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. tuff Col. Oh

    ATTTACK AND DISTRACT, the rebublicans have no other recourse, but to try and DISTRACT FROM THE REAL ISSUES THAT WE TAXPAYERS are dealing with, these tactics worked in the past but NOT THIS TIME, when will john mcsane stop campaigning in OHIO because AS AN OHIOAN i'm sick of him and his nitwit sidekick and their lies, ENOUGH is ENOUGH

    October 5, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. 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 how 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 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. Ruby

    McMoney strikes again! If at first you don't succeed, lie, lie again! Heh?


    October 5, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. Cheri

    I guess these kind of low-balling accusations and such should be expected until Election Day. McCain and the Republicans will stop at nothing and do anything to try to get into/hold on to the White House. They just cannot accept that Americans are so hungry for change that they have flocked to Obama's banner and will be boosting him to the White House.

    I am an independent and was not leaning toward either one until just recently. All these shenanigans that McCain/Palin are pulling are shameful and they have lost all sense of integrity. There is no way I would vote for someone who will do **anything** to get elected.

    October 5, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. some guy in New Hampshire

    The RNC and McCain's campaign stink of desperation. Is this really the "civilized campaign of ideas" that McCain promised us? He said he'd rather lose an election if it meant winning a war. Apparently, he'd rather lose his integrity and destroy his reputation if it means winning an election. I have to think that, down deep, McCain is at least a little bit ashamed of the campaign he's run. How will he govern if he loses the respect of the electorate in the process of winning the White House? McCain's hypocrisy, as well as his campaign of distraction and outright lies (let's call them what they are) should not be rewarded with anyone's vote.

    October 5, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. Dix Handley

    No doubt there is shady money coming from Islamic groups. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    October 5, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. KJL

    The McCain campaign is desperate. They are trying to get headlines accusing the Democrats of all kinds of illegalities, knowing most people don't bother to look further. Let's show them we're too smart for that kind of subterfuge.

    October 5, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Xavier

    Cant beat Obama in the polls? Cant beat Obama on the issues? Cant beat Obama in fundraising? Now the elitist, self rightious and judgmental republicans want to try and slow Obama's momentum by trying to hurt him financially. Republicans are quickly becoming the living embodiment of the so called evil that McCain is always talking about. Cant wait to see them get their butts handed to them in November.

    October 5, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. Independent for Obama

    I smell the GOPs attempt at an Oct. surprise. They are so desperate, they would do anything to win. I wouldn't put it past them to try to set Obama up.....pathetic.The American people will not fall for the Rovain tactics of the GOP this time!!!!!

    October 5, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. James

    I think we're going to see the dirtiest campaign ever, brought to you by McCain and his thugs in the next month. You watch.

    October 5, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. R T G

    Can these pukes be any more ridiculous? I doubt it, i'm looking for this supposed October suprise. . .

    Obama will win by a landslide and change the electoral map to benefit dems.

    1 month left.

    October 5, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. Mike

    The McCain campaign is devoid of any real content on the issues. This kind of stuff is all they've got. Prepare for desperation politics from the Republicans over the next month.

    October 5, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. Pravin

    Looks like McCain cannot fight in this election without sticking to the issues.

    Sacramento, CA

    October 5, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. Melissa

    Here we go...yet another smoke screen by the RNC and the McCain campaign. If they would just put half of the energy they use to bring Obama down and use it to add substance to their own ideas/plans they may not be dropping so quickly in the polls. The Republicans are just upset because Obama can raise more $$$ than McCain and McCain had no choice but to take the public financing. They try to make it into a huge deal that Obama once thought the best route should be public financing and he changed his mind....I don't blame him for changing his mind......it shows that he is smart and knew which route would work best for furthering his campaign.....his smart decision making and judgement seems to be working for him thus far.....I tend to think it will work for America, too.


    October 5, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  15. Aoife

    Wow. They are really scraping the bottom of the barrel now.

    October 5, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. Arlene

    When the econamy is so bad just how is obamo raising all these millions?....just goes to show you that the econamy isnt as bad as obamo says it is.....or is it why he made a campaign stop over seas...I'm wondering now

    October 5, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  17. Northern Light

    What's next, how about DNA and a urine sample to see if Obama really is a true blue American and doesn't accept funds from foreign nationals!!!! All the while the US economy is going down the toilet and McCain/Palin just want to play games. True signs of a desperate GOP!!!

    October 5, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. Republican

    The Swift Boat stage has commenced.

    Is the US the home of the brave or the home of the fearful? If it succumbs to swift boat attacks designed to play on the fears of people, are the American people still 'the brave'?

    Even if Obama wins, I suspect the swift boat tactics will be a permanent part of US politics. An Obama presidency will probably have more (verbal) aggression on its hands from its own swift boat people than from any foreign country.

    Karl Rove, you might have not held office, but you have probably made a name for yourself like Rasputin did.

    US Citizens: remember that you can only be the home of the free if you are the land of the brave and that confronting your fears instead of blindly following them is the only way to be brave.

    October 5, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  19. nancy

    Well, if you can't beat 'em, try to derail them.

    Now what would John McCain's audit show>?

    October 5, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Molly

    Just when you think the Republicans can't get more desperate they find a lower road!

    October 5, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. Diane

    First of all I would like to express my sorrow on Sen. Bidens Mother-in-laws death! I would also like to express how pitiful and desperate the Republicans are at this time! Deperate measures will bite you in the butt everytime! Palins smear of words was definnitly racist and out of touch! I read where there is a petition asking for an apology from Palin for her statement due to the effect it will have on his two daughters. Lies along with smears will get you no where in life! Gov. Palin forgets what she has going on in her life and so does Sen. McCain. I am sadden for the both of them. If Palin was a Christian, God would have worked on her concience of the smear attack! The Devil (or is it witch craft for her?) is busy in her life!

    October 5, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. laurie

    Excuse me.....the Obama campaign returns any monies donated over the allowable amount! Anything to change the tide for the McCain campaign. I hope Obama's lawyers challenge where McCain is getting his funding by circumventing the public funding laws that exist.

    McCain's campaign is the sickest and lowest I have ever witnessed in the 40 plus years I have been voting. The GOP is not the party it once was. It's a sad day when an elected Senator chooses to get down in the mud and slap unwarranted charges against his opponent. Disgusting! Absolutely disgusting!! I hope not a single person from this day on ever tells me McCain is a man of honor........he has sold his soul to the devil.

    October 5, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Gary Preston, Annandale, VA

    I don't have a problem with audits. But do both campaigns, and their PACs, Swiftboat 527s, RNC and DNC, etc. I've given to Sen Obama's campaign several times this election season and I'm a native American, military retired vet, white, over 50, whose spouse works for the Army and has two sons in iraq. Audit me you SOB'S. I was a lifelong Republican and today it sickens me to see what the once great party has disintegrated to!

    October 5, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Mom in AZ

    McCain and Co. are looking for anything they can to draw attention away from the fact that their campaign is losing ground to Obama. First untrue personal attacks, now this – they are spinning like the Tazmainian devil – not sure what to do next. As an Arizonan and a former Republican I am unimpressed and disgusted.

    October 5, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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