Based on a single, poorly sourced article in Think Progress – a rabidly partisan blog that is an offshoot of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress – President Obama laid into Republicans for allowing “foreign money” to be used to fund campaigns against him, specifically, dues money from foreign countries paid to the Chamber of Commerce.
The problem? The story by Think Progress is (not surprisingly) almost certainly untrue.
But a closer examination shows that there is little evidence that what the chamber does in collecting overseas dues is improper or even unusual, according to both liberal and conservative election-law lawyers and campaign finance documents.
In fact, the controversy over the Chamber of Commerce financing may say more about the Washington spin cycle – where an Internet blog posting can be quickly picked up by like-minded groups and become political fodder for the president himself – than it does about the vagaries of campaign finance.
And, as Glenn Reynolds points out in this extensive blog post , it is Obama’s 2008 campaign where untold millions in foreign money flowed into his coffers:
Obama’s “foreign money” claims are bogus. They’re also pretty rich, considering how his 2008 campaign handled foreign credit cards. From that National Journal story: “The lack of a computerized address-verification system would allow the Obama campaign’s computers to accept online donations from U.S. citizens above legal limits, and to accept donations from foreigners who are barred by law from contributing at all.” Perhaps its time to remind people of that issue again. Oh, wait, I just did!
Here’s more on that from 2008: “A breakdown of controls has enabled foreign and other unaccountable funds to pour into the Obama campaign — and it’s not an accident.”
Plus, from the Washington Post: Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations. “Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor’s identity, campaign officials confirmed. Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged.”
“Then there’s the question of whether foreign nationals are contributing to the Obama campaign. There is more than enough evidence to warrant a full-scale investigation by the Federal Election Commission, including the $32,332.19 that appears to have come from two brothers living in a Hamas-controlled Palestinian refugee camp in Rafah, GA (that’s Gaza, not Georgia). The brothers’ cash is part of a flood of illegal foreign contributions accepted by the Obama campaign.”
Those who live in glass houses…