About time, should have acted sooner
By Matthew Mosk
A lawyer for the Republican National Committee today said the party will ask the Federal Election Commission to look into the source of thousands of small-dollar contributions to the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama.
The RNC is alleging that the Obama campaign was so hungry for donations it "looked the other way" as contributions piled up from suspicious, and possibly even illegal foreign donors.
"We believe that the American people should know first and foremost if foreign money is pouring into a presidential election," said RNC Chief Counsel Sean Cairncross.
Cairncross alleged there was mounting evidence of this, and cited a report in the current issue of Newsweek magazine that documents a handful of instances where donors made repeated small donations using fake names, such as "Good Will" and "Doodad Pro."
The Newsweek report says that earlier this year the Obama campaign returned $33,000 to two Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip who had bought T-shirts in bulk from the campaign's online store -- purchases that count as campaign contributions. The brothers had listed their address as "Ga.," which the campaign took to mean Georgia rather than Gaza.
"While no organization is completely protected from Internet fraud, we will continue to review our fundraising procedures," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt told the magazine.
But the Obama campaign has raised more than $200 million this way, a staggering sum for donations that will not be subjected to outside scrutiny.