WaPo: Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations

In a sudden flash of journalistic courage, the WaPo goes rogue on Barack Obama (article here) essentially accusing his online contribution system of being ripe for fraud:

Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.

The Obama organization said its extensive review has ensured that the campaign has refunded any improper contributions, and noted that Federal Election Commission rules do not require front-end screening of donations.

In recent weeks, questionable contributions have created headaches for Obama’s accounting team as it has tried to explain why campaign finance filings have included itemized donations from individuals using fake names, such as Es Esh or Doodad Pro. Those revelations prompted conservative bloggers to further test Obama’s finance vetting by giving money using the kind of prepaid cards that can be bought at a drugstore and cannot be traced to a donor.

The problem with such cards, campaign finance lawyers said, is that they make it impossible to tell whether foreign nationals, donors who have exceeded the limits, government contractors or others who are barred from giving to a federal campaign are making contributions.

Nothing new here folks, as you know, we’ve already covered this. Glad to see the WaPo is catching up, better late than never, I guess.

What is interesting, however, is how the Obama campaign seems to employ complete ninnies that are ignorant to the most basic aspects of online credit card processing. Any online small business owner can tell you how lame these comments are:

When asked whether the campaign takes steps to verify whether a donor’s name matches the name on the credit card used to make a payment, Obama’s campaign replied in an e-mail: “Name-matching is not a standard check conducted or made available in the credit card processing industry. We believe Visa and MasterCard do not even have the ability to do this.”

Interesting, yet despite the above and what all good businesses know, there is this:

Juan Proaño, whose technology firm handled online contributions for John Edwards’s presidential primary campaign, and for John F. Kerry’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee in 2004, said it is possible to require donors’ names and addresses to match those on their credit card accounts. But, he said, some campaigns are reluctant to impose that extra layer of security.

Reluctance on fraud security. Sort of like voting ‘no’ to stopping infanticide. Sort of like voting present 130 times. Sort of like having shady friends.

Yes, Obama’s reluctance to anything ethical is exactly why America should not be voting for him.


Hot Air has more discussion here with some credit card fraud expertise here.


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