The Internet and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have democratized elections, made the world more interconnected, and allowed the velocity of information to be faster than ever before.
But an extensive eight-month investigation by the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) released on Monday found these same forces can also be the greatest threat to America’s sovereignty (visit campaignfundingrisks.com to download the full report). These technologies allow foreign donors to anonymously circumvent U.S. campaign finance laws and directly influence elections by donating repeatedly to candidates.
The 108-page GAI report found nearly half of Congress, both political parties and presidential candidates, and third-party fundraising groups that funnel money to political parties and candidates were vulnerable to fraudulent and foreign donations. This is a bipartisan problem potentially impacting all levels of government, as those whose organizations were found to have been vulnerable include President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Republican National Committee (RNC), and third-party groups like ActBlue, which funnels money to progressive politicians.
And the report found that the website Obama.com, which is not owned by President Barack Obama’s campaign but redirects to the campaign’s official donation page, may make the Obama campaign the most susceptible to illicit foreign donations. Obama.com is connected to an Obama campaign bundler, Robert Roche, who is from Chicago but now lives and co-founded a corporation in China. Roche has direct ties to China’s state-owned banking industry.
Read more here.