The Washington Post reported Saturday that a major Obama bundler has been accused of fraud.
New Yorker Abake Assongba has pledged to help PresidentObama win reelection, and as one of his 400 volunteer fundraisers, she has delivered $50,000 tothe cause.But she is also trailed by some controversy, accused in court of defraudinga businessman out of $657,000, impersonating a bank official and dodgingcreditors.
The fraud case is ongoing, though that may not be the biggest problemAssongba has. She and her husband run a children’s charity which issupposedly doing work in the nation of Benin, including building a newschool. However, investigation into the charity by the Post makes it look abit fishy:
When a reporter for The Post visited the address the charitylists for its Benin headquarters, the office was closed. A man who said hewas the foundation’s African coordinator said by telephone that the officehad been closed for a time while he was ill. He declined to identify thelocation of the school the foundation built and said the director of theoffice travels frequently and was not available.
Meanwhile, Assonga and her husband reportedly built themselves a $2 milliondollar home in Florida. But the real issue here is that the Obama campaigndoesn’t appear to be doing much to scrutinize its top donors:
In Assongba’s case, nothing prompted the campaign to turn heraway. But even a cursory look into her background reveals that Assongba doesnot fit the typical mold of a well-to-do bundler.Assongba, who declined to comment, is dogged by a collection agency and acourt order to pay more than $10,000 in unpaid rent for her formerBrooklyn apartment, court records show.
This unpaid rent case is something that an ordinary background check shouldhave turned up. The White House response is that over 1.3 million peoplehave donated to the campaign, but as the Post points out Assongba is on alist of just 400 or so big money donors. Given that this is the second timethe campaign has been caught out on a story like this (they returned$200,000 from the brothers of a Mexican casino owner inFebruary), it seems vetting of top bundlers is something the Obamacampaign has decided to leave to the media.