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. Clinton Supporter

    I guess if you can't win fair and square, this is a likely tool.

    Obama, of course, is no stranger to these tactics. When he saw he couldn't win a primary in Chicago, he went after petitions of others, most notably a very well known woman candidate who would have beat him in a minute. He simply ran her out of the race, and VOILA! He became the state senator, and here we are today.

    All these tactics are legal. Can't blame the Republicans for taking a page from Mr O's playbook, now, can we.

    We would have none of these problems with Hillary, of course, AND she would be 20 points up by now.

    But who's counting??????

    October 5, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Brooke

    Shouldn't thorough audits like this be done on all candidates and for all parties? I know the Obamabots will come on here and decry this move. If Obama has done nothing wrong he has nothing to worry about.

    October 5, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Lynda

    The McCain camp is really disgusting. This crap isn't going to work.
    Why wait until the last month to bring this up?? Maybe because the dirt slinging, bitter old fool is losing this election. IT'S THE ECONOMY STUPID!!!!!!!! But then McCain and co. are the reason we are in this mess. Mr. Deregulator can go to Alaska with his bimbo pitbull and we won't have to hear from them again. I'm a Republican voting for Obama.

    October 5, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. jennifer, Evergreen, CO

    Wow I guess McCain would rather win an election than retain the shred of dignity he has left.

    October 5, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. katiec

    Well, RNC, let's see a microscope of Mccains contributions.
    Outside of the public financing he has taken.
    We know you play every dirty trick in the book and find
    loopholes where there should be none and probably,
    because you are so use to dirty politicing, they will
    be hard to find, but they are there.
    Mccain above board. Hey, want to buy a bridge
    to nowhere?

    October 5, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. AP in Seattle

    Go ahead RNC and because you want to audit donations given by regular American's like me, $5 at a time, I am going to give more money. I will suggest others of you out there who have funded this campaign with your hard earned, scarce money please do the same and let's show the RNC where Obama's money is really coming from. Oh and while they are at it they better come clean with the American people where they are getting their money from!

    October 5, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. John

    Boy I tell you. We can't beat the guy on the issues,so we'll see where his money is coming from.

    October 5, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. Sarita

    Yeah, while they are at it , loook at all the donations coming from the sleazy McCain campaign. bunch of losers and whiners these republicans trying to destory the candidacy of a person who has a vision rathar than help the country in need. Repulicans are truly thugs.

    October 5, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. voter

    this is garbage when McCain broke finance laws during the primaries. In addition, there should be an audit of McCain campaign fundraising. Reports have shown that people are making large donations to the campaign. who are these people making large donations? the rnc have fewer donors than Obama, but they have more money. it does not make sense. come on dnc and file a counter audit on the rnc.

    October 5, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. venus

    The repubs are very desperate... they are just envious that they cannot beat Obama in fundraising..

    October 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. Dr. Molly

    distraction, distraction, smear and fear. they'll stop at nothing but I'm encouraged that Americans aren't buying the republican's twisted spin on facts.

    October 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. suzyku

    Let's target the McBlame and RNC camp donations, too! We all know they are crooks and liars!

    October 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. docrock,tx

    WOW!!! I wonder how many "terrorists" the RNC will dredge up?Of course we know that no Big Oil or financial entity would cheat.I mean just look at the propriety of Enron and many financial institutions that donate to the Repupettcan Party.The piousness just oozes from Cheney and company.In History,the truth will come out about the illegal activities of both parties during this Administration,and it won't be very pretty.God save our country.

    October 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. just bob

    Such desperation. It's actually quite sad. I'll save you the work, I donated twice to the Obama Campaign. It wasn't much, but that's because I don't have much left after 8 years of this tragic Bush regime and its inept handling of the country.

    October 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Peachy Keen

    Well, turnabout is fair play. DNC, let's have a look at McCain's books too. He continues to push for money on his website. Let's see where that money is really going.

    October 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Jeff Edelen

    .... Look what happens when we start to get uppity... They'll just audit us.... Whatever it takes 'eh John?

    October 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. simon

    Dirty tricks....What a shame....

    October 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |

    This means that if terrorist contributed to obama he is going to give the money back to the terrorist? Or obama going to say I will give the money to charities. And the media will be happy and wont talk about it any more.

    October 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  19. cwhite

    Has anyone asked Oboma what he did with the $126,000+ that Fannie Mae Freddie Mac gave him in 2005 when McCain was warning people about the housing problem. I guess CNN doesn't want anyone to know about that.

    From WorldNet Daily
    From 1989 to 2008, Dodd received $165,400 in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac campaign contributions, including contributions from PACs and individuals, followed by Obama, who received $126,349 in such contributions since being elected to the Senate in 2004.
    In contrast, McCain warned of the coming mortgage crisis as he pressed in 2005 for regulatory reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    October 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  20. banderson

    Misdirection, deception and propaganda, this is the Republican way. The McCain camp is clearly trying to use everything at their disposal to change the subject from the economy to something else. If I was the Obama campaign I would demand a audit of the McCain camp to see if they are following campaign finance laws since they seem to be still holding fundraisers for their party.

    October 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. gary

    mclames attempt to smear obama will back fire.No new ideas just smears

    October 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  22. Ann, MI

    Here. I will help those dim bulbs at the GOP. I gave the Obama campaign $50.00.

    Now you can go look for the other $539,999,950.

    October 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. Chris

    The only reason that the GOP is doing this is for bad publicity. Using completely false statements, the GOP is attempting to bring Obama to the ground instead of focusing on the issues. The last couple days have been especially bad. First Palin practically calls Obama a terrorist, something that I would not stand for if I were him, and now this. It is really quite pathetic how the leaders of the GOP and McCain camp have decided to run their campaign, show some dignity...

    October 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. Andrew

    I love the double standard of these Republican hacks...Palin doesn't have to respond to a supena, but Obama should submit to an audit? Every election cycle I wonder how far these punks are willing to go...I'm never dissabointed

    October 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. joemarsh

    Let the desperation begin for them! Obama 08

    October 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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