Wow, there’s so much information being thrown at the public today, I hardly know where to start. So, I’ll just recap what many know already and see what is resonating. But, before we run down this alley, I would make a couple of points.
First of all, the GIA reports shows that the Obama campaign isn’t the only one who doesn’t use the CVV.
Secondly, and probably most importantly, no one should be under the misguided illusion that any thing will happen. There will be no meaningful legal repercussions. So, this is only to inform and educate the public about what is occurring.
To me, what is most alarming is the use of foreign web site credit card solicitations. Anyone and everyone knows foreign web credit card numbers without security precautions invites credit card fraud. There’s simply no way around this. The Obama campaign is specifically asking for donations under the amount required to report the donations.
The Obama.com website referred to below is owned by Robert Roche.
The non-partisan Government Accountability Institute [GAI] shows the Obama campaign has potentially violated federal election law by failing to prevent the use of fraudulent or foreign credit card transactions on the official Obama for America [OFA] donation webpage.
The full report is here…… http://campaignfundingrisks.com/wp-content/themes/cfr/images/AmericaTheVulnerable.pdf You can visit the new website dedicated to this subject here.
Here are some findings of the report….
- Obama Campaign Lacks the Industry-Standard Level Of Credit Card Security For Donations, But Uses It For Merchandise Purchases: To purchase Obama campaign merchandise, the campaign requires buyers to enter their credit card CVV security code, but does not require the credit card security code to be entered when making an online campaign donation. By GAI’s estimates, the Obama campaign’s failure to utilize industry-standard protections potentially costs the campaign millions in extra processing fees.
- Obama.com Purchased By An Obama Bundler In Shanghai, China With Questionable Business Ties to State-Run Chinese Enterprises: In 2008, Obama.com was purchased by an Obama fundraiser living in Shanghai, China, whose business is heavily dependent on relationships with Chinese state-run television and other state-owned entities.
- 68% Of Traffic To Anonymously Registered Obama.com Is Foreign: According to industry leading web analytics site Markosweb, an anonymously registered redirect site (Obama.com) features 68 % foreign traffic. Starting in December 2011, the site was linked to a specific donation page on the official BarackObama.com campaign website for ten months. The page loaded a tracking number, 634930, into a space on the website labeled “who encouraged you to make this donation.” That tracking number is embedded in the source code for Obama.com and is associated with the Obama Victory Fund. In early September 2012, the page began redirecting to the standard Obama Victory Fund donation page.
Some more information from Townhall.
“Under these circumstances, a campaign’s decision to turn off either of these systems [CVV] and despite the increased fees raises legitimate questions as to a campaign’s knowing failure to use its best efforts to comply with the laws prohibiting foreign contributions. Indeed, it’s reasonable to ask why any campaign would ever opt to pay card issuers more for less information and less security. More importantly, why pay card issuers more when doing so lessens a campaign’s ability to comply with the law? It’s hard to imagine any campaign would pay extra for less security and marketing intelligence, unless it stood to benefit in some way from doing so.”
In other words, it costs more not to use the CVV software.
While no person can be held accountable under the law for violations he or she is powerless to prevent or for violations of which a person had no knowledge, the law recognizes that to permit meaningful enforcement a person cannot escape responsibility for a crime by deliberately ignoring facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that a crime is most likely being committed. Moreover, the FEC regulations make it clear that a campaign official cannot avoid criminal culpability by ignoring facts that would lead a reasonable person to inquire whether foreign nationals are contributing funds to the campaign.
As previously mentioned, the GAI report mentions campaigns have an obligation to protect against illegal campaign contributions. The law under U.S. Code makes it illegal for campaigns or political committees to accept direct or indirect contributions of money from foreign nationals. It is also illegal for a campaign or committee to “solicit, accept, or receive a contribution from a foreign national.” Penalties for violations are stiff, according to the report.
But, we see the Obama campaign is specifically targeting foreign nationals to donate.
1. In July and August, a Chinese blogger reposts letters he has received from the Obama campaign, each of which contains a solicitation for $3 or $5 (note that these smaller donations don’t require the campaign to keep any record of them).118 Markosweb states that 87.8% of the traffic flowing to the site comes from China while only 4.5% is from the United States. The website contains hyperlinks that lead to the campaign’s donation page. The website also contains graphics showing the disparity between Romney’s and the President’s fundraising and a countdown clock to the date of the election. Other than the campaign solicitation letters, the website is in Chinese characters.
2. On August 9th, 2012 the Obama campaign sent a solicitation letter to “Hikemt Hadjy-Zadh,” an Azerbaijani citizen. His email address is on an Azerbaijani domain and he posts numerous solicitation letters he has received from the Obama campaign. Mr. Hadjy-Zadh reposts the complete letters on a discussion forum, including numerous hyperlinks that go directly to the campaign’s donation page.
3. A writer in Vietnam writes on a website for the Vietnam Institute for Development Studies (a government-backed think tank) and posts emails he has received from my.barackobama.com with more than 24 total links to the campaign’s donate page embedded in the emails. The website is in the Vietnamese language, hosted on a Vietnamese server, and uses a Vietnamese domain address. In one instance, a letter from Mitch Stewart, Director of the Obama campaign’s “Organizing for America,” asks for donations. Ironically, Stewart laments that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is reportedly taking money from foreign sources. The reader is then prompted to give his name and email address and thereafter begins receiving solicitation letters for donations.
4. A Dutch blogger writing in Dutch on a Dutch website reprints an email from March 22, 2010 in which President Obama thanks his supporters for their help. “You’re welcome, Mr. President,” he writes back.
5. The Dutch blog “His Dirk” received a donation request from the campaign. Aware of the U.S. law, the blogger decided not to contribute. The blogger observed, “I imagine many non- Americans have money transferred to the Obama campaign. It’s just too easy.”
6. A member of the Italian Radical Socialist movement and an administrator of their website reposts solicitations from the Obama campaign which he reports receiving regularly for three years. “And because we are three years in his mailing list…But frankly after 3 years his letters excite me much less…”
7. A Japanese blogger named Isogaya posts a link to the Obama campaign’s donation page. When posting the link, Isogaya notes that an option in giving would be to give a gift card.
8. A Norwegian blogger posts a solicitation from the Obama campaign, including the link to the donate page. When another blogger opines that non-U.S. citizens cannot contribute because of American law, the blogger responds in Norwegian,“I have in practice given money to Obama, I had done it.”
9. A blogger in Egypt who serves on the board of the Union of Arab Bloggers posts the solicitation letters he reports to regularly receive from the Obama campaign.127 “We as Arabs and Muslims” support the “Democratic party, compared to the Republican Party,” but notes his objection to the President’s stand on gay marriage.
There is no other way to look at this information other than the Obama campaign as engaging in a crime.