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. elaine

    My,oh,my! Republicans are really desperate now. They are throwing everything they can to change the outcome of this Presidential race. They know that McCain is not going to win this election from the way things are going now, so, first, Palin accuses Obama of being pals with terrorists which is false and now, they want to audit the political contributions because they are running low on their funds. I wonder if McCain returned the 1.2M he is supposed to. Desperate measures for desperate people!

    October 5, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. reggie

    the repub is losing thay are trying to distrack us. stay focuse america.

    October 5, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. Keith

    Unbelievable. McCain and Palin are really getting desperate, and they are the ones who have taken more money from special interest groups than anyone.

    America cannot afford four more years of what basically will be another Bush presidency. Enough.

    October 5, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. SueG

    The key words Obama says "returned" He didn't keep the illegal money like the One does. Check him out I say!!

    October 5, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. La Chatte, Portland, OR

    DESPERATION! The old coot has lost what was left of his mind and Sarah never even had one. Hey, I'm not now nor have I, in the course of this fiasco, er, election, been a Bambi fan, but I'm being held hostage and forced to vote for him because my other choice is flatly unacceptable. McSame and Miss Wasilla? We'd not only be disdained by a major portion of the world, but we'd also be the universal laughing stock!

    October 5, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. Bob

    Hey RNC, come and audit me, I gave around $200 so far and am not finished yet. Everytime McGoo says another lie I get the debit card out, get on line and donate another $25, so come and audit me, I have nothing to hide. What a repulsive political party the republicans have sunk to a new depth in the cess pool of politics.

    October 5, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. JFK

    As usual, the RNC are being whiners! The candidates speak for themselves and the people have chosen Obama overwhelmingly to support him with their dollars.

    October 5, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. bob in LA

    Fear, name calling, slurs,lies= the RNC platform. If their misguided ideals can't win them an election, then why not deegrate the opponent.
    Hey John- how that illegal black child of yours Bush used against you?
    I may not agree with your political views but I gave you more credit than this type of campaign.
    I gues you're willing ot lose a campaign to win a war, but have no problems losing your morals to win a campaign.

    October 5, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. dl

    Wow...so the republicans go back to using lawyers to cause problems for others...Anyone find this odd? Becasue arn't they the same ones who try to limit "us" from sueing or anything in court? Oh wait I forgot it is all about the wealthy here! what was I thinking. Ok so I have not given any money to the Obama campaign but now I think I will...

    October 5, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Amy

    I think the RNC is scared because for once they are being beaten in the money race. I think they are even more scared because Obama has done it without accepting donations from groups (PACs) that McCain has found himself relying on.

    I think this is just one more way the McCain/Palin/RNC campaigns are trying to distract Americans from the key issue this election: the economy.

    To borrow a famous line: It's the economy, stupid!

    October 5, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Jack - DSM, Iowa

    "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." This makes it sound as if the Obama campaign has not accepted any money from lobbiest or PACs, but the fact of the matter is that they have accepted naerly $100M from lobbiest and PACs through bundling. A nice bit of smoke and mirrors to misinform the voting public.

    These campaign audits should be automatic and constant for all campaigns.

    October 5, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. James

    The more the RNC tries to dirt this up the farther south the polls go. Get the idea there that they have no clue what it means to be a Maverick and try to win on virtue?
    Hail Mary another dirty bomb and try to divide our country some more and we will see that you lose the election John.

    October 5, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Mitch

    Oh please,

    Republicans grow up. Please start acting like adults and stop acting like babies. Republican: Let's call Obama names. No...well...that's not working...we're still losing and the American people still think we are incompetent. I know, I know: let's call Obama a terrorist. Ah, darn.....the stupid American people didn't buy that one either. I GOT IT: Let's say he broke the fund raising laws!!! Yes, these rules are so complicated that no one understands them anyway. Woo Hooo!!! We'll get that dirty Obama now. He's an illegal fund raiser!!! "

    October 5, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. Maggie VT

    I hope they also audit the McCain campaign and Cindy McCain. After reading about his "Bill Ayers" I would not put anything past McCain. And why wasn't his winnings put on his income tax returns?

    October 5, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. lol

    i beleive they are getting hooooooooooooooober desperate

    October 5, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Enrique

    huh? give me a break , they are just jealous because they are being out fundraised and campaign by small donors.. Audit on , there's nothing there.

    October 5, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. sal

    silly rabbit tricks are for kids

    Obama Biden have won

    Distraction are what they are

    the fact remains, M/P have loss

    it all a matter of how bad at this point. McCain go negative and more will question his judgement.

    October 5, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. Misty

    RNC and McCain campaign!!!

    Listen up! It is the ECONOMY STUPID
    Who cares about fundraising- get on topic we have to solve the economy and end the war because of which we are in such a mess.... Leave Barack alone– he is an honest man and you are NOT!!

    Obama Biden '08

    October 5, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. AA

    Keep digging RNC.

    To quote I forget who...

    You cannot dig yourself out of a hole, it just gets deeper.


    October 5, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. josh

    wasn't it John McCain who got a loan for his campaign on the promise that even if he didn't get the nomination he would still keep running to collect the public financing to pay back the loan? talk about a lack of ethics! That's taxpayer money he gambled... again...

    October 5, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. Karrolly

    The Republicans will stop at nothing. They can't win on issues, so they try to pull the Democrats into the gutter with them.

    I will be so glad in November to finally have a President in the White House I can be proud of.

    October 5, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. Quay

    More than the polls, these acts by the GOP show clearly that McCain/Palin are clearly aware that the Republican "brand" is flushing down the toilette.
    Good...I'm glad...I was sick of having to listen to it!

    October 5, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. Jim D. Martin

    I sent him a thousand dollars, and if I can, I'll send more.

    October 5, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. michael minorgan

    McCain is going down that sleazy path he said he never would consider..we are fed up with that kind of politics..my best friend who happens to be a Republican and is the president of a Republican club at university says that a large number of his student members are taking away their votes for McCain mainly because he has reverted to this kind of campaign! I can only wonder how many others across the country will react the same way..Whether Democrat or Republican we are fed up with these Carl Rove "swiftboat" campaign tactics. We have very urgent problems in our country that should be dealt with in an honest and upright fashion so we can make real choices in this election..not choices based on sleaze and smears. At least by all accounts Obama is trying to keep his head above this political manure and stick to the issues. I hope he keeps it up..he will get more votes that way,I'm sure

    October 5, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. Allen in Hartwell, GA

    When will the McCain camp start trying to sell their candidate rather then try to tear down Obama?
    If McCain can't do anything except complain about Obama why would anyone want him as president?

    October 5, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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