The Obama Campaign’s Credit-Card Crack-up
A breakdown of controls has enabled foreign and other unaccountable funds to pour into the Obama campaign — and it's not an accident.
November 2, 2008 - 5:29 am
The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been and may still be accepting credit-card and prepaid-card contributions from overseas. It has done so in a way that may very likely prevent it from refunding the contributions to “donors,” many of whom may have had their credit cards used without their consent. It’s virtually impossible that the system for accepting card contributions was inadvertently set up without adequate controls, and almost certain that existing controls were instead deliberately disabled to create untraceability. Finally, it is likely that the total dollar amounts involved run in millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars.
- “Obama’s overseas (foreign) contributors are making multiple small donations, ostensibly in their own names, over a period of a few days, some under maximum donation allowances, but others are aggregating in excess of the maximums when all added up.”
- The contributions had come from over 50 specifically named countries and major cities.
- Obviously bogus contributor names that a 7 year-old would have known to be fictitious, including “Hbkjb, jkbkj,” “Doodad Pro,” and “Good Will,” were frequent.
- “Thousands of Obama’s foreign donations ended in cents.” U.S. contributors very rarely contribute in anything other than whole dollar amounts, so the reason why contributions would end with anything other than “.00″ would almost always involve foreign currency translation.
In a later post, Geller listed 18 donors who had contributed more than the legal $2,300 limit. “Good Will” and “Doodad Pro” were among them, to the tune of over ten grand each.
You might think “Well that’s pretty bad, but really no big deal, because at some point, Obama will just refund the money.”
In many cases, that does not appear likely.
On October 22, Geller’s “Who Is John Galt?” post revealed information that should have set off alarms in newsrooms across America — namely, that anyone could pretend to be someone else, with someone else’s address, and successfully process a credit-card donation to Obama. Reader Craig reported the following (bold is mine):
I’ve read recent reports of the Obama campaign receiving donations from dubious names and foreign locales and it got me wondering; how is this possible?
I run a small internet business and when I process credit cards I’m required to make sure the name on the card exactly matches the name of the customer making the purchase. Also, the purchasers address must match that of the cardholders. If these don’t match, then the payment isn’t approved. Period. So how is it possible that the Obama campaign could receive donations from fictional people and places? Well, I decided to do a little experiment. I went to the Obama campaign website and entered the following:
Name: John Galt; Address: 1957 Ayn Rand Lane; City: Galts Gulch; State: CO; Zip: 99999
Then I checked the box next to $15 and entered my actual credit card number and expiration date (it didn’t ask for the 3-digit code on the back of the card) and it took me to the next page and “Your donation has been processed. Thank you for your generous gift.”
This simply should not, and could not, happen in any business or any campaign that is honestly trying to vet it’s (sic) donors.
How can this happen? Here’s how (found at the same Atlas post; bolds are mine):
Having worked for companies that process credit cards online, it is necessary to go through and manually disable the safeguards that they put in place to verify a person’s address and zip code with the cardholder’s bank. But international banks don’t currently have the same safeguards that banks in the U.S. have, which also works in the One’s favor.So most likely they’ve disabled the necessary safeguards for U.S. cards …