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. ON THE "A" TEAM

    Hey McCane-

    Wanna BET that this strategy won't work?

    October 5, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  2. Sue

    They will do anything to discredit Obama. What about the use of Cindy McCain's business jet for McCain to use. Isn't that a HUGE campaign contribution?

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

    They DONT need to audit this guy campaign contributions, what they should be auditing is themselves and all their rich money stealing lobbyist pals. Waht a BUNCH of HYPOCRITES!!!!!!!!!!

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  4. Sheila43302

    Oh, give me a break. Are they hoping this lastest gambit will throw the Obama campaign off its stride. I don't think so!!!

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. Tim

    Typical. First swiftboat tactics now this...how anyone could want these joker running our country any more is beyond me...anything to make Obama look like a criminal when their own party has two of the biggest crooks in the world in office.... (in case the unintelligent don't get who I'm talking about – Bush/Cheney)

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Gail

    It must be a hard pill for the RNC to swallow that they are losing the election. McCain/Palin can no longer focus on the issues because they do not have answers. Instead all they have to resort to are lies. The american people are not that dumb.

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Eve 4 Obama

    Here they go again... The repuglicans are doing virtually everything to win.

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. John in IN

    RNC's answer to everything is send in the lawyers – to block Troopergate, stop Americans from voting ... and now this.

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. CR

    More desperation. How pathetic.

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. Uche (Truly Independent)

    This is outright rubbish. I think the RNC should first of all audit itself before talking about others. The followership of the Obama Campaign movement is in the millions. IF everybody donated $25 every month, that gives him at least $25million a month. And this gives each donor 92 months to coomplete the required $2300 per donor. I think the Repugs are a bunch of dimwits or wise guys who wants to create a distraction in any way they can.
    You can't succeed again.

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. Angélino from Belgium

    Desperate acts from RNC
    It´s time the Republican Party stops doing childish acts and be mature and take responsability for their acts and behaviour and stay at the issues....

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. Dan, TX

    Go ahead and check. LOL.

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Cary from Michigan

    I wonder how much was donated by Al Qaeda and affiliates.

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. hope thompson

    I think the GOP is scared but we are not going to be terrified this time "NO NOT THIS TIME". they tried it the last 2 electyions and were successful.:

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. sharon

    they need to do a lot of investigating this phony thank god the rnc is stepping up

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Chris Columbus

    Desperation rears it's ugly head. Pathetic.

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  17. Darrell

    Anything to take away the real issues,that is the McCain BS Express.As long as they are doing this it might as well do both parties to be fair, in fact that would be the only way to be fair.The McCain has no answers for the economy,health care,and international relations so might as well see if Obama got a few hundred from a Canadian or something.Desperation really smells bad McPalin.

    October 5, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Arizonan for Obama

    I guess that the RNC is just jealous of Obama being able to appeal to average people while the Republican elitists only care about the wealthy.

    October 5, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. Alex

    You have got to be kidding. The Republicans will stop at nothing to maintian power. They will do and say anything, pretty lousy group of people. I can't stand them.

    October 5, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. judy

    It's about time someone is looking into the murky, & very dark things going on in the NOBAMA campaign. This guy has never been fully vetted, and the liberal media-especially CNN (not just nbc) is literally not just in the tank for this idiot, but over the top against anyone trying to come out against him. Enough is enough. If elected this guy would turn the USA into a very different place. Our freedoms are at stake, and life "as we know it" will change forever.

    His ideas and vision are socialist at best. He has much to hide, and I cannot beleive that he is just gliding through the process without much trouble.

    I am black, and I would NEVER VOTE FOR HIM. IF he were WHITE-he would NEVER BE ELECTED.


    October 5, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Pit Bull with Lipstick for Obama

    I am utterly disgusted with the way the GOP is behaving at such a crucial and serious time in this country and the world. They will be surprised to learn that all of this money came from US, the PEOPLE, and the GOP's false accusations and slanderous lies about Obama will be known, and the GOP will look like the fools that they are!!!! I know it's hard to believe because McCain could never get that much from the citizens. The GOP are once again, showing us what a bunch of immature children they are....Obama will win. Face it.

    October 5, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. Lois in CA

    The RNC and McVain are tapping every laundry-sniffing, bottom-feeding, dirty-dealing tactic in their mad rush to grab onto the power of the presidency as the current lame duck sinks into the pond of history. McVain and Palin, and lies they desparately spew in these last days exemplify why we need big change in the current political system. They both practice the art of the big lie, back-stabbing their way toward some kind of victory at any cost.

    October 5, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. may fl

    gops are jealous

    October 5, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  24. wyoming dem

    Tread lightly RNC...you open your doors to scrutiny as well.

    October 5, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  25. No McCain, No Way,No Palin!

    McCain/Palin are getting so desperate! They are trying any trick to try to stop Obama's lead. PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Try to put a plan together to save the economy and help the American people instead of resorting to cheap shots, lies and deceptive tactics. Americans are tired of your campaign strategies.

    October 5, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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