through legitimate means, such as outlining your policies and beliefs that can appeal to voter's and address the country's current problems, then why not try the good old tried and true smear campaign.

    They are truly despicable..

    October 5, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. priscilla

    They still cant believe that soooo many people have contributed to Obama... they are shocked that we want this man to be president so bad that we will donate over and over again... GET OVER IT!

    Obam/Biden 08'

    PS: I will be donating another $30 right now thanks to the RNC!

    October 5, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. Change is Coming

    I never comment on these things, but this time I just had to respond. How sad that the RNC has stooped to such levels. I am truely starting to think that the Republican Party will do anything to keep Barack Obama from being elected. Shame on you John McCain! Shame on you RNC!

    October 5, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. PUMBU

    Mccain is done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! too desperate, my God.

    October 5, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. louise`

    McCain's campaign is so troubled it is trying to say or do anything to create a disturbance so they don't have to talk about the issues or their so-called plans

    October 5, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. Deb, Allentown,PA

    As Obama said, all McCain has at this point is distractions.

    Guess what, McCain, we will NOT BE DISTRACTED from making sure that you and Palin are defeated.

    October 5, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. Sour Grapes

    Sounds like sour grapes to me. John McCain, seeing all the polls against him, these are the kind of tactics he is now trying Obama's progress. Yes we can!!!!
    OBAMA 2008

    October 5, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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