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. J.D.

    Republican Party =slime. Get ready, the last 30 days of this campaign will demonstrate what kind of people the Republicans are. Vengeful, lying, deceitful, malicious, horrible scum. We can't let them rule this nation any longer.

    October 5, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. MLH

    This is what you have? Why don't you just accuse Senator Obama of consorting with terrorists – oh, that's right – you did.

    We can't afford four more years of this type of idiocy.

    October 5, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. Ron

    This is laughable, when the Republican party has no answers, no viable solutions to the problems of the American people it turns to every trick in the book...They are the party of Christians, conservatives, the moral and upright, yet turn to lies and schemes when things just aren't going their way. This is shameful and all the more reason why we must elect Obama!

    October 5, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Kim

    It appears that the McCain campaign is really reaching for anything to smear Obama. If Senator McCain would start focusing on some issues that are important to Americans, perhaps his poll numbers would rise. He is no longer the John McCain of 2000 and 2004. He has become much like his Bush administration "cronies" – no integrity or dedication to the American ideals. I sent him money in 2000. I'm proud to say I have sent Senator Obama more than I ever did to McCain. Wish I could have back what I sent him so that I can put it towards the Obama campaign. I know I'm not the only one. The RNC is barking up the wrong tree. It's the American people who have been funding Senator Obama's campaign and will continue to until the last vote is counted.

    October 5, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. T'erra from KC

    This is just another desperate attempt by the republicans so they don't have to address the real issues going on in their own campaign. Like why Sarah won't cooperate with her subpoena from Alaska to see if she practiced unethical procedures, or how John Mccain has connections with Freddie and Fannie, or better yet even what newspaper she reads. They clearly have no insight nor a plan for an economic strategy to help Americans. So answer me this if this shows that he did receive the funds, how about McCain use the illegal money for the Bailout. Now there is a economic plan that American's can life with !!!!

    October 5, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Don

    I hope the RNC will ask John McCain to pay his taxes on his gambling debt and Sarah Palin pay her taxes on the "travel expense" she claim for First dude and all those children on the tax payer dime.

    "Country first" no "Pay your taxes first"

    October 5, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Robert

    Absolutely – ! And those who think things shouldn't be looked into – then ask the Feds to stop their investigation regarding Wall Street corruption. If there is nothing to hide – there is nothing to be afraid of.

    How many bets that Camp Obama will get their attorneys, et al out there to delay any move forward – at least until after the election. That is their game – Obama learned well and has now become the ring leader for the corrupt DNC, Dean, Pelosi, Reid, Kerry, Brazile and the rest of the bunch.

    October 5, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. jason, tx

    Desperation Desperation Desperation!

    October 5, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. LaSandra

    Talk about the issues. The RNC is just upset that Obama's campaign has outsmarted and has raised more money. If this was a real issue, this should had been addressed months ago. But instead, they are losing and using crazy tactics. McCain, Palin and the RNC is a disgraced to the USA. Shame on you.

    Obama/Biden 08!!!

    October 5, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Bob from San Francisco

    Sure, if we can have a proper audit of the B.S. recount issues from the 2000 election!

    October 5, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. josh

    I wish the Mccain camp would respect the Biden family in not run negative ads until after the funeral,also the Obama camp do the same,but the Mccain camp wont because thats their personality,when Biden choked up at the debate last Thursday reguarding the tragic death of his wife Sarah Palin showed no emotion or sympathy at all.

    October 5, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. Kittie Sanders

    The Republican Party will try anything to STEAL the White House, AGAIN!!!!!! THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA HAVE SPOKEN!!!!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN "08"

    October 5, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Jayne

    This just goes to show you can take the politician out of corrupt Chicago politcs, but you can't take the corrupt Chicago politics out of the politician.

    October 5, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. Vanessa / Ohio

    Shame on GOP for all this crap thay are coming up with...americans should not even acpect anything else from them.

    October 5, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. max (NY)

    This is really what you may call "Desperate measure" The RNC is missing out one big detail, After 8 years of crisis from the Reps. is Americans just got to votes The Dems. in remembrance of the fruitful 8 years of Mr. Clinton. Don't waste your time trying that. Jack.

    October 5, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. Katzenmutter

    I can tell them the source of Obama's campaign money – little people like myself donate $25 or $50 at a time (or $5 or $10) because we felt physically ill and horribly disappointed when the Bushies stole the 2004 election. We simply don't want that to happen again, knowing that the Rovians will stop at nothing.

    We want a president whose boss is the American public, not corporate lawyers and hangers-on with deep pockets!!!

    October 5, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. Erik

    This is an obvious stunt and partisan politics at its worst.

    October 5, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Rita from California

    Just another attempt at distraction by the RNC. I'm one of those small donors to the Obama campaign and they always know to the penny how much I've contributed and how close I am to my limit. I just hope, when Barack is elected President, he puts the people in charge of his campaign's accounting in charge of the GAO – we'll never lose a dime.

    October 5, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. CLS in VT

    They are really desparate now!

    October 5, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. go independents

    why do we focus on obama and mccain when theyre are 2 viable alternatives Bob Barr and Ralph Nader. Either of them would do far better for this country than republicans or democrats I know for a fact that ralph nader would not have bailed out wallstreet and let the economy work the way it should people dont seem to realize that republicans and demo democrats are bought out by lobbyist vote for someone outside of Washington Vote for the libertarian Bob Barr or Vote for the Independent Ralph Nader.

    October 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. Joe the Troll

    Obama would have to revolve his had five times and spit pea soup for me to be scared enough to vote for McCain.

    October 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. elvera

    What a bunch of dirty rats! McCain campaign and RNC continue to throw dirt, spout lies, misrepresentations, and smears. Shame on you, McCain and RNC! Joe Klein (Time magazine) wrote in his article ‘The Lying Game’: The McCain camp had decided that its candidate can’t win honorably, on the issues, so it had resorted to transparent and phony diversions. …Worse than lies have been the smears. …These dreadful weeks should not be forgotten. McCain has raised serious questions about whether he has the character to lead the nation. He has defaced his beloved military code of honor. He has run a dirty campaign.’ I support your opinion, Mr. Klein. I sincerely believe that McCain is the worst candidate for president in the US history.

    October 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. sarah

    I can sense the panic mood in John McCain's campaign. I almost can imagine there are sorts of ideas in that "staff meeting" about how to take Obama down. I am sure that we will see even more coming. This is to be expected. Although a month is a long time in politics, it is a very short time for ordinary folks to get the next bill. I don't think their attacks will work in this year.

    October 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. carol

    JohnMcCain is grasping a any little thing he can get now......he is just like a spoilt child who cannot have his way.
    We are really getting sick and tired of his constant complaints....if his poll numbers were better.....do you think we'd be hearing about every tiny thing that Barack Obama does???? I think not!!!!

    October 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. itstime

    mcbush is just mad cause he is losin and mcpallin is up the river without a igloo

    October 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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