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. Big Ed

    Wow. Talk about desparate! Mc Cain and Palin are reaching deep into their bag of dirty political tricks. If I were them, I would be careful. Troopergate, flip-flopping on cooperation and transparancy, sessession groups, witch-hunting pastors, deregulation, Charles Keating, illusions of suspension and the list goes on and on and on...

    Mrs. Palin, don't throw out insults if you can't take them. It's a two way street when you start belittling and insulting others. If you can't take the punches, don't get in the ring!

    Talk about politics as usual! The only change about McCain and Palin is the change of the faces using the same old trash.

    October 5, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Simmy

    Republicans have allowed their party to become a cult. They are now members of 'The First Church of the Republicans.' Not only do they think they are entitled, they have anointed themselves keepers of the flame. The only true Americans are Native Americans (the indians)whom Chris Columbus discovered when he got lost and ended up here.

    Funny, when McCain was ahead in the polls (those 2 weeks), there was not a whisper from them cc: Obama's campaign funds. Well, here they go again with another tactic to divert attention away from a crumbling candidate. I believe that McCain is suffering not only from the economic crisis, but from the Sarah Palin crisis. Republican women are revolting against the insult to their intelligence.

    October 5, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. 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 it! You can bet Obama will say sure, go ahead and do your audit, I have nothing 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 (initialsWRB) to people tied to Keating scandal in Phoenix, AZ, many old buds there that MCCain still works with.

    October 5, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. OIF VET

    I give $10 a month. Audit this RNC. I'm a 37 year old Iraq war vet from a red state. I guess because I don't by the RNC BS that they always support the troops then they don't think I'm and American. McCain and Faye have no CLUE!

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

    The Republican party are already sounding like a pathetic sore loosers, it appears all their old crooked 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 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. Steven Eck

    I think the RNC needs to watch itseilf,instead of Barack.How about the racist remarks the that hussy from Alaska is making.Saying Obama is hanging out with teroist.That's absurd,if you can't come up with factual remarks.Keep your stiff republican mouth SHUT.

    October 5, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. returntocommonsense

    Between this and Palin's comment on "palling around with terrorists," I'd say that this show's just how desperate McCain and the Republicans really are.

    October 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Bea

    another smear....

    October 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. hD

    "...how'd the black guy get so much money ?!!! We're not getting as much as Obama...!!! Waaa waaa waaa..!!! Tick tock, Republicans, it's almost over for you.

    October 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Georgia Girl

    The RNC is sad. McCain's camp is run by lobbyist, the same lobbyist for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Our tax dollars are bailing them out!

    John McCain is very old and Palin is very stupid. Voters need to stop seeing black and white and start seeing green. The average American makes less than $50,000 a year so I don't understand why people don't want to support the man who will cut 95% of American taxes.

    October 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. joe

    What a joke CNN is. Who wrote this piece. It's clear that CNN is trying to make seem as if small donors can't donate more than once, which we all know is not the case. CNN is a very sad piece of work.

    October 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. tai

    Looks the RNC and mccain are really getting desperate, i didnt know it was possible to get this desperate.

    October 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Michael GuinnVentura ca

    Cry babies- can't believe the American PEOPLE have backed the Movement- They are so out-of-touch with reality! That's why Obama will win BIG on November 4th!

    October 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Monroe W. DeVos

    This recent action by the McCain Campaign is an added insult to the miooions of us who have donated to the Obama campaign.. Everyday I hear another individua tell me that they had never contributed before but have taken the time to send what they can. I'm without a job yet have contributed multiple times for around $700 or so because I believe in this process. The RNC needs to take a look at their own house. This action, the recent comments by Sara Palin regarding the alleged links to Ayers are just examples of the mean-spirited peopele that they are. We Americans are better than that....!

    October 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Brenan

    Only if we also audit the RNC.

    October 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Another grumpy old white woman for Obama

    They just cannot believe that there are that many smart people out here. They think we are all as ignorant as they are. Prove them wrong,
    Vote Smart.
    Vote Obama/Biden
    Vote for truth, not more GOP lies.

    October 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Patti

    This is absolutele nonsense...not the investigation BUT the amount of $$$ that is contributed to run a campaign. This money could be used for far better things than me trying to eat my supper and having to watch adults smear each other through campaign ads over the tv, on the radio and in the newpapers! I don't believe we need to contribute $$$ to a fund that is meant to "steer" me in the right direction. Just give me the facts and a little time and I can vote for whomever I want.

    I am tired of the campaigning, the mudslinging and most of all, I am sick (and I mean this literally) of the amount of $$$ contributed for this cause.

    Let's make better use of this money from now on....set standards and guidelines to how much a person should spend on campaiging.

    Maybe we could have used some of this $$$ to offset the financial mess this nation is in right now.

    And let's not forget this....these two candidates are employees of the US government with salaries that are paid for by us, the common US citizen through taxation AND they are given time away from their jobs, with FULL pay and benefits, to run their campaigns. AND when the votes are all counted, they each have a job to go to...and they will not miss a beat in their pay, vacation, retirement, etc.

    Wouldn't we all like an opportunity like that???

    What is wrong with this picture, America? Let's straighten this mess out before we are TAXED for more mistakes!

    October 5, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Donkey Party

    McCain, a POW and a POS.

    October 5, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Nancy from FL

    Good! Real Americans need to know where Obama's possibly terrorist money is coming from!


    October 5, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Jon

    The GOP continues to cling onto the thin ice of the McCain-Palin ticket, coming up with anything they can to steer away from domestic issues.

    October 5, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. Rob in Sacramento

    mcpalin & the rnc are without honor. wait until Nov 4, when all the kids who dont get polled on their cell phones, whose turnout will equal a landslide for Obama. then the repug party & their gangland tactics will be done for the foreseeable future.

    October 5, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. Grant in Canada

    Of course the RNC is trying to audit the finances. What else can they do to prevent an Obama win? It's not surprising.

    After all, come Nov. 4th, they will auditing the vote of Americans, and challenging anyone with a home foreclosure or doesn't have a driver's license.

    Many, many cries of voter fraud coming again this year. Sad for the country that is considered the best, and first, example of democracy.

    Good luck in 30 days....I hope your nation begins to restore it's well deseved dignity.

    October 5, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. Kaye- Jacksonville FL

    Oh – this is just rich, isn't it?? McCain is so blatantly desperate – they'll hit any despicable ball into the air hoping it hits Obama on the head...

    someone should be auditing McCain's contributions! Let's just counter-complain!!

    October 5, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Virginia For Obama

    Can the McCain campaign get any more desperate? This is pathetic. What an awful President he would be. Thankfully, he won't have the chance.

    October 5, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. donna

    RNC just can't accept that the contributions came from millions of pissed off Americans, huh?

    More RNC bull. They just want to find something, anything, to run a negative ad on. Can't handle that eight years of greatest "success" has been America's ultimate failure.

    October 5, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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