Earlier today I reported at PJ Media on how I was able to make donations to Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, despite being a British citizen. PJ Media is still waiting for a response from the Obama campaign, but we’re not holding our breath. We’ve also been in touch with the Federal Election Commission and the Government Accountability Institute.
Last night I telephoned the Obama campaign’s donation compliance department. The staffer I spoke to said she would refund my donations, but was unable to explain why they had been processed. She hung up on me when I asked to speak with someone who was authorized to talk to the press. I spoke to a second staffer at Obama HQ in Chicago, who was more helpful. She took my details, and said someone from the press department would phone me back, but they’ve yet to do so.
I’ve also sent emails to the compliance department and the campaign’s press office asking them to comment on my report, and to explain why they continue to accept donations from non-U.S. citizens – and specifically, why they don’t require donors to supply the CVV (card verification value) number for their payment card.
I also contacted the Federal Election Commission. A spokesperson told me that campaigns are only required by law to file with the commission details of individuals contributing more than $200. And they are only required to make “best efforts” to verify the mailing address of those donors; so it’s hard to see how FEC analysts would be able to detect a contribution of, say, $500 from a foreign citizen if they simply supplied a false U.S. address, as I did. Campaigns are required to keep details of individuals contributing lower amounts on file.
The spokesperson could not comment on any investigations currently in progress, saying details would be confidential. She told me that if I wanted to file a complaint, I could do so through the FEC’s normal filing procedure.