When asked about the possibility that a single person could use fake names to mask many donations sent via a few credit cards, [General Counsel, Robert] Bauer responded that "both campaigns seem to be in a similar position."
Good sum up of Obama's criminal donation schemes:
FEC Rules Leave Loopholes For Online Donation Data National Journal
The increasing use of online financial tools, debit cards and prepaid credit cards to make political contributions has created technological loopholes in federal and public oversight of campaign donations.
The result has been a recent spate of news stories raising questions about apparently implausible or suspicious donations to the presidential campaigns. Right-of-center activists also claim that Barack Obama's campaign has collected tens of millions of dollars from suspect overseas donors. Their complaints spurred the Republican National Committee on Oct. 6 to ask the Federal Election Commission for an investigation of the Obama donations.
To test the campaigns' practices, this author bought two pre-paid American Express gift cards worth $25 each to donate to the Obama and McCain campaigns online. As required by law, the campaigns' Web sites asked for, and National Journal provided, the donor's correct name, location and employment. The cards were purchased with cash at a Washington, D.C., drugstore, and the campaigns' Web sites were accessed through a public computer at a library in Fairfax County, Virginia.
The Obama campaign's Web site accepted the $25 donation, but the McCain campaign's Web site rejected it.
Rebecca Donatelli, president of Campaigns Solutions of Alexandria, Va., which processes donations for John McCain, said her system rejected the donation because American Express could not verify that the donor lived at the address given with the online contribution.
The McCain campaign does accept normal credit card donations because staffers can easily check whether the owner of the credit card shares the same billing address as the listed donor, she said. That address-check process costs the campaign about 12 cents, she said.
"We could lower our standards and accept more money... but this is John McCain's campaign, and he wants to root out fraud in fundraising and have everything open and as honest as possible," said Donatelli.
Obama campaign spokesman Nick Shapiro said, "We review our contributions to ensure that the information donors provide is complete and verifiable. We would only accept a contribution from a pre-paid credit card if the donor provides complete and verifiable information, consistent with FEC guidelines."
FEC spokesman Robert Biersack said, "The committees are responsible for providing accurate information about the identifying characteristics of their donors.... The precise mechanisms of that are not necessarily written into the regulations."
Donors must provide, and campaigns must send to the FEC, the donor's name, employer and home city. But if a campaign has incomplete information on a donor, it is safe from sanctions if the campaign sends a letter to the donor's address asking for more information, Biersack said. A copy of a passport is also sufficient to validate an overseas donor's eligibility, he said.
Campaign funding experts say that real-world difficulties present a significant barrier to anyone trying to make surreptitious direct donations. For example, National Journal's $25 donation would have to be quadrupled to $100, and then repeated 10,000 times, to deliver $1 million to the Obama campaign, which has collected more than $600 million from at least 3.1 million donors.
Federal law bars individuals from donating more than $2,300 to a presidential campaign (and a similar amount to a primary campaign), and also requires campaigns to make a public disclosure to the FEC of the names of all donors who contribute more than $200 in one or more transactions.
That is how Pamela Geller, an advocate of limited government who runs the blog Atlas Shrugs, discovered invalid donations to the Obama campaign from such fictitious or prohibited donors as Doodad Pro, Hbkjb jkbkj, and a pair of Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip who donated $24,321 by July. Since early October, Newsweek, the New York Times and other established publications have described some of Geller's discoveries. But by ignoring these donations until last week, "the media has abdicated its role as public servant," she said.
Kenneth Timmerman, a right-of-center author based in Bethsda, Md., followed up on Geller's work. In an Oct. 19 article for the news Web site Newsmax, Timmerman argued that the FEC database lists up to 37,000 foreign contributors to Obama. These unverified donors made 60,000 contributions, worth a total of up to $63 million, he said. Donations ending with odd numbers of cents, such as $55.32, he said, suggest that the donations were made in a foreign currency before being converted to dollars.
But the Obama campaign's failure to verify donors' identities or addresses is suspicious, he said. All campaigns collect that data to verify donors and to persuade donors to work as volunteers. If the verification checks are disabled, "there's no limit on how much a relatively small number of people could donate to the campaign on credit cards," he said.
If they're not checking the donors, he said, "they're thumbing their nose at the law." There's no downside because the establishment media will go easy on them before the election, and they can easily raise funds to pay fines once they're in power, he said.
When asked about the possibility that a single person could use fake names to mask many donations sent via a few credit cards, Bauer responded that "both campaigns seem to be in a similar position."
Did he just say that? McCain has all sorts of safeguards in place. Obama, not one.
It's an indepth piece. The best thing I have seen yet. Please read it all over at the National Journal