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. Lisa, Atlanta GA

    Are you jealous, McCain?

    October 5, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    The filthy Republican slime machine has nothing but frenzied desperation in their eyes. What level of ignorance does it take to vote for members of it's party?

    October 5, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |


    But surely, does freedom of speech really mean anything in America. Imagine that vile cartoon that was done by someone about OBAMA and his WIFE. And now Sarah PALIN with that SQUEEKY voice and those annoying facial expressions. President material? NOT NOW, NOT EVER. Shame on those who believe such rubbish politics.

    WHO THE HELL IS SHE? Does she think of tomorrow-well maybe not because most people have short-term memory loss. Every American must be appaled and tasteless politics.

    OBAMA is still campaigning. Audits will be after. Who orders them anyway?

    October 5, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. floydfix69

    well come too PA first I give 300 dollars to obama,rep can spend money, but dont how too control it ,the dems should investigate you crooks.you all well be voted out come nov 4, a 10 year child could run the nation. better than you people.

    October 5, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. Bobo

    GOOD, Finally, and they can play the race card all they want. They are just PISSING people off when they do it..

    Go McCain/Palin 08

    October 5, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Donkey Party

    How about McCain giving the taxpayers back their 84 million that he's wasting on himself?

    October 5, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. tws1906

    The RePubs never give up do they...one complaint after another...Look into your own house before tryin to run someone else's.

    October 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Smiley from Conyers, GA

    Wow...it never ceases to amaze me how a losing campaign can try to grasp at thin air to bring down Obama. This is beyond ridiculous. I guess it's Obama's fault that McCain can't raise enough money to stay afloat in battleground states. What's else is Obama's fault – global warming, crime, the economy...? What the heck else?

    October 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Independent for Obama

    Wow! McCain has to resort to gaming the system to win. Can't beat him on the issues so he might as well take Obama to court!

    Makes me glad I left the Republicans years ago.

    October 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Frederick Sanchez

    McCain's V.P. pick the pig with lipstick seems to be clearer and clearer what a pig she really is, saying Obama hangs out with past terrorists when he was 8 years old. Unbelievable!

    October 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Jeff

    McCain/Palin: All aboard the "Smear Talk Express"

    October 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Rob

    Bring in the mouth pieces, like troopergate.

    October 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Delaware Vol

    Barack Obama is a CREEP, a THUG and a CROOK!!!! I can't wait for this SOB to get exposed!!! McCain/Palin doin the work the crooked, biased media WON'T do-including CNN!!!!! Wonder if they'll publish this comment!!!!!!!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. karen in ok

    Man ! John Mccain will stoop to any measures possible to win this election. What's next. It scares the heck out of me if he does win this election..

    This is going to get ugly!!!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. SW,OHIO

    McCain and his people are running scared. They will do ANYTHING to keep control of this country. The Republicans failed, no doubt about that!!! It is time for a change, the Democrats deserve a chance to clean the mess up and get this country back on track! Americans deserve to live again!

    October 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. diana greene

    Oh, now you want to audit Obama's contributions, but Sarah Palin and the others involved in "Troopergate" don't want to answer any questions????? Now, things are really getting ugly!!!!!!! If an audit is done, then questions about Troopergate" ought to be answered and they should stop acting as if them have something to hide. I'm a registered Independent, but I'm leaning more and more towards Obama everyday!

    October 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. Mr Republican

    The Rothchilds and Rockefellers have funded both sides. Vote 3rd party....

    October 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. Joman

    If anyone supporting Obama thought for a moment that the Republicans were going to go down without scratching and clawing and playing every despicable ploy in the book – think again.

    Karl Rove and the rest of his hench-crew are supporting McCain's campaign and they are proven to be capable of unspeakable offenses in pursuit of their NeoCon agenda. Don't forget that this was the man who succesfully convinced South Carolina in 2000 that McCain's Bangladeshi daughter was an illegitimate black child, destroying McCain and paving the way for 8 years of national insanity under the thumb of The Decider. And now McCain has Rove and crew on his team? What does that tell you?

    Republicans have no soul – only a Darwinian drive to dominate at any cost, itself an incredulous hypocrisy.

    October 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Bryan

    Well, while I don't object to overt oversight, scrutiny, and accountability, it certainly will be the ultimate downfall of the McCain campaign if and when it is shown that fund raising was not performed illicitly by the Obama campaign. And at the same time, I look forward to the rebuttal investigation on the $1.2 million of foreign national donations to the McCain camp. But you can see McCain working its desperate kitchen sink approach. Country first? A campaign of honor? Why not just say it's a campaign of sunshine, ponies, rainbows and skittles, and just flash a bright light in our eyes when we peek in for a closer look. I'm glad the country is in a heavy trend against your disgusting campaign. And Palin? ...ugh. You couldn't have picked anyone less informed. Obama could have won with Paris Hilton debating her.

    October 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Lord help us tony

    What else is new, since the republicans can't fight on real issues that concerns AMERICA . Its bad enough when Palin the bull dog went after OBAMA on old news when he was only 8 yrs old trying to tie him to a terrorist group radical. This reminds me of a playground fight if you can't win with words. kicking, scratching and bitting is all you have left . The REPUBLICANS needs to grow up. If not they will self destruct emplode within. Not only its a presidential race but hundreds of city and state elections to be contested.

    October 5, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. Gene

    Here we go again. McCain will do anything to distract from what is important to the average American. - We independents are tired of our time being wasted on slur tactics.

    October 5, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. LadiDi

    McCain/Palin will run ads to discredit Obama, terrorist connect, Rev Wright and on and on. But what about Palin and her witch doctor minister and 'voodo'. What about the investigation of Trooper Gate and is stalled for whatever reason.
    Wake up America... we are in serious trouble
    And for those that think the problems with the economy is not affecting them... just wait! Its just a matter of time.

    And I thought McCain was so much better than this. Be glad when it over.

    October 5, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Mike D.

    Getting desperate are we Republicans? 4th and 10 with twenty-nine days left ...better break out the trick plays because your other game is pathetic and anyone with a brain can see it.

    October 5, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. D.

    I thought Obama is for transparency?
    Oh, well... another flip (or is it a flop?).

    October 5, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. el

    Obama's fund raising is a demonstration of true public financing!

    This tactic from the RNC just shows how desperate they are.

    I've checked that box on my tax return before, but never again. It's troubling to me that my tax dollars are helping McCain run.

    Point your fingers and waste our money, THAT'S the Republican way!

    October 5, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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