“FUNNY MONEY” FROM CHINA TO OBAMA CAMPAIGN: ARTHUR HERMAN
Suppose you are sitting in the Chinese politburo in Beijing. Would you rather President Obama or Mitt Romney, who’s just declared that the era of American weakness abroad is over, win on Nov. 6?
Well, you can do something about it. Feel free to get out your credit card, pull up Obama’s fund-raising Web site, barackobama.com, and give to the campaign — along with a few thousand of your closest friends. As long as your donation is less than $200, no questions will be asked about whether you’re even a US citizen.
If it’s under $50, there won’t even be a record of it.
It’s illegal for foreign nationals to contribute to US elections. Yet the Obama campaign practically invites foreigners to give.
The Obama-Biden campaign has raised more than $271 million from donations under $200, vs. $69 million for Romney. But the Obama team’s done so in part by abjuring the most basic controls against fraud or illegal foreign donations.
The Government Accountability Institute, a Washington watchdog group, says it’s likely a high percentage of Obama online’s donors aren’t Americans. For starters, a full 43 percent of the traffic on the site barackobama.com comes from foreign Internet provider addresses, versus just 11.9 percent at Romney’s equivalent site.
GAI’s 108-page report on online campaign fund-raising at local, state, and national levels shows that many campaigns have inadequate safeguards against foreign donors influencing this election — but Obama’s stands out as a veritable cesspool.
Obama’s campaign refuses to use industry-standard safeguards against online credit-card fraud. For example, some 90 percent of e-commerce companies (and Romney’s site) use Card Verification Value data, which checks those three or four numbers on the back of the credit card to make sure the card user matches the card holder. The Obama site uses it if you want to buy a T-shirt or hat — but not if you make a donation.
Indeed, the moment you sign up at my.barackobama.com, you get numerous solicitations to donate. When you give, you get a thank you e-mail — even if you happen to live in Shanghai.
One Chinese blogger has posted the Obama thank-you notes for his $3 and $5 donations on his Chinese site — which includes hyperlinks steering visitors to the official Obama fund-raising page.
Multiply those untraceable $3 and $5 donations by a few thousand or tens of thousands of Chinese nationals giving up to the $200 limit, and the money starts to add up.
Why suspect so much Chinese giving? Consider the site Obama.com. It’s owned by Shanghai-based Obama campaign bundler Robert Roche. More than two-thirds of its traffic comes from non-US visitors, nearly 90 percent of them Chinese. And visitors there immediately get directed to barackobama.com, where they become part of the fund-raising mill.
Roche, one of Obama’s top advisers on trade with China, runs a Shanghai-based media company called Acorn, Inc. Chinese banks use Acorn for — what else? — credit-card transactions. One has to be very naive to believe those banks chose Acorn on their own, instead of at the behest of the Chinese government — or that none of those transactions involve contributions to the Obama campaign.
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time China has seen fit to intrude itself in our electoral process. Who can forget Charlie Trie, the Little Rock restaurateur who channeled money from China’s intelligence service to the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign, or then-Vice President Al Gore gathering all that Chinese cash at a California Buddhist temple?
Mind you, our president is officially against letting foreigners influence our elections. He even blasted the Supreme Court for supposedly opening the door for elections to be “bankrolled by foreign entities.”
But his campaign’s actions tell a very different story: At best, it refuses to do anything to prevent foreigners (or fraudsters) from donating.
The Obama campaign clearly doesn’t care. The real question is whether the media, Congress, and the American people do.
Arthur Herman’s latest book is “Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War Two.”
Comments are closed.