It’s been reported that Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is knowingly accepting donations from non-U.S. citizens, and PJ Media can confirm that it’s not only possible, but very easy, for foreign citizens to make contributions. I’ve been able to donate $25 to the Obama campaign in three separate transactions, despite being a lifelong British citizen resident in the UK. What’s more, two of my donations were processed despite the Obama campaign noting that I had provided a non-U.S. address, and despite my failure to provide proof of American citizenship when asked to do so.
I first tried to donate on October 6, via the donation page at BarackObama.com, the president’s official re-election campaign website. I entered my name, and my UK street address and city, as I figured that at a minimum I would need to supply these in order for my bank to process the transaction. I also supplied my email address.
However, in order to progress to the next screen I had to provide a U.S. state, postcode, and phone number. I have relatives in Massachusetts, so I chose MA from the list and entered my relatives’ postcode and a variation on their phone number, with the last four numbers changed so the state and area codes would be correct.
I then entered my debit card number (this is a card that draws on my checking account, as distinct from a credit card) and expiration date, but I was not asked to enter the three-digit CVV (card-verification value) number on the back of the card; I had seen reports that the Obama campaign had disabled the requirement to supply this number.
I clicked “donate,” and despite my intention to test the system, I was a little surprised to see that my donation was, initially at least, accepted – I figured it was still possible that the discrepancies in the address would show up. I received an acknowledgement of my donation from the Obama campaign via email, although the email did add that the donation was “subject to review.” I then made a second donation, for $5, so that I could take a screen grab of the page you see below.
As a control, I then tried to make a donation to the Romney campaign, entering the same information. This time, I was asked for the three-digit CVV number, and when I clicked “donate” I was immediately informed that the address I had entered did not match the address on file for the card.
I wasn’t entirely surprised when, on October 9, I received an email from the “compliance” department at the Obama campaign. The email said that, because I’d supplied a foreign address, I would need to supply a copy of the photo page from my U.S. passport in order to comply with Federal Election Commission regulations. I don’t have a U.S. passport of course, so I didn’t respond to the email. (Oddly, the email also said I needed to supply the passport page “even though you provided a passport number when donating online”; I hadn’t supplied a passport number when I donated, or been asked to supply one.)