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. IndyCats

    I've never donated to a political campaign before – but I've made two donations to Obama/Biden already and may make another. True, they were small donations; I don't have much money and had to sacrifice some to make them.

    I made them because this country just can't bear four more years of the negative, war-mongering, lying, spiteful, and divisive politics that W perfected and McCain seems hell-bent on continuing.

    Since they are in bed with Wall Street and huge corporations (Hi, Halliburton!) the RNC just can't seem to believe that so many Americans would make donations to get this country back where it needs to be.So let the Rovites investigate MY donations – I'll give them an earful.


    October 5, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Mike, FL

    The McBush and RNC are getting a little too desperate!!!

    October 5, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. Patrick

    More desperate tactics from the desperate McCain campaign. Won't work.

    October 5, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. Judy in NC

    This is complete bull. What is the RNC basing this complaint on? A list of names that look suspect? I guess the racial fear tactics are starting in earnest now. This is exactly the type of dirty politics Obama is trying to do away with.

    I am a single donor who made small donations throughout Obama's campaign. They sent me an e-mail when I was about $200 from reaching the max contribution for the general election.

    What is McCain's plan to fix the economy????????

    October 5, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. James in NYC

    Petty, petty, petty can't win on the issues so they try to distract the attention elsewhere. By the way how is the Palin subpoena thing going?
    Do Call me because I donated twice and now let's go for three!

    Obama/Biden in 08!

    October 5, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. carol

    John and Sarah just hate to be behind and they will do anything to bring obama down but I ]hope the american people is smarter than to listen to this mess....... this just goes to show how far the will go to win even if it is wrong

    October 5, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. Weepy

    It's about time.

    October 5, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. Peter (CA)

    Wow, the RNC must be running out of ideas. Is this all they got?
    Hey guys, how about dealing with.... oh I don't know...... the issues??

    October 5, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. Republican Supporters in the Dark

    Bring it on Republicans. You may attack from the left, right or centre. We will be on the offensive & the defensive. We will not let up and come election day, you are not just going to lose, you are going to be VANQUISHED! And Senator McCain, keep it up – the mudslinging – and YOUR name will be synonymous with mud, and history will remember you that way. This is some way for you to choose to behave in the twilight of your life. You used to be respected, now you are just pathetic, I would feel sorry for you, except this is not an election for high school president. This is an election for the future of this country, and you Sir, are not fit to stand in the position of President of the USA.

    October 5, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  10. Ed

    Hear comes the smear campaign......The GOP can't win on the issues so their plan is swiftboat Obama.
    Let's not forget that the GOP has controlled the White House for 8 years most of which they've also controlled Congress. They have run this country into the ground and McCain's policies are no different.
    Obama/Biden 08

    October 5, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Dems Unite

    Desparation is so ugly.

    October 5, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. Wayne in CA

    lol..the rnc just can't believe so many people still have enough money left to send to Barack..

    October 5, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  13. Tired of Spin

    #1 – It was OBAMA who flip-flopped on campaign finance reform by initially offering to ONLY accept "public financing" if his opponent did. McCain did & Obama RENEGED.

    #2 – Gotta love that liberal spin where the guy said McCain returned contributions...AS IF that was a bad thing. When McCain's camp realized the funds were not appropriate, they were RETURNED. Unlike Obama, who just kept on collecting & spending.

    If people vote for this man, they get what they deserve – just like they did with "W". The ONLY CHANGE they will have is what is JINGLING IN THEIR pocket.

    October 5, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. Vote4Obama

    McCain just a dirty shooter that is Jealous of Obama Support.... He will do ANYTHING to win.... What a chump McCain is.....

    October 5, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. Vivian

    RNC....get a life.

    October 5, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  16. lucky

    The RNC committee needs to look into John McCain campaign manager with his lobbyist funds he received from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    October 5, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. Paula

    I have lost all respect for McCain and his Tweety Bird.

    October 5, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  18. Will

    How about an audit of both campaigns?

    October 5, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. Uninted. Centralist. Party

    My goodness........LOL........Is thier really no end ? It would appear that Mr Obama has ruffled so many feathers and his energetic campaign has caught so many GOP hounds off guards that now they must try to pull out all of the stops in order to try to slow his momentum......Well try if they will........But with Mccain allready coming out and saying that they're going to try thier darn toot'en'ist to mis-charecterize Obama from here to Nov........Then this will simply come across as simply another ploy by the scared right-wing..

    October 5, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. Just Me

    Let's investigate if Cindy McPain is still doing drugs and sharing it with Sara McPain.

    I don't give a good cahoot where Obama gets his money from. What about the ECONOMY, John McBush? What I want to know is when and if I'm going to get my money back for bailing out these companies John McBush have been supporting and refused to regulate.


    October 5, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. Enough is Enough! FLORIDA

    OK, what's next? I mean how low can we go and it's still considered okay? This campaign is lower than even Bush. They are making old Georgie boy look like an altar boy.

    They can't be serious? Typical RNC/Rove tactics. If they can't win it, they will steal it! I know the majority of Americans are not pleased with this man as a leader. But I also know that I am going to hear about many things being done in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and probably even Michigan to STEAL the vote!!

    May God have mercy on him and all those in it with him. No wonder she needed a witch doctor. SHE'S the one who needs to be rebuked! The spirit within her may just as well be what he was trying to pray out! She is a Jezebel without a doubt!! Have mercy on us all!

    October 5, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. C.W. New Orleans, Lousiana

    This is a pathetic attempt by the McCain-Palin campaign and the Republican party to hurt Obama's prosperity in this race, and it shows just how desperate the GOP is in this country. Republicans always want to be in control of everything, but they are clueless on hoe to properly lead. I hope this blows up in their faces, or the Obama campaign posts all of their contributions first to put them all to shame.

    Go Obama-Biden '08!

    October 5, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. JohnLee

    Hey RNC – I donated this year out of my own pocket. I didn't give a lot but I gave what I could. If I can audit all of your donors and books and all McCain's donors, than by all means, audit Obama. But this smells badly because it shows just how desperate you are getting. We don't need more of this in the US! I'm tired of it. That's why I switched from republican to democrat this year for the first time in my adult voting life! And in the past I voted for Bush Sr, Dole, Bush Jr = now take that and smoke it in whatever you all are smoking there!

    October 5, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  24. Linda B, Blackshear, Ga

    RNC, is it too much for you to think that Sen. Obama can get some many campaign contributions, from normal Americans, y'all are really running scared and stooping low to even think about auditing Sen. Obama's contributions. Go ahead and do it, I'm sure the DNC would LOVE to do the same for Sen. McCain.

    October 5, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Juan Grain

    And for this I will now donate more!

    October 5, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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