Obama Camp. Potentially Violated Fed. Laws by Solicitating Foreign Campaign Donations
President Barack Obama’s campaign officials may have violated the Federal Election Campaign Act, which makes it illegal to knowingly solicit donations from foreigners by aggressively sending fundraising e-mails to foreign nationals. The solicitations direct to the campaign’s official donation page that does not implement proper security measures to prevent foreigners from making campaign contributions.
A Government Accountability Institute (GAI) investigation found the website Obama.com, which is not owned by the Obama campaign and has ties to a Shanghai bundler linked to the Obama campaign, redirects to the Obama campaign’s official donation page. And according to a legal analysis obtained by Breitbart News, the “campaign’s failure” to employ security measures coupled with the “considerable foreign traffic reaching its websites” warrants an investigation as to whether Obama campaign officials violated campaign finance laws.
If found guilty, Obama campaign officials could face up to five years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
According to the legal analysis, federal law is “violated at the moment such solicitations are made, whether or not the person solicited actually follows through by making a contribution" and the regulations make it clear that the law not only forbids the knowing solicitation or receipt of such contributions but makes it a crime to provide “substantial assistance in the solicitation, making, acceptance or receipt of” contributions from foreign nationals.
The legal analysis notes the FEC regulations “make it clear that a campaign official cannot avoid criminal culpability by ignoring facts that would lead a reasonable person to inquire whether foreign nationals are contributing funds to the campaign.”
And there is ample evidence to suggest the Obama campaign ignored facts and evidence that would allow a "reasonable person to inquire" whether foreigners were donating to the campaign.
The GAI report found that “links to Obama designated websites are infused into thousands of foreign blogs and websites in select countries around the world” and when a foreigner clicks on the site, “he or she is asked to subscribe to become an Obama supporter.”
“GAI found an array of appeals and solicitations to foreign residents for contributions to the Obama Presidential campaign,” the report says, citing “evidence of what appears to be an effort to target foreign traffic and drive it to the Obama Campaign website.”
The legal analysis noted “while such solicitations could be explainable if they were received solely by U.S. citizens abroad, they clearly are not.”
“At no point in this subscription process is the foreign resident asked to provide his or her address, nationality or any information proving or disproving his or her citizenship,” the report stated. “Once visitors sign up, they immediately begin receiving solicitations for donations from the official Obama campaign. Numerous foreign nationals report receiving letters and emails from the campaign imploring them to donate and thanking them for their support.”
These foreigners then “often repost these on their blog sites and encourage friends to click on the donate link or get their names on the email list,” making the donation links go viral in foreign countries and in foreign social networking sites.
According to the legal analysis, "the GAI report presents evidence that the Obama campaign is aware of the security benefits that come with the CVV feature because the campaign uses it in selling campaign merchandise."
"Because campaigns which fail to install CVV will likely pay more for less security and less information, and a plausible motive for doing so is to procure more revenue, we believe there is a sufficient basis under the law to support further investigation as to the knowing solicitation and acceptance of foreign contributions by these campaigns," the analysis stated. "While there may well be innocent explanations for not installing these cost saving security measures, they are not readily discernable."
The legal analysis also notes the Obama campaign “cannot have escaped” the international attention the campaign has received and the traffic BarackObama.com, the official campaign website, receives from foreigners. On BarackObama.com alone, 43% of the traffic is from foreign IP addresses.
In addition, Obama's online fundraising operation is run by some of the most successful and savvy technological experts in the world, and “the law recognizes that persons who have superior knowledge and expertise in the field in question will be less able to disclaim knowledge reasonably ascribed by the surrounding circumstances”
“While no person can be held accountable under the law for violations he or she is powerless to prevent or for violations of which a person had no knowledge, the law recognizes that to permit meaningful enforcement a person cannot escape responsibility for a crime by deliberately ignoring facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that a crime is most likely being committed,” the legal analysis stated.
The legal analysis notes that it “has long been the practice of our courts and justice system to decisively and swiftly address matters impacting the validity of ongoing and impending campaigns for public office.”
“Because the GAI Report not only raises issues as to the practices of various Congressional campaigns, but draws into question the integrity of the ongoing campaign for the highest office in the free world, there is every reason to suggest further investigation by the proper authorities," the analysis found.
Among the documents and evidence which could be sought in any investigation could include: email records regarding the campaign’s online fundraising efforts, internal records that could possibly have been used to identify the nationality of online donors, records of donations made through all on-line portals to a campaign and records from card processors.