Robert Roche, a bundler for President Barack Obama's campaign who once owned the mysterious Obama.com redirect site, was a part of the U.S. delegation to China during Vice President Joe Biden's five-day visit to China in 2011.
Roche joined U.S. business leaders like Muhtar Kent, CEO Coca Cola Co., and Richard Lavin, group president of Caterpillar Inc., on the trip.
On Monday, the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) released the findings of a nine-month investigation that found the Obama campaign actually paid millions more in transaction costs for not using security features on its donation pages to prevent fraudulent credit card transactions. The report also found foreign IP addresses made up nearly 70% of visitors to Obama.com, which was owned by Roche. This potentially may make Obama campaign officials liable for violating U.S. laws that prohibit soliciting campaign contributions from foreigners.
But Roche has emerged from the investigation as one of the more intriguing figures.
He co-founded Acorn International in China, a business with direct ties to the state-owned Chinese banking industry, is a resident of China, and yet has been to the White House at least 19 times and was seated at the head table with President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Chinese President Hu Jintao during a 2011 State Dinner.
For someone who just happened to own what the mainstream media and the Obama campaign are trying to brush off as just a redirect site, Roche has received access to some of the most high-profile events involving top Chinese leaders, Obama, and Biden.