Watchdog Group: “Thousands of Credit Card Solicitations”

President Obama and Credit Card Solicitations

Source: REUTERS/Jim Young

If Wednesday night’s presidential debate wasn’t rattling enough for the Obama camp, a new scandal that’s brewing just might change everything – and it’s breaking in real time.

For the past nine months, a taxpayer watchdog group has been digging into the Obama campaign and what it’s found could be crippling for President Obama and his efforts of re-election. Currently – late Thursday night – we learned the Obama campaign is actively trying to stop these latest stories from hitting mainstream media. Clearly, it’s too late.

September was a great month in terms of raising donations for Obama; in fact, those donations rolled in to the tune of $150 million in September alone. This was a new record for the entire 2012 race between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who’s running on the Republican ticket and President Obama. Now, though accusations are rolling and it has to do with what Briebart is reporting to be “thousands of cases of credit card solicitations and donations”. It’s also referring to it as a “blockbuster donor scandal”.

The story isn’t the thousands of contributions, but rather, where those contributions have been coming from. Many are alleged charges from “unsecured, overseas accounts” that are in the form of both prepaid debit cards and credit cards This, of course, is in direct violation of federal election laws. Therein lies the problem.

Campaigns are required to make a “best effort” to garner information about all of their contributors who donate less than $200; that said, those donors don’t have to make their contributions public should they choose not to and the campaigns aren’t required to publicly disclose them either. There’s a “Pass the Hat” rule in place and this allows a lump sump total report to kick in, which means all personal information about the smaller donors simply goes away.

The record-breaking $150 million raised in September (up until then, the highest monthly total was $114 million in August and in the Obama camp). Those August numbers, however, are troubling as more than $25 million of the funds raised fall under the Pass the Hat rule and therefore, there’s no information available on who those donors were, where they are and if they’ve made previous smaller donations. The only thing that is known is that there are more than 2 million who made these now-anonymous donations

September’s numbers have yet to be tallied.

As mentioned, many of the national media outlets are preparing stories and there are some that have agreed to wait until Monday to break the story, but that’s likely changed since our staff began preparing our own story. The Obama camp is said to continue its efforts of altogether blocking the story. It’s not likely anyone will sit on this over the weekend. Even Sarah Palin and other Tea Partiers and Republicans are commenting on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Turns out, it’s not the big donors anyone should be worried about, but rather, the smaller donors. Even though they don’t have to go public with any kind of identifying information, all anyone needs is a list of the debit or credit card charges.

What’s most interesting is during 2008, September was also a $150 million month. It too set a record for that campaign and ironically, this also resulted in what was reported as “large, untraceable prepaid credit cards that could be potentially used to evade limits on…what’s legally allowed to mask a contributor’s identity”. The campaign managers were accused of not putting safeguards in place that would prevent overseas ISPs from making donations, but by and large, that scandal quietly went away. It’s not likely to happen this way again, especially considering an autobiography that was released shortly after Obama was sworn into office.

President Obama’s then-campaign manager has released a biography and in it, he writes even he was surprised “by the amount of money the campaign was able to raise….during the 2008 campaign”. The book, The Audacity to Win, was published in 2009 after he left Obama’s camp. He goes on to say, “Whenever I checked our fund-raising performance online, it was like watching a volcano erupt. There were times when we were raising $250,000, $300,000, even $500,000 an hour. It was remarkable, and critical.”

The timing couldn’t be worse. It’s uncommon for the media to agree on who wins a presidential debate, but last night’s clear Romney win was undeniable – and the media had no choice but to report it as such. Worse, September’s job numbers will be released in a matter of hours – and analysts are already saying it’s not going to be good news.

Earlier this week, a controversial 2007 speech by then-Senator Obama claimed racism played a role in how the federal government handled Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans who couldn’t get financial assistance. His comments from that speech have been proven inaccurate and in fact, it was uncovered Obama actually voted against easing the rules for the Stafford Act, which would have made it easier for victims to get assistance.

What are your thoughts on this breaking story? If President Obama’s camp is found to have accepted illegal donations, would it affect your vote?

David is a CPA and has spent the past decade as a financial adviser helping clients meet their fiscal objectives. With an appreciation for journalism, he has spent the past few years overseeing several financial columns as well as writing two previous finance blogs. He resides on the East Coast with his wife and two sons and has guided many through the recent recession while providing a no-nonsense approach to spending and saving. David on Google+

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