In September, the Obama campaign collected $2,199,204.38 in donations with non-existent or invalid ZIP codes. The Romney campaign’s September total: just $29,620.
The revelation comes from a Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report to be issued tomorrow that combed the Federal Election Commission (FEC) data to determine the effectiveness of each campaign’s donation security system.
“The use of a robust Address Verification System (AVS) would significantly minimize donations with invalid zip codes from slipping through the net,” said GAI President Peter Schweizer. “When you use your credit card at a pay-at-the-pump gas station, you have to enter your zip code. Enter the wrong number or none at all, your transaction is denied. If that’s the standard to buy gas, surely it’s reasonable to expect the same for donating to federal candidates.”
Obama for America claims it does, in fact, use an AVS system to process its online donations, as well as a “manual process to review any transaction flagged by AVS.” But as e-commerce experts note, AVS systems have a range of settings that allow wide latitude in determining which transactions will be blocked or accepted.
Since February 2012, the Obama campaign has received a total of $2,983,854.78 in donations with invalid ZIP codes, versus the Romney campaign’s $244,287.01—a figure one-twelfth of Obama’s.
The GAI report also includes an analysis of the 2008 presidential campaign. There again, the Obama campaign collected far more donations with invalid ZIP codes than did Republican presidential challenger Sen. John McCain. The figures: $2,778,808.97 for Obama and $431,046 for McCain.
Earlier this month the GAI released its 108-page report, America The Vulnerable: Are Foreign and Fraudulent Online Campaign Contributions Influencing U.S. Elections?, which found that nearly half (47.3%) of the U.S. Congress have donation websites lacking basic anti-fraud protections that make them vulnerable to foreign and fraudulent online donations.
The GAI investigation also revealed that Obama.com is owned by an Obama bundler living in China with business ties to the Chinese government.