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. Stacy

    Jealousy by the RNC!! The republicans are truly pathetic!!

    October 5, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. mama4obama

    So...was this what the "secret emergency Florida GOP" meeting was about? Scumbags!

    October 5, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. kyra

    The Republican Party and John McCain will try to win, by any means necessary.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 5, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. California Voter

    Why would foreign nationals want to give to Obama's campaign??? Is that why he opted out of public financing?

    October 5, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  5. Reasonable Observer

    Reports about questionable donations to the Obama campaign have been around for months. It is about time this issue is brought to light by someone.

    This is not just about foreign contributions either. There are likely domesctic abuses, also. For example, Mr. Doodad Pro and and Mr. Good Will have contributed to the Obama campaign via the Internet. ($17,375 in the case of Mr. Good Will.)

    This is definetely an example of a different kind of politics and change, isn't it? Looks like Obama will do whatever he has to do to win. His character and ethics are starting to shine through. Will the enthralled Obama supporters wake up before it is too late?

    October 5, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. JonJon

    It seems to me that the McCain/Palin campaign are so desperate at this point, they now serve their campaign with a lack of integrity and false attacks. Too bad, so sad – Losers!

    October 5, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Jess in Ohio

    Distraction, distraction, distraction – that is all McCain can do now. I think I'm detecting some jealousy from the Repugs on Obama's ability to fundraise. After reading this article, I'm off to donate more to the Obama camp!

    October 5, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Carmen Brown

    Crying, whining, poor baby sportsmanship from he RNC. Definitely the pot calling the kettle black.

    October 5, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. tisbadman3

    I smell desperation on the part of the repubs and it smells really bad. Reminds me of a drowning person. They'll try to grab anything to stay afloat...

    October 5, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. therealmarie

    These Repugs will stop at nothing to win. Disgusting people. Join NEAR (Never Elect ANY Republican).

    October 5, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Obamus is Violating Campaign Finance Law

    Barack Hussein is in violation of campaign finance law-let's put him in the pokie with his buddy OJ-two of a kind.

    October 5, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Dennis in IA

    Spare me!! If anyone should get audited it should be the repubs and McSame! They are the ones that have skirted the finance laws this year by moving loans! I am proud to have give the Obama-Biden campaign $100 of my hard earnd money! They are stooping to the low road, something by the way that John Boy siad that he would not do! Obama-Biden will win with decency and honesty!

    October 5, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. Edge of cliff

    Obama For Radical Change

    October 5, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. CG

    The Dems should pull a similar move on the RNC and the McCain Campaign just to keep them honest. This is just another desperate, flailing "Hail Mary" move to distract and tear down Obama. Their guy is out of juice, their VP candidate is interesting but dumb and dangereous, and they have no new solutions for the Country.

    October 5, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. Novita

    another desperate step from RNC......

    October 5, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Puerto Ricans for Obama


    Republicans need to stop their BSing and focus discussing the issues that the American people are facing.

    October 5, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. James From Chicago

    The republicians are going to try and pull evry stunt they can, but
    the bottom line is Obama is going to win. We are sick of the lies and negative campign McCain is running. You've got the stepford wife
    for VP and the Top of the ticket with one foot in the grave.And they wonder
    why they are loosing.

    October 5, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Republican Women for Obama

    Now Republicans want the government to engage in some form of regulatory overisght. It's a little late for that.

    October 5, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. lil

    Just another way for the RNC to attack Obama. Even if it false they will
    make the voters think that its true.

    October 5, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. mevans05

    if you gave money to obama, you best be prepared to triple-check that you're not cleared off the voting list. the mccain camp is in desperation mode and are scrapping and clawing for votes and supressing votes at every turn. CONFIRM before the deadline to register in your home state!

    October 5, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  21. typicalman84

    Wow!!! the mcCain campaign is getting jealous now. So if an immigrant who is not a US citizen or a permanent resident but is Legal in the U.S donates to the obama campaign via his campaign website, how in the heck would he know the person is not a citizen or perm resident???

    A bunch of Fools.

    October 5, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  22. D&D

    McCain and the RNC are really trying harder to find a way to discredit Obama and his compaign. I hope America will see through this!

    October 5, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Sheri

    RNC desperate and will do anything. They are losing BIG TIME. OBAMA CAMPAIGN train is moving on shifting into high gear.

    October 5, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. sarah

    my my my... the RNC is scrambling around with the scent of defeat filling their nostrils... mmm inhalle... ahhhhh exhale....

    October 5, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. CL in SD

    Boy McBush is getting desperate.

    October 5, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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