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. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    good.... DNC can audit the slimy GOP as well....

    nothing but "tactics" from GOP since they can't win with nothing to offer USA except another 4 years of Bush....

    October 5, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Sharon in Michigan

    The republicans are PATHETIC, this is an attempt to raise the shadow, throw dirt, blow smoke anything to tear Obama's campaign down. I am sick of this "sick", "sick" party. I for one will be glad when they are voted out of power. Something we democracy craving "real" patriots get to do here in America.
    Obama/Biden, '08

    October 5, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Arielle Yanaba

    wow...the republicans are at a loss for new ideas huh?

    October 5, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Koshlendra Patel

    If the Mccain Campaign can ask for this I would really like to know why the Mccain campaign is still fundraising through the RNC. I'd also like an investigation into where these donations that have been made to the RNC are going since according to the campaign finance reform law McCain seems so proud of he should be limited to that 84 million in public financing so why is there any other fundraising and where is it going. Also I read online that the limit for contributing to the RNC is not 2,000 somethin like it is for Obamas Campaign but 70,000 to the RNC meaning Mccain is getting a good part of his donations from extremely wealthy individuals and groups. If they are to investigate Obama's campaign they BETTER do the same to Mccain and his fundraising despite being on public financing.

    October 5, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Bridgette

    The McCain campaign is so angry that they're losing they will resort to anything & any level to try to win. In the end it just makes McCain look like such a loser instead of the HERO HE CLAIMS TO BE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. While on the other hand you have Mr Obama looking very Presidential.

    OBAMA 08

    October 5, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. angela

    WOW....the october surprise begins.....

    October 5, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. Chipster

    That's great! I can't wait to see the results of the McCain campaign's audit. I wonder how much he's collected from Alaskan Independence Party members.

    October 5, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. Curtis

    McCain and lost Palin is reaching for straws. I really feel sorry for McCain, he has lost all my respect.

    October 5, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Los

    Does this mean the RNC will have a list with my name on it? That makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

    October 5, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. CMB

    Screw the RNC, biggest bunch of hypocrites ever! John MCCain even held a fund raising dinner event in London, so you don't think he's accepted funds from people in other countries, doubt it1 You can bet Obama will say sure, go ahead and do your audit, i have nothng to hide, but if you turned the table you can be sure the GOP would do everything they could to thwart and investigation or Audit. I know for a fact that McCain has a particular campaign funds bundler who gets money from the Brits, Check connections to people tied to Keating scandal in Phoenix, AZ, many old buds there tat MCCain still works with.

    October 5, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Koshlendra Patel

    If I am wrong for some reason why is Mccain allowed to still be raising money from private funds when he has accepted public financing??

    October 5, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Curtis - Marietta, GA

    Smell that? Smells like desperation!

    You want to know who gives Sen. Obama money? I have, my mother has and my boss has. That makes 3 in one post. That's what the RNC doesn't get. They take checks of $2,300 from the lobbyists and the handful super wealthy. Sen. Obama taps into ORDINARY PEOPLE who trust in him, but can only give $25 or $30 at a time. That adds up!

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 5, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Crybaby

    What a bunch of crybabies!!!!!!! They need to focus on their own campaign. What's the GOP going to do for me???? NOTHING - what a bunch for freaken whiners!!!!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. Elizabeth in Seattle

    One more thing that the McCain campaign and RNC want to distract the country from because they know that McCain is sicking like a stone. THey are just nausty and this is sicking to more new lows by the RNC and McCain. This is sickenig. McCain can't win and they no it and they are trying to find out anyway to stick it to Obama.

    Shame on the Republicans.


    October 5, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. Ratgurl

    I donated a little over $200 to the Obama campaign. There, I saved the Republicans a couple of hours of hunting me down.

    BTW, I AM an American citizen.

    (What a bunch of schmucks!)

    October 5, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. hrsc

    McCain / Palin are disgusting....

    October 5, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. For John!

    It will be uncovered that Obama is indeed a corrupt politician, not fit to be President.

    Go McCain!

    October 5, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. annie - never again a dem.

    FINALLY!!! Of course, it still remains to be seen if the FEC will actually do anything or if they are in the tank for the o like most of the biased news media. Of course, with the advent of pre-paid credit cards, it may be a difficult task but I'm sure that if they try, it can be done!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. 4 Obama

    Maybe if the RNC concentrate on getting Sarah to wink ; ) wink ; ) in the right places they could get more $$$$$

    October 5, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. mike

    Another distraction by the pathetic McSame campaign who seems to be willing to do anyhthing at this point to avoid talking real issues:
    1. Economy
    2. Foreign Policy
    3. Healthcare
    4. Deficit/Debt
    5. The future of our Country...

    McSame is becoming McPathetic

    October 5, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. Brad Hurt

    The republicans are getting desparte now that they are loosing in the polls so they will do anything to get elected along with lies and smears they are just crooked as can be. The american people need to stand up and just say no these crooks.

    October 5, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. BJZ

    As one of Obama's political contributors, I welcome the McCain campaign to contact me! I am a community college instructor who has taught for 34 years and only makes $52,000 per year. Yet I have contributed over $200 this year to Obama's campaign out of my own pockiet because I am SICK of McCain and his rich power brokers trying to run this country for their own profit. And since McCain just said that the gloves have come off, folks, let's keep asking about his close, personal friendship with Keating (yeah, the same one who cost American taxpayers over 2 Billion dollars!) Didn't I read somewhere that while McCain wasn't found "guilty," he did have a letter of reprimand place in his record in the Senate? How much money is coming from his chief of staff with all his ties to Fannie Mae? Bring it on!

    October 5, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Jerry, FL

    I am happy that this investigation should come up. Barack will take money from Islamic radicals including Bin Ladin. They have to investigate before the election because he cannot be our president.

    October 5, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. Ina

    RNC would you like some cheese with that whine???

    October 5, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Football Mom in Indiana

    Can anyone say DESPERATE?????

    October 5, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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