Obama doesn’t weed out illegal cash, GOP says

Obama doesn’t weed out illegal cash, GOP says

Sun Oct 5, 2008 5:15pm EDT

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican Party on Sunday said Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama had not done enough to screen out illegal campaign contributions and asked U.S. election officials to look into the matter.

Citing news reports, the Republican National Committee said Obama had accepted contributions from foreigners and taken more than the $2,300 maximum from donors who give in small increments. The Obama campaign denied the charges.

The RNC said it will ask the Federal Election Commission to examine Obama records in detail to determine the extent of the problem.

The Obama campaign could face fines if found guilty of violations by the FEC, but any decision would likely come after he faces Republican John McCain in the November 4 presidential election.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the McCain campaign has had to return over $1.2 million to donors who potentially violated the law with their contributions, including money from foreign nationals.

“Our campaign has shattered fund-raising records with donations from more than 2.5 million Americans. We have gone above and beyond the transparency requirements,” Burton said.

“While no organization is completely protected from Internet fraud, we will continue to review our fund-raising procedures to ensure that we are taking every available to step to root-out improper contributions,” he said.

But Republican officials said the Obama campaign had not done enough to weed out illegal donations.

“It seems to the RNC that the Obama campaign knew they were excessive,” RNC chief counsel Sean Cairncross said in a conference call. “Yet they appear to have taken no action on their own.”

Obama opted out of the public financing system so his money totals include both the primaries and the general election. More than half of the $454 million raised by Obama has come in small increments of $200 or less.

By contrast, one-third of McCain’s $230 million raised during the primary campaign has come in small donations. McCain is taking public funds in the general election campaign so he is limited to $84 million.

Campaigns are not required to report small donations, and some donors appear to have given well beyond the legal limit, Newsweek magazine reported.

Two apparently fictional donors using the names “Doodad Pro” and “Good Will” gave Obama more than $11,000 in increments of $10 and $25, according to Newsweek.

Other news accounts suggest that roughly 11,500 donors who gave a total of $34 million to the campaign may be citizens of foreign countries, who are not allowed to contribute to U.S. elections, the RNC said.

“We see a lack of control, a lack of willingness on the part of the Obama campaign to ask relevant questions,” Cairncross said.

(Additional reporting by Mark Egan in Asheville, North Carolina; editing by David Wiessler and Cynthia Osterman)

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The Media Discovers the Obama-Ayers Relationship

Crossed paths

October 4, 2008 – by Richard Fernandez

The [1] New York Times looks at the relationship between Barack Obama and Bill Ayers. It concludes that Obama may have downplayed his relationship with Ayers, but believes the relationship between the two was not close.

A review of records of the schools project and interviews with a dozen people who know both men, suggest that Mr. Obama, 47, has played down his contacts with Mr. Ayers, 63. But the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called “somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.”

[2] Stanley Kurtz, a National Review writer who has extensively researched Barack Obama’s working relationship with Ayers in connection with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an educational foundation based in Chicago, vehemently disagrees.

Read the rest of this entry »

Military Times poll: Troops backing McCain

Military Times poll: Troops backing McCain

 

By Brendan McGarry – Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Oct 5, 2008 9:46:06 EDT

Sen. John McCain enjoys overwhelming support from the military’s professional core, though race appears to be a decisive factor for career-oriented black service members, a Military Times survey of nearly 4,300 readers indicates.

McCain, R-Ariz., handily defeated Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., 68 percent to 23 percent in a voluntary survey of 4,293 active-duty, National Guard and reserve subscribers and former subscribers to Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times and Air Force Times.

The results of the Military Times 2008 Election Poll are not representative of the opinions of the military as a whole. The group surveyed is older, more senior in rank and less ethnically diverse than the overall armed services.

But as a snapshot of careerists, the results suggest Democrats have gained little ground in their attempts to appeal to a traditionally Republican voting bloc in campaign messages and legislative initiatives, such as the recent expansion of GI Bill benefits, experts said.

Related reading:

The charts

The methodology

“The military has been perceived as a conservative Republican institution,” said Peter Feaver, a political science professor at Duke University and a special adviser to the National Security Council from 2005 to 2007.

“A lot of people thought that eight years of frustration with the Bush administration was going to undermine that,” he said. “This evidence suggests that it hasn’t undermined it as much as they thought, at least not yet.”

Officers and enlisted troops, active-duty members and reservists, those who have served in combat and those who haven’t, all backed McCain by large margins, to about the same extent they supported President Bush four years ago.

About 69 percent of respondents said they voted for Bush in 2004, while about 16 percent voted for the Democratic nominee, Sen. John Kerry.

McCain’s majority wanes among women and disappears altogether among black respondents.

Nearly eight out of 10 black service members indicated they intend to vote for Obama despite his lack of military service and despite McCain’s record as a naval aviator and prisoner of war in Vietnam.

“I’m going to vote for Barack Obama,” said Marine Gunnery Sgt. Derrick Pipkin, a heavy equipment chief with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in Miramar, Calif., and a black man who said he served seven months in Iraq in 2005.

Pipkin said his vote was influenced more by the continued presence of 152,000 troops in Iraq than by race.

“I believe that we did our best for the country,” he said. “It’s time to move on.”

Iraq is third-biggest issue

Among the top issues for respondents in the survey, the war in Iraq ranks third, behind character of the candidate and the economy. The war in Iraq was cited by more respondents in the 2004 Military Times survey than any other issue, including character and the economy, in considering their choice for president.

Recent progress in stabilizing Iraq has helped McCain politically, Feaver said. McCain was an early supporter of the troop surge credited with helping to reduce violence in Baghdad and other areas of Iraq.

Similarly, the character question plays to McCain’s strength, Feaver said. His dramatic experience as a POW is embodied in his campaign slogan, “Country First,” and carries a particular resonance in the military community, as service members themselves indicated.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Derriel D. Collins, who is black, said he was influenced by McCain’s service record, though he acknowledges black friends question his decision.

“I’m not going to give [my vote] to you just because you’re black,” he said. “It doesn’t work like that.”

“John McCain went to war for this country, even though he had an admiral father who probably could have gotten him out of the service,” Collins said. “He stuck it out five years in a prisoner of war camp. If that ain’t fortitude, showing your willingness to go all the way, I don’t know what the credentials are.”

Army Sgt. Timothy Coen said he will vote for McCain because that would be in keeping with his political views.

“I just always voted conservative and on a lot of the issues at hand — gun rights and abortion — it just seemed like the more logical choice,” he said.

Coen, who is white, said he is proud to see a minority running on the ticket of a major political party.

“But we’d all be fools to think that the race card isn’t going to be played in this election,” he added. “As much as we’d like to say that discrimination or inequality is a thing of the past, it’s not.”

Daniel J. Becker, an enlisted airman who declined to provide his rank because he wanted his comments to reflect only his personal views and not those of the service or Defense Department, said he will vote for McCain because he has always leaned toward Republican candidates.

“I’ve always felt that the Republican Party was interested in having a stronger military, which leads to a stronger America,” he said. “That gives us a better voice in world politics and just makes us stand out as the world leaders that we are.”

Obama’s ‘Good Will’ Hunting

Obama’s ‘Good Will’ Hunting
Michael Isikoff
NEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Oct 13, 2008

The Obama campaign has shattered all fund-raising records, raking in $458 million so far, with about half the bounty coming from donors who contribute $200 or less. Aides say that’s an illustration of a truly democratic campaign. To critics, though, it can be an invitation for fraud and illegal foreign cash because donors giving individual sums of $200 or less don’t have to be publicly reported. Consider the cases of Obama donors “Doodad Pro” of Nunda, N.Y., who gave $17,130, and “Good Will” of Austin, Texas, who gave more than $11,000—both in excess of the $2,300-per-person federal limit. In two recent letters to the Obama campaign, Federal Election Commission auditors flagged those (and other) donors and informed the campaign that the sums had to be returned. Neither name had ever been publicly reported because both individuals made online donations in $10 and $25 increments. “Good Will” listed his employer as “Loving” and his occupation as “You,” while supplying as his address 1015 Norwood Park Boulevard, which is shared by the Austin nonprofit Goodwill Industries. Suzanha Burmeister, marketing director for Goodwill, said the group had “no clue” who the donor was. She added, however, that the group had received five puzzling thank-you letters from the Obama campaign this year, prompting it to send the campaign an e-mail in September pointing out the apparent fraudulent use of its name.

“Doodad Pro” listed no occupation or employer; the contributor’s listed address is shared by Lloyd and Lynn’s Liquor Store in Nunda. “I have never heard of such an individual,” says Diane Beardsley, who works at the store and is the mother of one of the owners. “Nobody at this store has that much money to contribute.” (She added that a Doodad’s Boutique, located next door, had closed a year ago, before the donations were made.)

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the campaign has no idea who the individuals are and has returned all the donations, using the credit-card numbers they gave to the campaign. (In a similar case earlier this year, the 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. They 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 fund-raising procedures,” LaBolt said. Some critics say the campaign hasn’t done enough. This summer, watchdog groups asked both campaigns to share more information about its small donors. The McCain campaign agreed; the Obama campaign did not. “They could’ve done themselves a service” by heeding the suggestions, said Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics.

RNC to File FEC Complaint on Obama Fundraising Practices

RNC to File FEC Complaint on Obama Fundraising Practices

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.

At the heart of the RNC complaint is a federal fundraising rule that lets campaigns accept donations under $200 without itemizing the names and addresses of the donors on its campaign finance reports. The rule was intended as a matter of practicality — it did not seem reasonable to ask a campaign to gather that information from every five-dollar donor.

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.

Obama campaign aides said today that a number of steps have been taken to safeguard against foreign or illegal contributions coming in in smaller increments. The measures include: requiring donors to present a passport at fundraising events held for Americans overseas, ending contributions to the Obama Store from contributors with addresses outside the U.S. or its territories, and requiring donors to enter a U.S. passport number when contributing via the Americans Abroad page.

“When we were made aware of an ad for a Nigerians for Obama fundraiser in a Nigerian paper, our attorneys sent a letter to the paper making it clear the event had nothing to do with our campaign, and that we would not accept contributions from the event,” one Obama aide said.

And aides note that Sen. John McCain had his own foreign fundraising issues, having been forced to refund about $50,000 in donations solicited by Jordanian Mustafa Abu Naba’a, who was raising money on behalf of one of McCain’s top Florida bundlers.

Palin gets “nasty:” Reuters

Palin gets “nasty:” Reuters

Ethel C. Fenig

The Obama/Biden campaign mocks McCain as being too old so the MSM ghoulishly speculates on the odds of McCain dying in his first term while reminding all if that happens she would then succeed him.

They also acknowledges his service to the country but dismisses it as ancient history, adding that McCain is out of touch with contemporary problems because he doesn’t know how many residences he owns and oh by the way, McCain supporters cling to guns and religion. 

And on and on.

But when Sarah Palin, mocked as a small town simpleton mayor and governor who bred a Down Syndrome child, a woman who knows how to shoot moose that wander near her home next to Russia, states accurately, as clearly documented here and other places several times, that Obama is friendly with terrorists, Reuters huffily declares in a bold headline

Palin slams Obama as campaign turns ugly
Not only ugly but it is “the latest sign the final month of the campaign is turning increasingly nasty.” (Ugly and nasty!  Imagine that!)
Later at a rally in Carson City, California, Palin made clear the Republican campaign will become more negative.
Wow, a negative political campaign all because Palin declared
“There is a time when it’s necessary to take the gloves off, and that time is right now,” she told supporters.
However Reuters just couldn’t find an adjective to described the following–and other–quotes from Obama and his representatives.
Today, the McCain-Palin team took their discredited, dishonorable campaign one desperate step further, announcing that they were going to try ‘turning a page on this financial crisis’ and launching more personal attacks on Senator Obama.
Wake up Reuters.  Campaigning isn’t high school debating; a candidate who correctly states proven facts isn’t nastily slamming her opponent, she’s truthfully informing the electorate. 
And that’s the proper adjective.

Sarah’s magic in Southern California (exclusive pictures)

Thomas Lifson
Sarah Palin was campaigning yesterday in Southern California and drew enormous, highly enthusiastic crowds. Two AT correspondents provide exclusive pictures that you will not find in the MSM.

Dan Koblash and Carolyn Blashek were at the really in Carson, CA, at the Home Depot Center Tennis Stadium. Dan writes:

 

Every seat in the 8,000-seat stadium [figure corrected] was filled. The tennis court itself was filled to standing room only: at least another 1,000. The areas above the bowl had people who could not get seats standing four-deep at least all around the rim of the bowl. Total estimated number of people: 12-13,000 or more.


 

 

The stage is in front of the blue sign in the upper center. Here is a close-up:

Here is a view from behind the stage, taken by Carolyn

The big mo is back!

Hat tip: Kyle-Anne Shiver