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. Diane

    what else is the mccain camp and republican party drumming up? if it's not one thing is's somerhing else. mccain has run a lousy campaign from the start, and now that he seems to be losing he wants to start trouble. obama has run a stellar campaign compared to mccain's. mccain is nothing more than a lier, flip flopper, cocky, and nasty individual. he may have been popular years ago, but with age he has turned ugly, ugly, ugly. I have no respect for him, and why people would even vote for the man is beyond me. palen is just a puppet, and in her mind SHE thinks she's running for president. did anyone notice in the debate with biden, that she made the comment something about "when she get's her cabinet together" I am surprised the media never picked up on that.

    October 5, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. P

    McCain and his wingnut possé seem perturbed by the fact that Obama has outraised them, will continue to outraise them in the months to come, and is outspending them 5-1, so, naturally, they're going to try to bring the legitimacy of Obama's historic fundraising efforts into question... How unbelievably low can they sink? How far off course can the Straight Talk Express possibly veer? It's like a game of darts... Just keep on lobbing as many as you can until something sticks. It's reprehensible. And it's pathetic. The FEC should instead be investigating McCain's continued skirting of campaign finance law and his campaign's attempts to game the system by funneling donations through the compliance fund...

    This man does not have the temperament to be president. Nor does he have the honor to lose with dignity.

    October 5, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. JayInNewHampshire

    Look the redumblicans will do whatever is neccessary to not focus on issues. If funds were found to be against policy the Obama campaign has in fact returned those funds while McCain is using our tax dollars and not offering any solutions to fix our problems or address our issues, Obama is not using our tax dollars McCain is jealous that he does'nt have the resources to compete well BOO HOO get over it. This is just another sad example that John McCain is out of touch. Well shame on you we the people are not stupid and we see right through the lies.

    October 5, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. Diane, NY

    As a Republican myself, I think this is just another GOP stunt. I would love it if my soon to be ex party would spend as much time investigating their own voter fraud, intimidation, and purging actions.

    They just can't accept that people like me make multiple donations of about $20-$30 at a time when finances allow it. And that it's people like me funding his campaign.

    The GOP can thank big oil and lobbyists and slander groups for most of their money.

    DESPERATE aren't they.

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

    Wow talk about wasting your time on nonsense RNC this election is more stupid than the last election. Jelous that Mccain cannot get the same money. They should look at themselves in the mirror for why people don't donate as much to the Mccain campaign instead of blaming Obama like they always do.

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

    Funny how CNN has suddenly becomes anti Obam, they print this accusation before any proof emerges as to whether these allegations are true. Even if a handful of people out of 1+ million donors did not fill out their forms the maximum they could have donated over 19 months is 4,000 dollars. Obama has received 450,000,000. He is not beholden to any of them. If CNN is so certain of these allegations give me names and amounts. All of this information is available online. Yes 100% transparant.

    Shame on GOP for these allegations when McCain has some questionable bundling donations himself. GOP 527 are becoming 501 for Tax Exempt Status? and so they don't need transparancy by saying who are supporting these hate ads.

    Finall Shame on CNN for pushing this smut!

    October 5, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Kate Fergus

    Another RNC and McCain ploy to take the country's eye off the real issue which is the economy. Diverting the attention from a subject you know nothing about has been a McCain and Palin campaign cornerstone.

    McCain doesn't have the funds that Obama has so of course he is going to use dirty tactics at this stage. His back is against the wall. You can really see a man's true character as he reacts to adversity. Well, McCain's character is shameless and lacks the integrity needed for a president.

    If the public falls for this swift boating, the country deserves to go down in flames which it surely will under a McCain presidency which will follow the same corrupt and greedy policies as the Bush administration these past 8 years.

    There is no choice here – it has to be Obama and Biden if the country wants to turn around the worst economy since the great depression.

    October 5, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. Anna PA

    So this is how John McCain is going to waste time in the next four weeks. This man and his whole campaign couldn't be more sleazy and low.

    They obviously don't have any real idea's or answers for us so they are going to try and distract people. I want to know why palin and her dood won't answer their supeona's! If we have to focus on things that are not going to help the American people they focus on troopergate.

    Even better lets focus on McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davies and the money he has been pay up till a month ago by Fannie Mae.
    How about forcusing on McCain's connection to The Keating Five. There where only five people connected to that and McCain was one of them. Why don't we focus on McCain's cover-up of the missing MIA's POW's left in Vietnam. There are plenty of things to focus on .

    I would rather listen to Barack Obama talk about the very deep trouble we are in with the economy.

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

    The republicans will go to any level to redirect the attention of the american voter. What a shame.

    And to think, the world stage is subjected to the lies and venom coming out of sarah's dirty mouth.

    We need a truthful and honored man as our President. God bless American.

    Obama and Biden in '08.

    October 5, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Arlene Hayles

    It is sad that the RNC doing another tactical distraction. Why the need for the Audit? What will be gain from such a tactic? I pray that nothing will come of (RNC) your investigation of Obama Campaign. The FEC will reject your whinning. RNC why don't you instruct your candiate JMcCain... to win with fairness.

    Obama I am praying for you...Jaws of the enemy has been open.

    God be with through the month of October and first week in Nov.

    You will win with 303..victory is yours.

    October 5, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Cathy

    This alone will make me donate more money to Obama's campaign. I'm am so sick of the McCain/Palin and republican party trying to take the focus off of REAL ISSUES OF OUR COUNTRY.

    I love how the republicans can ignore subpoenas; constantly lie about Obama's plan, constantly lie about McCain and Palin's own positions...and the minute Obama starts pulling away in the polls the republicans will throw in the kitchen sink.

    McCain/Palin/Schmitt/Rove/Hannity/O'Reilly and all the republican party has made a mockery of the U.S. political system and we are the laughing stock of the world because of them!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. rich

    Dirty Republicans. They know they are heading for a good thumping withinin the next 29 days. And what do they do? Try to create controversy where none exist to distract voters from the inevevitable. But let me be the first to inform them: ITS NOT GOING TO WORK. IT's THE ECONOMY STUPID! And when Americans look into their purses and wallets, and open take a view of their 401 K, they are going to vote for Obama, vote for Democrats down the line, and take out their anger on anyone who has caused them to be in postion that they are in. So stop whining Republicans. Take your licks like men and women, and accept your pending defeat.

    October 5, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. Diana Ewing NJ

    I am not surprised at this..... I have volunteered for his campaign... and orders are each time.... if people had you a dollar have them fill out the forms.... guess Obama knew... when McCain could not talk about issues... he would search for problems.. he could make...

    Hope they look into how Palin and Hubby are worth 2.1 million being a mayor of a very small town and then Gov. for 2 years.. I mean we are talking about someone that took 6 trys before she finished college.

    October 5, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. ex-republican Latino

    Republicans can't win on a leveled field, so they must create distractions were there ain't any. How much lower and pathetic will the Republicans go this time??? Time to donate more money!!!

    October 5, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. Richard

    Oh yeah you know how McCain and Palin are still doing Fund Raisers! Why are they still doing Fund Raisers if they are under Public Financing?

    October 5, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. SF, Carrollton

    They (desperate Repubs) weren't kidding when they said they were going to resort to the kitchen sink strategy during the last days of the election race.

    They should learn from Hillary Clinton's campaign, it didn't work for her and it won't work for them.

    October 5, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. Sara

    Wow... the GOP sinking to new levels of desperate.

    October 5, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. Randy

    Wow.....can you say grasping at straws !....I think I'll go donate SOME more money to the Obama/Biden campaign.....AND call my friends to do so as well

    October 5, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. Perusing-through


    When they can't beat Obama-Biden on the issues, they go for the Obama-Biden purse strings.

    This will be interesting. If Republicans get FEC to start audit 'before' November 4th election, while Republicans continue the Trooper-Gate "stall, squash & delay" tactics until 'after' November 4th; then it is more evidence that "COUNTRY FIRST" is just lie, and Republican agenda "slash & burn and win at any cost".

    GOD Bless America!
    GOD Bless the Obama-Biden Leadership!

    October 5, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. Disgusted in NC

    Leave it to the Republicans to do whatever they can to derail what is a total and complete loss for their side. Each of you is a scab on the face of the country.

    October 5, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. Joe Ossai

    wow the Republican machine is now running on empty.

    October 5, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. Fed up in Maryland

    I am so sick of the Republicans trying to use desperate attacks against Senator Obama. Let's just stick to the issues. Is your campaign so desperate that you have to use unjustified, ignorant, untrue tactics that tie this senator to terrorists. Lets talk about the racist actions that McCain took against those black soldiers that served with him. Let's find these veterans and view their comments on national television for all to hear. Let's talk about the racist comment that McCain spoke about during his 2000 compaign when he referred to asians with a racist slur.

    I am actually an independent who am so turned off with the republicans that I made my decision to vote for Sen. Obama. He at least sticks to the issues and has an actual "plan" to deal with the issues that this country is facing. I made it my personal mission to speak to every independent or person who is on the fence. I already recruited 30 people to vote for Sen. Obama and will convince many more by election day.

    Ruplicans....put up or shut up! Stop the smear tactics and stick to the issues. You are really turning many many people off!

    October 5, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. christi

    The economy is tanking – the McCain campaign is going to try to DO ANYTHING to change the subject. GOP opresses and subverts American's rights to vote – and then they accuse Obama of not playing by the rules?? Give me a break – the GOP & McCain are liars.

    October 5, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  24. S. Boatman Warrensburg, Mo.

    People Put Their Money Behind Their Candidate . . . More People Like Obama So They Donate More! This Is A Sign Mccain Is Running Out Of Money!

    October 5, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. Patty, CA

    Wow, when the repubs said they were willing to make the last days of the campaign negative, they meant it!!

    McCain's people know there's nothing wrong with the money many of us out here in voter-land have donated to Obama in our desire to change the way this country is run, but they figure if they can plant the seed of doubt in the minds of those yet undecided voters by putting the lie out there it's worth it.

    After what was done to McCain in the 2000 primary by Bush and Rove, you would think that McCain would not be willing to do the same to another. The fact that he is speaks to character.....he is not ethical, has no good character and is willing to crawl into bed with the devil in order to get what he wants....boy, that's the definition of "Maverick" if I ever heard it!!

    October 5, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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