The Obama campaign is very proud of the fact that so much of its fundraising comes from small donors. (Some might say that all of their fundraising comes from brain donors, but I digress …) As is so often the case with this bunch, it turns out that this “we get our donations from small donors-Hooray for us!” claim is not true, or at least it wasn’t during the 2008 campaign. From a USA Today story that appeared in November, 2008:
Despite attracting millions of new contributors to his campaign, President-elect Barack Obama received about the same percentage of his total political funds from small donors as President Bush did in 2004, according to a study released today by the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute. …
“The myth is that money from small donors dominated Barack Obama’s finances,” said Michael Malbin, the institute’s executive director. “The reality of Obama’s fundraising was impressive, but the reality does not match the myth.”
“The reality does not match the myth?” Are we talking about the same Barack Obama we all know and love? Hard to believe, I know.
Later in the story there’s this seemingly innocuous paragraph:
The small-donor percentage is lower than figures previously reported in news stories because the institute’s analysis accounted for people who gave several small donations over the course of the election that added up to a larger sum, Malbin said.
As you read what follows, keep that phrase “people who gave several small donations over the course of the election that added up to a larger sum” in mind.
From a Daily Caller story “Fraud found in Obama’s online donations:”
President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign has hundreds of thousands of eager, low-dollar donors — and a tiny trickle of unwilling, defrauded donors.
The latest example comes from David Newman, who found a $15 charge, dated May 6, from the “Obama For America” campaign on one of his debit cards.
Newman had supported Obama in 2008, but “I didn’t sign up to say ‘Do this every three months or every three years when you need money,’” he told The Daily Caller.
“This is completely 100 percent unauthorized,” said Newman, an information technology specialist. The money has since been returned by Bank of America, and the debit card has been cancelled, he said.…
These minor examples of fraud, however, follow the discovery that Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012 adopted shady practices that increased the potential for fraud.
In 2008, for example, Obama’s 2008 campaign accepted donations made via untraceable digital gift cards sold over the counter by Mastercard and Visa. National Journal proved that practice on October 24, 2008, but a recent test by TheDC showed that his campaign is now rejecting donations made via gift-cards.
However, Obama is still using many of the same tech experts that he used in 2008, and is still accepting credit card donations made under incorrect names, according to numerous reports from blogs.
Like in 2008, the 2012 campaign is also not asking donors to provide the three-digit or four-digit CVV number on credit cards. That decision reduces the campaign’s fundraising costs, but increases the chance of fraudulent donations by people who know the primary long number of a credit card, but not the short CVV number.
The practice may have contributed to a 2008 fraud when a woman in Missouri, Mary Biskup, discovered that her name had been attached to $174,800 in credit card donations sent to the Obama campaign. Biskup told the Washington Post that her credit-card was not charged for the donation.
Obama’s campaign is not legally required to ask for the CVV number. It is also not required to confirm that the names given by small-dollar online donors are correct, partly because the campaign automatically collects the real names and addresses attached to donors’ credit cards.
Yet a campaign’s decision to accept the false names attached to small donations can have a broader impact than a few cases of fraud.
That’s because campaigns are free to assume that multiple small-scale donations made via one credit card are from different people, providing that different false names are provided online with each donation.
They’re free to do that even if donors’ fake names are utterly implausible, such as “Adolf Hitler,” “Osama bin Laden” or “Mickey Mouse.”
“Mickey Mouse and Adolph Hitler?” Shades of the Wisconsin recall petitions, another democrat fraud boiler-room racket.
Then there’s the donor named “Doodad Pro” and his friend “Goodwill,” also reported in the Daily Caller story.
In 2008, National Journal successfully used custom made software to deliver numerous “robo-donations” to three campaigns via gift cards. The test was conducted after a check of Obama’s 2008 campaign records which showed numerous, sequential and identical donations donations by donors with strange names, such “Doodad Pro.”
“Doodad Pro” submitted at least 791 contributions by October 2008, providing $19,065 to the campaign, while “Good Will” sent in 835 donations worth $20,225 between March and May 2008. The source of those donations was not disclosed by the 2008 campaign.
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