Loophole Allowing Foreign Political Campaign Donations?
At the Newsweek/Daily Beast website this afternoon (HT Alexander Marlow, Managing Editor of Breitbart News), Peter Boyer and Peter Schweizer report "(t)he giant gap in our campaign-finance system that makes foreign and fraudulent donations possible," beginning with this lede:
"There has been no shortage of media attention paid to the role of money in the current presidential contest. Super PACs, bundlers, 527s, and mega-donors have attracted abundant notice. But there has been surprisingly little focus on perhaps the most secretive and influential financial force in politics today: the wide-open coffers of the Internet.
"With millions of online campaign donations ricocheting through cyberspace, one might think the Federal Election Commission would have erected serious walls to guard federal elections from foreign or fraudulent Internet contributions. But that’s far from true. In fact, campaigns are largely expected to police these matters themselves."
Here's the essence of how Andrew Stiles at Washington Free Beacon is reporting the story:
"A groundbreaking new report raises serious questions as to whether President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign is knowingly, and illegally, accepting and soliciting donations from foreign nationals.
"The Government Accountability Institute (GAI), run by Stanford University research fellow Peter Schweizer, conducted an extensive, six-month investigation examining the potential for fraudulent and foreign funds being funneled to U.S. political campaigns via the Internet.
"The “alarming” results detailed in the report, GAI found, highlight “a serious and systemic threat to the integrity of the U.S. election system” that demands a full-scale investigation by federal authorities.
< . . . >
"The vast majority of those donations were less than $200, and federal law does not require campaigns to collect information about the individual making such low-level donations: As of August, the Obama campaign has raised $138 million in such small donations.
"Furthermore, the campaign neglects to employ the most basic anti-fraud security measures to ensure that online donations are legitimate and only come from U.S. citizens, making it extremely vulnerable to fraudulent and illegal activity."
At Slate, Dave Weigel asks, "What's in that report about illegal foreign political donations?" The primary MSM news outlet reporting at the moment is the Washington Examiner where Paul Bedard reports the story at Washington Secrets. Here's how the UK's Daily Mail begins it's story:
"A new report on foreign influences in American elections by the conservative Government Accountability Institute (GAI) has raised questions over whether the Obama campaign has violated federal election law by allowing foreign credit card transactions on its website.
"In a 109-page report entitled 'America the Vulnerable: Are Foreign and Fraudulent Online Campaign Contributions Influencing U.S. Elections?, several major security vulnerabilities on the part of the Obama campaign are detailed."'As FBI surveillance tapes have previously shown, foreign governments understand and are eager to exploit the weaknesses of American campaigns,' the report states."
Marlow's story has links to his sources. In addition, Hot Air, Daily Caller, Human Events, and Examiner.com are reporting the story. And oh, by the way, at Hot Air, Matt Vespa writes, "this development involves both parties." Finally, Jim Geraghty also raises the question about donation security at National Review Online's blog, The Campaign Spot.