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. Dana from NY

    Distraction-Smear-Distraction-Smear... how about we work on getting the IRS exemptions taken away from the churches who broke tax laws by coordinating with the McCain campain and preaching politics in church??

    This is such garbage and they know it- why is it so hard to believe that there are that many Americans that want change so bad they would contribute an extra 10 bucks from there already tight budget to help the cause? I can attest that it is possible- myself as well as my family have done so.

    The RNC are nothing but hateful spiteful politicians and I can not wait to take back our White House and our Country!!

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 5, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. Danielle

    Desperation. Next tactic?

    October 5, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. Jeffer65

    So McCain can't beat Obama on the real issues, he gets the RNC to do this. I hope they don't find any wrong doing on Obama's part. Is this the "October surprise"?

    October 5, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. Ken from Michigan

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. Keating!, Keating!, Keating! Where's the mention of Keating in the blame game? Huh?

    October 5, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. J in TX

    More desperation tactics from a group of thugs...

    October 5, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. Greg, Atlanta

    I guess it is so unbelievable to the RNC that so many individuals believe in Sen. Obama's campaign. They can't believe that individuals like myself would want to donate to a political campaign because their constituents don't believe in the Republican ticket enough to open up their wallets.

    Shall we call this another facet of the smoke screen away from the issues?

    October 5, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  7. wow

    It's so pathetic how the RNC is getting so desperate. I really do hope they get their wish and the audit is done, just to prove them wrong. I am confident that Obama's campaign has been honest with its fundraising methods and this will be just one more nail in McCain's campaign coffin. Everytime the McCain campaign tries to pull one of these stunts, they are proven wrong, and Obama's lead in the polls rise. Keep doing what you're doing McCain! You're only hurting yourself..*wink* 😉

    October 5, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. midwestgal_85 from STL, MO

    The McCain/Palin campaign and the Repubs' , in general, are scared to death of this wonderful, smart, cool, calm and collected Harvard educated Black man who is out campaigning, fundraising, spending, and had the goal and is within site to become the first African-American to ever be the President of the United States.

    WE knew that they were going to do everything in their power to stop this from happening. The person that understood this the most was Barack Obama.

    If they think that all of his money ties and donations havent been checked and accounted for as being legit, then they are really showing just how GOSH DARN stupid they are.

    Maybe they need to put down the 6-PACKS........

    October 5, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Nan

    Keep reaching for any straw to win this election

    October 5, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. mccain's affirmative action pick

    the rnc is pulling out all the stops. seems like they will do any and everything to try to change the trajectory of this race. they should try jettisoning palin and maybe that will re-energize the party.

    October 5, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. Hip Hop Producers for Obama/Biden

    McCain and Palin are two sorry punk A#@es that think they can drum up more distractions. McCain your dirty A#@ will be out of politics before you know it. can't wait until it's revealed who donated to YOUR campaign!

    October 5, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  12. Minnesotan for Dems

    And so it contiunues.. The Mccain party is reaching for the bottom of the abyss, to find something on the Obama camp... Good luck with that... lol Obama/Biden will win by a landslide regardless what the Repugs try to do... 8 Years of Republican leadership has totally destroyed this country, and lowered it's status as a superpower.. If they are given another 4 years in the White House, this great country will cease to exist... We CANNOT let that happen....

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 5, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  13. Amanda

    More of McSame trying to distract from the facts. Such as, he has no plan and is losing hope. I'm sure if any mistakes have been made the money would be returned. How about doing a little audit of his own. I really think hes just mad he hasn't raised as much money.

    October 5, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  14. thomas harding


    October 5, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. No Bush 3rd Term

    No Way! No How! We are claiming executive previlege.

    October 5, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. The high road


    HOW SCARED WILL THEY RUN????????????????????????

    October 5, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. Maddie, Hartford, Ct.

    The ugly war that the low life Republicans have been running could not turn any filthier. I suppose that's what happens when you have a tempermental puppet and an airhead running for office.

    October 5, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Jammie

    I am starting to think senator McCain has a thing for Obama because all he wants to take about is him!! .........
    I dont care who funds his campaighn for all a care it could be saint himself!!!


    October 5, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. David Goldman for OBAMA


    October 5, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. Mike O'Brien

    I have "never" seen a political party (Republican Party).., so afraid of losing. Mike in Montana

    October 5, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. Gloria

    McCain & tne RNC are jealous because they can't raise anywhere near the amounts of money that Obama has.

    It's time to step up the investigation into Troopergate & remember the Keating 5!!!

    October 5, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. Karl Clark

    What a chicken-crap. McCain does't get it. He refuses to come to reality. His bitterness is growing exponentially. Shameful. Well, as long as he knows that some of his underhandedness may turn back on him...and rightly so.

    October 5, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. SF, Carrollton

    Sound like some major hating going on!

    October 5, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  24. hometowndemocrat

    Anyone who pays attention knows that the Dems like CNN while the Reps favor Foxnews. Out of curiosity I just went to Foxnews.com and read the comments on some of the news stories....interestingly enough about 2/3 of the comments were pro Obama.........looks like even the Republicans are starting to wise up a little! Thank Goodness!!!!!

    Obama 08

    October 5, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. Anthony

    Desperate... but not serious

    That old song is indicative of the GOPs tactics. It is pathetic.

    October 5, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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