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. repeated donor

    I am surprised that the RNC has not learned that many donors like me will make a donation to Obama campaign whenever the RNC tells a lie or make an unjust accusation. The RNC is partially responsible... To prove that I am right, just watch the next largest spike in Obama's fund-raising stimulated by the RNC's request to audit all contributions to Obama campaign.

    October 5, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Obama08

    Oh give me a break. The Republicans are getting desperate seeing that they have run out of talking points. The best they can do is blame and accuse in the last month of the election because they don't have a plan to fix the economy. How pathetic!
    Why don't you talk to the 7 lobbyists in charge of the McCain campaign, Republicans? Or how about Rick Davis, who was paid over $30,000 a month for five years from Fannie Mae? Please.
    Clearly, the Republicans have run out of excuses for the mess they helped to create. I have had enough!
    Obama-Biden '08!

    October 5, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. 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!!!

    P.S. If RNC wants to look at Obama's donations IT'S ONLY FAIR for DNC to look at McCain's donations.

    October 5, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. jwn in south carolina

    The McCain camp has the odor of desparation.

    October 5, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. Elijah

    These desperate attacks are hitting an all time low. I guess he hasn't read the statistics on how the independent voters (he so desperately seeks) don't respond well to these sleazy methods. The reputation Senator McCain has built as an American hero over the last 35 years have totally evaporated in these last few months. His legacy will now be one of a disgruntled, crooked old politician. Congratulations Senator.

    October 5, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. deo Uvetie

    RNC knows they are going to loose this election no wonder they are ready to do anything to win from character to investigation. but the truth is RNC and McCain, Obama will win


    October 5, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. Lyndon

    When you have nothing to run on and no ideas for the people suffering in this nation, this is the sort of despicable political farce that you have to resort to.

    The GOP is pathetic and sad.

    October 5, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Sharon

    This shows how desperate the GOP has become, this issue was not raised until McCain began a downward spiral in his campaign. Sour grapes, and poor losers–McCain and Palin.

    October 5, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. Greg

    I live in Mississippi one of the redest states there is and I see no McCain/Palin signs anywhere, you know why? Because they are ashame of the ticket. I see Obama signs everywhere. They will vote for them but they don't want anyone to know that they are supporting them.

    October 5, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. S. Boatman Warrensburg, Mo.

    Not Only Am I Going To Donate More Money To Obama . . . Im Going To Give Him My Vote!

    October 5, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. Michael M

    So, When your policies won't get you votes go the negitive route and try and scare off voters. This is why nothing gets done in Washington. Do they really think that Obama knowningly talks with domestic terrorists? Why don't we come up with a rule that makes the candidates talk only about their record, their plans, or their parties platform?? Oh yeah, that probably won't go well for McCain or the Republicans.

    Michael M.
    Columbia, SC
    An undecided voter that before the last couple of days was leaning McCain. Before he, Palin, and the RNC started this negitive garbage.

    October 5, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. Kathy from MD

    this is all they got left...

    October 5, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. mike


    October 5, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  14. Montana is Obama Country

    The RNC is a corrupt group of elitists trying to make it hard for Barack to become president.

    The RNC is going to lose the election with a lousy erractic ticket of McCain & Palin and the RMNC is DESPARATE..!

    The RNC is trying to paint Barack as a risk and IT WON'T WORK..!!

    Barack has the judgment & temparment to lead the United States of America..

    I think I'll make another contribution to Barack's campaign.. everytime the RNC or McCain does a rac.i.s.t...b.i.g.o.t.e.d. or div.i.s.i.ve. play against America I donate...!!

    Obama/Biden... 2008, 2012

    October 5, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Terry from GA

    The fund-raising prowess of the Obama campaign HAS ALWAYS BEEN under a microscope, so that's nothing new. I find it very interesting that the republicans never asked for this audit, when McCain's poll numbers were higher. I hope they realize the Obama campaign and the DNC are also going to ask for the same type of audit for the McCain campaign. I think the bigger question is, how will this audit create more jobs and reduce our federal deficit?

    October 5, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. Independant Voter

    Oh my god – this is not news coverage? Is anyone going to start demanding that McCain/Palin start talking about McCain/Palin? I can't believe they are getting away with focusing their entire campaign around Barak Obama. This is ridiculous.

    October 5, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. S. Boatman Warrensburg, Mo.

    When You Do Your Audit Look For My Name! . . . You Will Find It Several Times!

    October 5, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. virginia nielsen

    I call this action desperation !!! If Senator Obama is going to run the country in the same way he has been running his Campaign , extemely well organized and honestly, we'll have our wonderful country back on track very soon !!!

    October 5, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Paul M

    More distractions from the real issues. Some Republicans may find it hard to believe but there are millions of Americans that are willing to put hard earned money to support Obama.

    October 5, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Yaung

    An old man and a municiple level female politician try to do anything, they have buried their moral.

    October 5, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. Taking Our Country Back

    Let them investigate. I'm sure the GOP has recieved checks from foreign nationals as well. The only difference is they were winning in the past, and hid it.

    Barack's campaign is meant to be, the people are taking control, and taking their country back.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 5, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  22. Dave in Atlanta

    On your mark...get ready.......NOW

    swiftboat..swiftboat..swiftboat.and...swftboat some more.

    October 5, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. Chris crandon

    you got to be kidding me..!! They are not going to let up now..Sarah Palin i don't care what anyone say's she is not knowledgeable for vice president. People are not being honest with themselves..!! Come-on Conservitives its very clear

    October 5, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. ricardo williams

    They need to investigating Palin not Obama. They also need to be investigating John McCain's One Tooth Health Care policy

    October 5, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  25. AJ

    Sounds like someone's desperate.

    Grasp at those straws harder RNC. It's not gonna help. =D

    October 5, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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