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 from VA

    I smell desperation from the GOP and it reeks. Maybe Palin can give the Obama campaign tips on how to stall an investigation.

    Obama needs to stay on message about the economy. It is getting that time of year when people have to purchase heating oil and it is not going to be easy for people on fixed incomes such as the elderly. He needs to keep asking these people if they can stand 4 more years of this mess. I think the answer will be no.

    October 5, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. Ronna

    The Republicans are sooooooo desperate. lol

    Why not just accept that we do not want John McCain. He is a washed-up-has-been!

    October 5, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. sallievoter

    google john mccain birth certificate


    October 5, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. ANGIE

    Mccain campaign give it up already your going down there is nothing you can do or say from stopping senator obama from becoming president of the united states YOU LOST MCCAIN GET OVER IT!

    October 5, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. HC4BO

    Is that all they got ???

    They better come up with better reasons for voting Republican this year because that nonsense will not cut it ...

    October 5, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  6. JK

    The Republicans are desperate.

    McCain I wish you were reading this. You forgot who you are and what got you here.

    October 5, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. Glenn

    The whines of a losing and desperate campaign strategy. When your guys, McShame and Miz geez, lack intelligence, character and intigrity and are full of nothing but b s and fluff, you got to have something to say.

    And all this from the party of so-called Christians!

    October 5, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. Maggie VT

    And just to let you know, I donated money to the Obama campaign.

    October 5, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. Amy Q

    The RNC and McCain campaign are just oozing desperation at this point. As if all their money has come from completely legal means (hmmm, was it not just recently that it came out about the sex and drugs in re. to oil?).

    They, however, should be careful because this could turn around and bite them yet again. If it turns out everything is on the up and up, the DNC can turn around and do the same to the RNC and I can guarantee you there would be quite a list of illegal money acceptance on their part!

    October 5, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. mississippi librarian

    Country First – that is the biggest joke since the invention of time. John Mccain is only interested in becoming the POTUS for himself. I do not hear any answers for issues coming from the Republican side, only smears and lies. If I were a supporter of the Rep ticket, I would be deeply disappointed by these tactics. Any man who can organize a multi-racial, multi-generational effective campaign in the manner that Senator Obama has, can certainly bring change to this country. And by the way, Mccain has even stolen Senator Obama's campaign slogan – how low can one man go. Give it up John, you and Palin have lost!!!

    October 5, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. Tim

    Wahhhh Wahhh, mommy hes raising more money than we are! It's not fair!

    October 5, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. chuck

    This is pretty rich, coming from the McCain campaign. Cindy McCain is active on the campaign trail, and if McCain wins, would be in the White House, but says that she'll never release her tax forms.

    October 5, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. PCL

    Detestable tactics will lead to detestabele leadership.

    October 5, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. John, FL

    McCain is slipping, time for the kitchen sink!

    October 5, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  15. betty

    It would appear that Obama's forward thinking and judgement were far better than McCain's. He obviously figured out that it would take a lot of money to win the election and that most of it would be needed in the final 30 day push. Kudos to Obama – the kind of President we will need – one who thinks ahead.

    October 5, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. Independent

    GOP are scared and they know they will lose BIG TIME. There behinds are burned for the past 8 yrs and now they trying to attack Obama for no apparent reason. The are bunch of crying babies and nothing but complaining and money diggers and McCain is the biggest money digger. GOP are bunch of idiots

    October 5, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. Slomo

    I am telling you folks...Obama is a Constitutional crisis in waiting. Almost two hundered million, half of his contributions, have come from overseas sources. Who is buying this election ? The Saudis, the Iranians, Russians, Chinese, Cubans ? It is becoming apparent that they are. Obama would have to be removed within his first year in office and it will create a hellacious situation. The American people will only have themselves to blame if they elect him.

    October 5, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. dennisec

    Talk about the RNC and McCain being a bunch of winers....What else is next from them? I think this is totally outrageous and a waste of the voters time.

    October 5, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. mc shameful mc senile, mc dummy, mcsame

    this is what the fat one Limbaugh said Mcbush should do, and here goes mcbush doing it

    his teacher Limbaugh the racist who gets paid to be racist is at it again.

    go away you horrible people who do not represent the AMerica we are and love

    October 5, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. TH

    An obvious, yet ridiculous, attempt at an October Surprise. RNC, get a life. You can't say anything good about your candidate right now so you try to dig up dirt that does not exist. Shameless.

    October 5, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. Barb

    Is the RNC and the McCain/Palin so desperate that they will resort to any and all attacks that they can think of? Doesn't sound like running an aboveboard campaign to me.

    Personally I think most voters get really turned off by negative ads, especially when our country is in such a dire financial state.

    Just stick to the issue – THE ECONOMY

    October 5, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  22. Sick and Tired!

    The GOP is responding to the results of the polls and will do anything within its power these last 30 days to win - including looking under the rug for illegal contributions and airing attack ads that are lies! Swiftboating won't fool us this time. Fool us once, shame on you. fool us twice, shame on us.

    October 5, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. arlene, CA

    McSame is creating more distractions, anything to keep the focus away from the issues. McSame is getting desperate & going after anything he can. I am sure the Obama campaign will stay focused on the issues we all want to know about. McSame is out to destroy Obama with smear tactits, it's what he does. It won't work this time. We are ready for the Change We Need. Obama / Biden 08-12

    October 5, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. Ben

    They will seriously try to do anything to shift attention away from the campaign.

    October 5, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. Rod

    To me, this just seems to be another tactic of the Mccain campaign to turn voters away from Obama/Biden. Just like the issue with Ayers. I believe that once people see all that they (McCain/Palin) are trying to pull, they will see right through it. As a military career person myself, I just would like to know why John McCain goes around telling everyone that he has this near perfect voting record for veterans when we know that it's not true. If he thinks that military personnel are going to vote for him just because he was in the military, then he's gonna be surprised come election night. I have to say that I don't believe everything that any politician says, but when I know that they are straight out lying to me, it really ticks me off!!! I heard a saying somewhere before that sums up what I think of McCain/Palin and it goes " I have more respect for a man who lets me know where he stands even if he's wrong, than the one that comes up like an angel and is nothing but the devil."

    October 5, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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