Team Obama have taken advantage of two gaping holes in the laws..gaping, that is if you're determined to circumvent them based on an 'any means to an end' philosophy.
The first hole involves the fact that donations under $200 need not be reported. A campaign is required by law to keep a record of these donations to make sure that no one donor contributes say, fifty $200 donations to go over the $2,300 limit. We'll discuss how the Obama campaign dealt with that issue shortly.
The second hole involves a practice known as 'bundling.' Simply put, it means that one person may circumvent the maximum personal donation rule by submitting a maximum personal donation for themselves, their spouses, their adult and not so adult children, people who later turn out to be the gardener or the nanny, the family dog....
Here's how the Obama campaign has dealt with both the spirit and the letter of the law calling for transparency in campaign finance. Most of Obama's campaign donations have been raised over the web via credit cards. Taking credit card payments automatically involves built-in safeguards that match credit card numbers to names and addresses (known as the Address Verification System or AVS) that are part of the vendor set up that allow credit cards to be accepted as payment.
If there's a discrepancy...say, if you buy something over the net in the name of Joe Stalin and/or give a different address than the one on the card, the red flag goes up.
As Scott Johnson of Powerline reveals in today's New York Post, what the Obama campaign did was not only to disable those safeguards so donations could be made via fraudulent names and addresses, but to purge most of the records to camouflage this:
The Federal Election Commission says the Obama campaign has reported well over $200 million as coming from contributions of $200 or less. Only a small portion of that sum is attributable to donors the Obama campaign has disclosed.
No presidential campaign has ever before received such a gargantuan sum of money from unidentified contributors.
The campaign's records reveal big contributors with names like "Doodad Pro" (employer: "Loving," profession: "You") and "Good Will" (same employer and profession). Both donated via credit card. Other reports have suggested that some donations come from overseas - raising the question of whether Obama is accepting donations from foreigners, another violation of federal law.
All of which prompted an enterprising citizen to test the controls put in place to enforce compliance with federal campaign law by the Obama and McCain campaigns. Last Thursday, he decided to conduct an experiment.
He went to the Obama campaign Web site and made a donation under the name "John Galt" (the hero of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged"). He provided the equally fictitious address "1957 Ayn Rand Lane, Galts Gulch, CO 99999."
He checked the box next to $15 and entered his actual credit-card number and expiration date. He was then taken to the next page and notified that his donation had been processed.
He then tried the same experiment on the McCain site, which rejected the transaction. He returned to the Obama site and made three more donations using the names Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Bill Ayers, all with different addresses but the same credit card. The transactions all went through. By Saturday, he'd reported that the transactions had all posted to his credit-card account.
Others repeated "John Galt's" experiment last week, giving to Obama under such fictitious names as Della Ware, Joe Plumber, Idiot Savant, Ima BadDonation (with a Canadian bank card) and Fake Donor.
This had to have been done deliberately by the campaign because AVS is a default system that would need to be overridden manually not to kick in.
The Obama campaign is knowingly operating a system that is designed to evade campaign finance regulations on contribution limits, fake donors and illegal foreign contributions.
Pam over at Atlas has more, and she was one of the first to break this story.
Like Obama's $825,000 donation to ACORN, this is a deliberate attempt to subvert our democracy and the election process.
And the fact that they're quite willing to do so in order to gain power should give you a clear warning about how Team Obama plans to govern.
UPDATE: CBS felt they fulfilled their journalistic duty by barely mentioning this story in passing for maybe twenty seconds, tops....so let's all move along now.
If the McCain campaign had done half of this #@@!, it would have been the lead story with ten minutes worth of coverage. Guaranteed.