As reported by the Washington Post, Senator Barack Hussein Obama’s presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor’s identity, campaign officials confirmed.
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.
Rebecca Donatelli, who handles online contributions for the McCain operation and the RNC, said security measures have been standard in the GOP nominee’s fund-raising efforts throughout the campaign. She said she was “flabbergasted” to learn that the Obama campaign accepts prepaid cards.
“Yes, a gift card would go through the same process as a regular credit card and be subject to our same back-end review,” the Obama campaign said in its response to questions about the use of such cards.
Who accounts for the large donations the Obama campaign has received? CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson asks Center for Responsive Politics’ Sheila Krumholz why the public should know.
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