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. Omar the Independant, Durham

    The McCain Campaign is a joke. Smear tactics, promoting fear tactics, the pick of Palin (playing on the emotions of our women when Hillary wasn't chosen for the VP) and now this.

    I can't wait until Nov 4th to really voice my distaste for McCain and his party.

    October 5, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. I Invented the McMuffin... and fire

    Desperate, sad and ready to be retired... lets send this old codger back to the desert.

    October 5, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. J.Rivera

    Just when America thought the McCain campaign could not go any lower in their smears, they do something very desperate.... They start making allegations of law violations.
    And accusing Obama of being friends with terrorist. WOW! If McCain thought his campaing was in trouble he hasnt seem anything yet. Talk about spitting in the wind.

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

    Wow, aint that something now?
    Truly the pot calling the kettle Black????

    Why don't the RNC request an audit of VP Dick Chaney deal with Haliberton and the Saudi's?

    Why don't the RNC audit Senator John McCain and the Keaton 5 ?

    Why don't the RNC Audit Gov Sarah Palin Campaign contribution for Alaska Big Oil???

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

    wow... what else you got? McCain campaign will use anything to win.

    October 5, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Ron

    Bitterness. Cheating. ignorance. Lies. Anger. Pandering. Bigotry.
    Intolerance. Greed. Adultery. Lack of Understanding. Callousness.
    Selfishness. Good ol Boy system. exclusion. = McCain / Palin 08

    October 5, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |



    October 5, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. ts

    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.


    That right there says it all. That is the only reason the RNC wants to look into this. McPain is running out of money and out of time. Congrats RNC, I predict you will make donations to Obama's campaign go through the roof now.

    October 5, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. LS

    This is the McCain and Palin change that they want to pursue.

    Palin wants to change the Constitution of the United States to benefit her position as Vice President, which Bush and Cheney did, which is very, very scary.

    McCain and Palin ticket is a very dangerous ticket and will be a plague to the U.S. if elected.

    McCain is a disgrace in full definition – Al Queda for McCain '08, you betcha! The melt down of America's economy will continue in favor of McCain-just what Al Queda wishes to happen.

    People of the United States for Obama '08.

    October 5, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. McCain/Palin The Copy-Cats/lairs


    October 5, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. victor,nj

    repugs are pittiful. They block an investigation in to Palin's abuse of power, but they want to investigate contribution made by citizens. Typical repugs philosopy, do everything to benefit the few intead of the majority.

    October 5, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. robtr

    McCain has already released the names of his small donors. Obama has refused to do so knowing that alot of them are illegal. I think he learned that kind of politics from Tony Rezecko.

    October 5, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Deb

    Republicans are such losers. Another cheap gimmick on the campaign trail. If they thought anything was wrong with this fund raising they'd have started whining about it long ago. It's past time for this party to drive the stake through its heart and put us all out of its misery.

    October 5, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. wwf

    Hang in there McCain, you will loose the election because you are more worried about Obama than you are the economy. Odd, we are bailing out the banks, but not main street. Just found out I will be paying 25% more for natural gas this winter. Too bad we are not all Corporate Heads, where we make tons of money for doing a poor job. Only in America, with the help of both partys.

    October 5, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Annie, Atlanta

    I'm curious how much John McCain is spending in Alaska to shut down "troopergate," and if any of that money is coming out of his public campaign financing funds.

    October 5, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Latoya M.

    Much ado about nothing. Nice way to try to distract us from the real issues, McCain.

    October 5, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. David Jumbo

    I think the RNC is totally confused. All they relie on is distraction. I think this party will loose come Nov 4th. Americans are hit so hard with this financial crises and instead of thinkinghow to solve our problems, they resort in unneccessary attacks.

    Americans will not be detarred with this Stupid Acts by he RNC.

    We have concluded that we are hurt with thier failed polices and thier Mr Bush that has lead this Country in debt.

    Obama is our right choice, He will be our next President.

    Enough is Enough, Not this time.

    Obama/Biden 08

    Dave Jumbo.

    October 5, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Ron from Baltimore

    Mr. McCain,
    Your performance, especially during the economic crisis (erratic, wild, lost, flailing) and oh so ugly smears and negative campaigning, has stopped so many of my friends from listening to you or Palin any longer. The election, to us, is over, way over.

    What a sham your campaign has turned out to be. To think, at one time we supported you. To think, we might have elected someone who we would now envision verbally abusing our allies and enemies alike, American and other alike, rich and poor….never mind that last one.

    October 5, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Gloria

    The latest accusations coming from Palin is showing detached from reality. Instead of bringing the voters closer to the candidates McCain and Palin it is bringing the voters further and further apart. Did Palin do well last Friday? On a scale of 1 – 10 she is on a scale of 2 why, I didn't learn anything new from her except her repeat of going back to Tax. How can any news station say she did well and she is back on track? What exactly is the trach she is back on? She is not equiped to handle any crisis whether it be VP or President, she is so green and naive. It also shows poor judgement from McCain, he could have picked any female, but he picked the most ill qualified – at this point Ms. Palin cannot catch up with all of her missteps. Does anyone what her or McCain run our Nation? We are in such a crisis now and the thought of these two in the White House is setting our nation in a downward environment and our children and their children will suffer for a long time coming. These two frighten me. I want my children to have a future and with these two in the White House what kind of future will they have. It is scary!

    October 5, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. pat








    October 5, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Donald from SC

    Us this coming from the same guy who fund raised in England, Canada, and Columbia? He he sure he wants to start this.

    MOST OF ALL: John McCain what will you do to help America????

    When you can't win with your own skills, beat the other guy up!!

    October 5, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. chris

    wow this is sad they are diggin in the files just too win...not to help normal Americans like me...this is sad ...i hope they rot for this

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for sure

    October 5, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Barbara

    Let's brace ourselves–here come the Republican dirty tricks. What will they accuse Senator Obama of next? They've already accused him of being a baby killer, teaching sex to kindergardners, siding with Osama. They're pathetic. Try to lose with some of your honor in tact.

    October 5, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Frank Lee

    *Sniff* *Sniff*

    Hmmmm, what's that I smell over on the right, a bit of desperation in the air, maybe?'

    Naw, it couldn't be..............

    October 5, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. David Peter

    Typical McCain tactic- acuse your opponent of doing something bad that youve done 10 times as bad.

    McCain never was straight talk. Even now, he refuse to talk about real issues and has clearly taken the low road. McCain is on the wrong side of history.

    October 5, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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