November 2, 2008

NEIL MUNRO, NATIONAL JOURNAL: “Amid criticism for failing to identify the hundreds of thousands of low-dollar donors who have boosted his $600 million presidential campaign, Barack Obama has responded that it ‘would be a pretty hard thing for us to be able to process.’ But there is much widely used and inexpensive technology that allows Republican and Democratic campaigns to sort and identify millions of donors and to highlight or exclude overseas contributors. . . . The lack of a computerized address-verification system would allow the Obama campaign’s computers to accept online donations from U.S. citizens above legal limits, and to accept donations from foreigners who are barred by law from contributing at all.”

Meanwhile, reader Joseph Edwards emails:

All these stories about Obama’s campaign contributions (lack of credit card verification, Aunti Zaitun, etc.) prompted me to check Google Trends (http://www.google.com/trends) to see from which countries people are searching for “Donate McCain” versus “Donate Obama.” Check it out yourself. Nothing other than the USA registers for McCain, but a statistically significant number of Canadian and British residents apparently have enough interest in donating to Obama’s campaign they show up as numbers two and three. Somehow I don’t believe these are all US service men and women stationed in Montreal or London who are googling this topic.

He’s right. Here’s “Donate Obama,” and here’s “Donate McCain” on Google Trends. Of course, that just tells you who’s searching, not who’s donating.

UPDATE: Reader Benjamin Sharma writes:

Sure, they’re not US servicemen — but they could be garden-variety expats.

There are over 200,000 Americans in Toronto alone, and 250,000 in London.

And expats are (for whatever reason) something like 80% Democrat.

But when I’ve donated to McCain from up here, they’ve had to jump through hoops — they ended up putting my money through using my last American address. When I thought about donating to Hillary late in the primary season, I saw that they required that it be done by mail, and that I include a photocopy of my passport. (So I didn’t.)

Yeah, the Obama campaign seems much, much laxer.

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