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. Elizabeth

    Come on, GOP. Put your resources into helping your guy instead of trying to tear down the other guy - especially if it's on random and likely improbable grounds. Get over it.

    OBAMA 08

    October 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. James

    These Republicans are disgusting. They know they can't win, so they will do anything to smear Obama. I wish all Republicans and their supporters would jump off a cliff. USA would be a much better place.

    October 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. Real American

    Desperation sets in thick. The G O P is going to lose it all this election. The Dems will run the entire country and it's about time.

    October 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Former Republican for OBAMA

    AND THE REPUBLICAN SCAM GOES ON !!!

    IF THE DEMOCRATS STAND FORE IT, WE WILL FOR

    CERTAIN AS A NATION REACH A POINT OF NO RETURN.

    October 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Mccain is a liar

    All they can do is attack the next guy because they have nothing to go on on their own merrit, it's sad and pathetic and the American people will not fall for it, your gonna be pulling out of more than Michigan soon enough, I can't wait to see the next pollings!

    October 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Sean

    Oh my...what sore losers! the McBush's camp is getting desperate.

    October 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. bill b. from Stratford,Ct

    These Mcsame guys just will try anything to win, now this shameless camp want to look into campaign contributers, give me a break. SHAMELESS CAMPAIGN NOT FIT TO LEAD OBAMA/BIDEN "08"

    October 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. cheryll from Kansas

    Are you totally serious!!?? We should be hearing what the McCain/Palin is going to do for America, you know the America that they seem to say they love and they are apart of and we hear nothing! Why is that? It is because it is the same as Bush and McCain can't talk about it because people will see it is the same as Bush, if he says something differently right now Obama will be all over it as once again, eratic and lies so he and the RNC have no choice but to go after Obama with things like this, and they wonder why they don't have other minorities joining the party. They are coming across of a nation of White Bigots and Iam WHITE AND ASHAMED!

    October 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. farhibide

    This is another instance of McCain scrambling to try and discredit his opponent, nothing more. They can see the presidency slipping through their fingers so they are making up ways to try to knock Obama out of the race. They don't think they can win outright so they're trying to pull a fast one on the American public, but they just don't seem to get that we can see right through this.

    October 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Sara Iyer

    The RNC is getting desperate!!!

    October 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  11. Alicia Cooper

    These people are grasping at straws. They will do everything and anything in this last month in order to win. McCain is so erratic, I won't be suprised if we have another attack between the Georgians and the Russians. McSame is an evil man. America beware of this.

    October 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. Jefrfo

    Well... I gues we be gettin too upitty for em.... Shoot, well just audit em! .... Whatever it takes eh John?

    October 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. ON THE "A" TEAM

    Desparate old MCane, and arh Short Skirt-

    I know John, pimpin' ain't easy. Don't ask for what you want,y ust might get it-

    AIP, KEATING 5, AIP KEATING 5, AIP, KEATING 5, AIP, KEATING 5...

    October 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Maggie from Virginia

    Bring it! Obama have the American people behind him. Nothing will stop this movement.

    One House
    One Car
    One Spouse

    One Nation!

    October 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. SD

    Johnny and co. will do try every DIVERSION tactic to bring down the Democrats. So much for talking about the ISSUES!

    Even if it were true..........gotta wonder why SO MANY PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE U.S. WANT OBAMA TO WIN......

    'CUZ McCain and Palin will DESTROY what's left of America!

    October 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  16. Eric Tom

    Congratulations......OBAMA/BIDEN. By stopping to focus on ISSUES bothering on our standard of living, the Republican party is showing that they lack the capability of the leading us through the economic mess we have found ourself under the eight years of REPUBLICAN PARTY rule.

    What a shame to Party that has lost touch with us.

    October 5, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Walt

    Anything but the issues. Now you are jealous of how much money he has received. Is it just me or does anyone else wonder why a "war hero" and his team whine like this?

    \Wake up America, time for a new day.

    October 5, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. Supporter seeking logic

    Lets keep grasping at straws...AFTER ALL, WE CAN'T BEAT THEM ON THE MAIN ISSUES THAT MATTER TO MAINSTREAM AMERICA!
    God help us all!

    October 5, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. Willa-Pa

    Desparate takes desparate measures...I am a normal everyday, average intellectual, blue collar, six pack type person and thinks Palin is laughable and is not ready to run this country. My next door neighbor could run if that's what it takes. Tina Fay did an excellent job again last Saturday portraying Palin for what she is...a not ready to be president type person...maybe president of the student council...and McCain lost it by choosing her. This country is not ready for change if McCain wins this and deserves what she gets.

    October 5, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. Nick - Arlington, VA

    The smear has begun....not this time....the RNC and McCain's arrogance isn't going to swift-boat another election to their candidate.

    OBAMA-BIDEN 2008

    October 5, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. Jefrfo

    .... Desperation is a stinky cologne

    October 5, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. leslie song

    Since the GOP has done nothing but destroy our economy, get us into an illegal war, ruin our environment, send our jobs over seas and make getting health care impossible for all Americans, they now want to cripple and smear the campaign of the one more than half the country has chosen – because they have nothing to offer but more of the same politics – politics that benefit the rich and the multi-national corporations that have sent our jobs to China. They call this putting 'country first'. I call it dirty, sleazy, filthy politics. The politics of losers.

    October 5, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. Joshua

    Wow....they are really scared aren't they?

    October 5, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  24. outsider

    If That's the case, please investigate McCain too. Republicans are breaking all the riles and laws.

    October 5, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  25. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    This is an anticipated situation as near as I can tell. When I contributed to the campaign earlier this year, I filled out a lot of paperwork including a copy of my driver's license. I contributed office supplies to the local Obama campaign and I had to estimate values, etc. I don't think there should be any problems, but if there are, then they should be addressed.

    October 5, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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