Report: Nearly Half of Congress Vulnerable to Fraudulent, Foreign Online Donations
A startling report by the Government Accountability Institute finds that almost half (47.3%) of congressional campaign donation websites lack basic anti-fraud credit card security systems common on most e-commerce websites. That, says Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer, leaves federal House and Senate elections vulnerable to illegal foreign or fraudulent credit card contributions.
“Fraudsters and foreign governments have long sought to illegally influence U.S. elections,” Schweizer said in an interview with Breitbart News. “From the Shah of Iran funneling money to Richard Nixon’s campaign, to Johnny Wong and Charlie Trie shuttling funds to Bill Clinton’s election coffers, campaign donor fraud is a bipartisan problem with a long history. But in the Internet age, the threat is now just a click away.”
There are 380 members of the House of Representatives seeking reelection that have active donation pages on the web, and 194 have campaign websites that require donors to enter their credit card security code, known officially as the Card Verification Value (CVV). Of the remaining 186 members of the House of Representatives who lack basic anti-fraud protections, 125 are Democrats and 61 are Republicans.
In the Senate, 25 senators’ campaign donation websites were found to lack basic credit card protections; four are Republicans, 20 are Democrats, and one is an Independent.
The Government Accountability Institute report, titled America the Vulnerable: Are Foreign and Fraudulent Online Contributions Influencing U.S. Elections?, also investigated the donation websites of the two major presidential candidates. Gov. Mitt Romney’s website requires donors to enter the credit card security code. President Barack Obama’s website does not.
“Here’s the good news: it’s a one click solution,” says Schweizer. “Federal candidates simply need to tell their webmasters to do the right thing and turn on CVV protection. The FEC should also require candidates to use basic anti-fraud protection and make publicly available all campaign donations, including those under $200 that are currently kept private.”
To find out if your senator or congressperson is vulnerable to foreign or fraudulent online donations, visit the Government Accountability Institute’s interactive map at www.campaignfundingrisks.com.