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. joseph from Georgia

    I guess when you are drowning, you'll do anything you can to save yourself..Yes sir redy, you canna betcha yu snowtires on a that one na.
    Go McPitbull/McInsane all the way!!! Don't forgetta da Kitchen sink

    October 5, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. Emery

    So, they'd rather try and attack their opponent than, oh, I don't know....FOCUS ON WHAT THE COUNTRY NEEDS SO DESPERATELY!?! There are so many things wrong in this country that need to be fixed, and they'd rather waste time trying to find something wrong with their opponent instead of trying to find solutions to the problems we are now facing. Our economy is in dire straights, and it seems like McCain and his Barbie-doll running mate Palin don't care about issues.....

    OBAMA BIDEN 2008

    October 5, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. Pam Holt Los Angeles, CA

    Of course the world has an interest in who our president is. The rest of the world overwhelmingly wants Obama, and it is NOT for malicious reasons. The Repugs think everyone is as sinister as they are. Most human beings want to see World Peace and know we can't have another war president, or we're all screwed (it doesn't take a genius to understand our country is bankrupt because of the money we have to borrow for this illegal war).

    I understand if that is against the rules, and I am confident that Obama's campaign would definitely play by the rules. Lord knows we are going to have to deal with enough election tampering by the Republicans, as we have become used to these last two elections that Bush truly lost. I don't think Obama's campaign would knowingly give the Republicans ANY reason to cry foul.

    October 5, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Terry McMillan

    John McCain and Sarah Palin are digging deep, aren't they? It is so obvious that the two of them are jealous of the impact Barack Obama is having on the American public, and especially in the battleground states. They're both power-mongers who are more ingterested in winning at all and any costs than "putting the country first" - their boring and insincere mantra that is a blatant contradiction when looking at their relentless, dirty, and overtly unpatriotic tactics being employed almost hourly against Barack Obama. Sarah is some Christian. She needs to go back and read her Bible, and the Republican party needs to accept the reality that the American public isnt' as stupid or as gullible as they thought. They're losing and they can't stand it. But I believe race has a lot to do with their being sore losers. This country is moving forward as is evidenced by the pollls. The two of them are stuck in a time-warp, as most fundamentalists are. They're the ones who want to go backwards, so they should consider focusing on more dignified campaign strategies: like what policies they're trying to get us to buy into, but therein lies the problem. They're too busy trying to sling dirt on Barack Obama and I'm praying that the American public continues to see what hypocrites the two are based on their undignified methods of campaigning. And just like O.J. has finally realized, God don't like ugly. McCain and Sarah (you especially) are going to discover this the hard way.

    October 5, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. A Boston

    Wow. The republicans are this desperate. I think it should be law that tax returns for the last 10 years should be examined.

    OBAMA 08

    October 5, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. David

    Given the RNC's obvious desire to insure proper accountability of campaign donations it surprises me that they weren't more concerned about McCain violating his own legislation during the primaries by taking a loan while accepting public financing.

    It must have something to do with the polls or something.

    October 5, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. Ianni

    part of the RNC kitchen sink tactic and just another way to divert attention away from the real issues going on in the economy.
    Keep trying because no matter what you throw out there it wont stick anymore. The American people are just not that stupid.

    Let's see a published list of all the money Mr. Maverick has gotten from the Lobbiest and special interest since his campaign started. now THAT would be interesting!


    October 5, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Natasha in tally

    Let me guess terrorist donate to Obama. I am one of those small donater who has given multiple times and I will give more. The RNC and the McCain campaign are grabbing at straws and praying that something sticks. 450 million is a breathtaking amount of money, but goes to Obama's ability to speak to people and make them want to contribute.

    Obama 08

    October 5, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Brian

    Crying out loud, Republicans need to say, "ok, we made mistake, so you democrats do it this time".

    Go away McCain.

    October 5, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. Asian for Obama

    McCain campaign is very tricky, thats why he got his name McShame.
    I am asian, and I am glad to be part of this election eventhough I can't vote.
    USA is the world land, where all people around the world have been keeping their eyes to this election. And just like me, I believe they have hope...a big hope that USA will be back to the nation that can lead the world, be the leader of this world. And the president is where the engine will be directed.

    Europe for obama has proved that most people from Europe love Obama to be USA's next president.

    October 5, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. Walter, Long Beach

    Desperation leads to pathetic behavior like this. They can't even get a response prior to the election and they know it.

    The whole point is to make the accusation, not to have the truth of it revealed.

    The Republican Party is run by bottom-feeding scum.

    October 5, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. Cheryl

    My goodness when the going gets tough, the monsters really do come out of the closet. Give me a break. McCain's mistakes are catching up with him and now everyone on the other side has to pay. You people are disgusting. Instead of making up allegations about Mr. Obama why don't you see about purchasing Sarah some hearing aides. Obviously, she is having difficulties quoting others.

    October 5, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. Cindy Nelson

    The RNC will try anything, go to any means to try and bring Obama down. They are disgusting. They really sicken me, and it's making me filled with hate. They try and steal elections with Judges like Catherine Harris, they have their own media outlet called FOX News to push their talking points. It's so very disgusting to me.
    Now they want to investigate the Obama campaign for their huge success?
    Why dont they let the Troopergate investigation go on? Why do we have to wait until after November 4th for that to resume?
    The party as a whole should be ashamed of themselves.

    October 5, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. CSRealist

    Republican cowards. Grasping at issues that have nothing to do with this country's problems. It's cowardly, it's tired, and it's a clear indication of the desperation and the frustration experienced by this political party that has almost completely encapsulated this country in a variety of socio-economic, political, racial, and financial stresses. Either play nice, or take a nap.

    October 5, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. Skyeyesds

    This is getting old. McCain has stooped so low to do what ever it takes to get the Economics on the back burner. Take our attention away from it by stirring up more BS. I was for McCain, {no more} but this campaign has all but proven to me how deceptive he and his cronies are. Palin puts on the cutie,folkies,and OH YES, "The WINKS " to try to flirt her way to the VP spot. That is the ONLY way she can get where she wants to go.
    The women out here are very intelligent and has enough confidence to use their brains not there beauty contest portfolio.

    October 5, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. ac

    Fine. If they won't play nice we shouldn't either.

    Let's talk about the Keating Five scandal.

    Let's talk about Palin's annointment by a witch doctor.

    And let's even talk about (since they would obviously have no qualms about it)... McCain's ties to the Kosovo Liberation Army.

    Play nice McCain, and call back your attack dog (what is it we call a female pitbull?)!

    October 5, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Glenn; North Carolina

    These are the last desperate acts of desperate old cronies that are about to be booted out of office by the next generation of leaders. The sad thing about power is that when it is held for too long, it is all consuming. Look at the soulless individuals trying this tactic now!

    October 5, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. the dude

    Maverick? No, just desperate.

    October 5, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  19. S. Boatman Warrensburg, Mo.

    Ha Ha Ha! Just For Making Me Laugh With Your Accusations Im Going To Give Obama Another 50 Dollars! Look For My Name During Your Audit. . . You Will Find It Several Times!

    October 5, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. Scott

    Fine audit me. I have given over 200 dollars to the campaign. My name is Scott Roddy and I will stand up and say that I have given to the campaign because the failed policies of Bush/McCain have gotten us nowhere in the past 8 years. I will give you my address also if you wish. What I would like to see is someone audit McSame.

    October 5, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. Lex

    The Republicans are getting desparate if they're digging through the receipts.

    October 5, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. What a joke

    Here we go again with trying to grab anything you can get your hands on. Desperation seems to be in the midst, here

    October 5, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  23. Republican Woman For Obama

    THE RNC IS JUST JEALOUS AND MCCAIN IS RUNNING OUT OF MONEY! This is a transparent attempt at creating controversy where non exists! Low lifes!

    October 5, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. FL for Obama

    The Republicans will stop at nothing to try and win. They will try and tear down this man (Obama) with lies, inneuendo and untruths. I donated $75 to this campaign and I know tens of other people who donated what they could afford.

    The Rebuplicans just don't get it and can't do the math. If lots of people give small amounts you will end up with alot of money (ask the tele-evangelists) than a few people giving a large amount of money. They will be tapped out in a small amount of time as opposed to someone who continue to give until they get to the limit or no longer afford it.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the Republicans gave money to foreign nationals to donate to the campaign just so that they can try and setup the campaign.

    October 5, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. beatrix

    Obama is an opportunist and will say or do whatever it takes to be elected. The democrats and liberal media have not scrutinized, but rather abetted Obama in his dealings and actions as long as they lead to his winning the presidency. Nothing new here.

    October 5, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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