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. Mattie

    I did not donate any m oney to Obama campaign but I will defintely will be sending a donation. Palin/Mcain you have just conviced to make a donation. Your foolishness will defintely lead to Obama shattering more record for campiagn contributions.

    October 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Jeremy

    smells like desperation

    October 5, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Riama

    Senator John McCain and his campaign have succeeded in losing all credibility. His deliberate blunders, inconsistencies, lack of clarity and refusal to address the issues; and the apparent attempt of his running mate to dazzle the American people with wit, sarcasm and nervous energy and now this threat for an audit of the funds donated to Senator Obama is but another example of McCain's commitment to knee jerk tactics to gain attention. Enough already!

    October 5, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. chucky1169469

    wow...the McCain camp is trying everything under the sun to get to the whitehouse

    October 5, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. Marie-Gurnee, IL

    gee... desperate much?

    October 5, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. jimmy


    October 5, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. Linda, Chandler AZ

    It's not going to work this time RNC.... you might have the money and the power, but we've got the people.

    October 5, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  8. Winston

    RNC looking into fraud? you've got to be kidding me...No party is more slimy and under handed than the RNC. I hope this back fires on them as this reeks of desperation.

    October 5, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Jeff an Independent

    Oh, please. I guess this crap is what we can expect from the McCain campaign in this last month. Since he's losing on the issues, then throw us this kind of stuff and hope some sticks.

    October 5, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. Pat

    I wonder if McCain's Campaign can come up with a few more monkey wrenches to throw at Obama? I know they're trying to do everything they can think of to derail Obama's Campaign as he steadily pulls ahead in the polls! A waste of their valuable time as their tactics won't deter Obama in the least! Maybe they should concentrate on how to pull their poll numbers up instead of foolishly trying to pull Obama's Down! Seem to me their working their strategy backwards ie: from the top down ! Aren't they from the ground up builders?

    October 5, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. Bill Miller

    Drop the race card thing. It’s getting OLD. Obama has proven time and time again he clings onto bad people like the one who is just the guy from down the street. I am so sick of this crap. I for one am not going to vote for him because he is full of himself and he is thug like. Are you people out there so blinded that you can’t find the truth about this stuff? If not voting for your thug makes me a racist, then so be it. God help us all if Obama gets into the white house. Take a good hard look at what you are doing and pull your heads outs and shut off those stupid programs you are watching and do some real fact finding.
    Bill Miller

    October 5, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. M. Tobias

    Fine Investigate.

    Obvious Rovian strategy to define an unbelievable strength of 3 million small donors as a suspicious weakness.

    How about instead of the smears we talk about the ECONOMY, or are we too stupid?

    October 5, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  13. bibi

    The smear machine is in full swing trying to divert from the economic mess. The next thing is that they will send the hit man after Obama . Mc cain is devious.

    October 5, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. Barney

    Thank you Sarah !!!

    After 45 years of having to listen to a republican mother-in-law, she called last night and said she's not going to listen to any more lies from her party. Just in time, too. She's switching to DEM tomorrow – the last day to "register" (although she's only officially switching parties)!!

    Thank you Sarah!!!!

    October 5, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Michael

    More acts of desperation by the party that invented non-transparency and bending of rules. I guess I should half expect for the RNC Gestapo to show up and audit the $25 donations I've given the Obama campaign.

    October 5, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Kitty Renee - Cincinnati, Ohio

    The American People have spoken, during the primaries, and now during the Presidential election. Now, that the Republican's have admitted to themselves that the McSame/Palin ticket is going down, it is now time to pull all weapontry out the bag to try and take the Obama/Biden ticket down. It will NOT work!!!! The American people are smarter than the last 8 years of McBush/Palin. Don't you see, Senator Obama is not playing the attack dog game, he is a man of integrity and fights negativity with respect/dignity/integrity. The Republican Party might want to try that sometime!!!! McBush/Palin, STOP ALL THE NEGATIVE ATTACK DOG TACTICS, WE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE NOT BUYING IT!!!!!!

    Yes We Can, Change is possible through the Obama/Biden ticket!!!!!

    Obama/Biden "08"

    October 5, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. wow

    You know,

    I am an independent voter. I have followed this entire campaign through the primaries (both sides). I am not yet seeing anything from McCain that offers his "reform/maverick" labeling. (aside from the Palin pick...which was unwise at best).

    I want more from these guys. Give me substance!

    I am leaning heavily now towards Obama based on the fact I am seeing the McCain campaign now turn the argument into a "I'm just gonna bash the other guy so you dont vote for him"

    Give me some things you want to do to IMPROVE our country John. At least I am hearing something of substance from Obama....

    All this sort of nonsense might work for people who just can't be bothered to actually THINK for themeselves. For those of us who can, I can tell you we are sick of this kind of crap in a campaign.

    October 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Neal

    They can audit all they want. It is a huge waste of tax payer cash and, while it may turn up occasional irregularities, will not turn up unethical tends that would warrant such and audit.
    In short, Obama is getting his money from the people, with certainly some questionable stuff–a thing nearly impossible to avoid in such a large operation–but which will nevertheless proof to be inconsequential.

    RNC is getting desperate.
    The mud will REALLY start coming out pretty soon.

    October 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. joe

    obama is a koosamakshi.voter fraud,campaign finance fraud.........
    he will plunder the treaury

    October 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. Independent thinker

    I am so sick and tired of the McCain campaighn nonesences!
    All he wnts to talk about is Obama and I am on tthe break of losing my house.......READ MY LIPS, I DONT CARE WHO FUNDS HIS CAMPAIGHN AS LONG HE GETS OUT OF THIS MESS


    October 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. James, Ho. TX

    Excuse Me, But since when has the R.N.C. become auditors?
    Does this mean that the R.N.C. is going to Audit G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Sect. Paulson on the $700 Billion Bail Out Kick Backs?
    Does McCain and Palin pick up on the $700 Billion for good behavior?

    October 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. AnIndependent

    McCain is a pathetic, charicature of a candidate. Let him ask and Obama's campaign will provide the info. Obama has saved the American taxpayer $84 million by using private donations which are NOT tax deductible.

    October 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. Jatovi, NC

    This is ridicules. These guys will do anything not to loose. This is getting far beyond Rove tactics, I guess I'll call this McCain tactics.

    October 5, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. no more rnc

    sounds like sour grapes

    October 5, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. Jay

    The more I read the more I hate republicans. your candidate sucks thats why you aren't getting as much money. Bunch of whiners!

    October 5, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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