Human Events Blog

“Osama bin Laden” donates to the Obama campaign

The scandal nobody in the media wants to talk about rolls on, as Aaron Klein, Jerusalem bureau chief of World Net Daily, reports no difficulty when using “a Pakistani Internet Protocol and proxy server, a disposable credit card, and a fake address” to make a donation to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign under the name “Osama bin Laden.”

The World Net Daily staff actually had the cheek to give Mr. bin Laden’s occupation as “deceased terror chief,” and list “al-Qaida” as his employer.  The phony address given was “911 Jihad Way, Abottabad, CA 91101.”  (Is the WND staff certain that isn’t a real address, somewhere on the outskirts of Berkeley?)

The sole attempt made by Obama’s campaign website to ensure this was a legal U.S. donation was a menu listing only American zip codes… but no effort was made to compare the zip code to the listed city and state, an elementary act of computer programming.  At no point was the security code for the credit card requested – a minimal security precaution taken by over 90 percent of online retailers, including the merchandise shop on Obama’s campaign site.

The Obama campaign accepted the bin Laden money without complaint, and promptly began sending him email solicitations for further donations.  The Gmail address given for the illegal donation was “osama4obama2012.”

It’s not just Obama’s campaign raking in illegal foreign donations.  Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart.com reports that fabled Champion of the Little Guy… that fierce class warrior decked out in ersatz Indian war paint… that fabled consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren has been setting a few unsavory records in her Massachusetts Senate campaign.  She has the most money raised in a single election cycle by a candidate for the United States Senate from online sites vulnerable to fraud and foreign donations, and highest percentage of money raised in a single election cycle by a candidate for the United States Senate online sites vulnerable to fraud and foreign donations as a percentage of total funds raised.  That’s $18.3 million that could have come from anyone, anywhere.  And unlike the thwarted “consumer czar” he’s running against, Republican Scott Brown does perform basic security tests on his online donations.

Campaign finance reform is a long-running media obsession, but when it comes to the most blatant, easily-prevented abuse we’ve ever seen, they couldn’t care less.  Any network news anchor could duplicate the test World Net Daily performed, which is just a more sarcastic version of donation tests performed by a few watchdog groups and conservative bloggers.   But when the media talks about “campaign finance reform,” they really mean legislation that would enhance their own influence, such as Obama’s occasional pledges to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision with a constitutional amendment.  They’re not even mildly curious that the man who thinks only media corporations are entitled to political speech is cheerfully willing to accept donations from mysterious foreign sources… or, evidently, foreign sources that openly declare themselves to be undead terrorist masterminds.

Update: Another test of the Obama campaign’s nonexistent defenses against illegal foreign donations came from British journalist Mike McNally, who was able to successfully process three separate illegal donations, as chronicled at PJ Media.  McNally didn’t parade through the Obama donation system waving huge red flags like the World Net Daily team, but his donations were nonetheless clearly outside the law.  He was swiftly and efficiently prevented from making similar donations to the Romney campaign.

After the donations were processed, McNally got an email from the “compliance department” of the Obama campaign, asking for copies of his passport information – a response that seemed to assume he was a U.S. citizen living abroad, and all the more unusual in light of the Obama donation system’s failure to ask him for a passport number.)  McNally ignored the letter, and made further donations with an entirely fictitious U.S. address instead of the U.K. address on file with his bank.  These donations were accepted without complaint by Team Obama.

His subsequent efforts to obtain a refund didn’t get far, and his complaint to the Federal Election Commission elicited a shrug.  It seems that as long as individual donation amounts are kept below $200, huge amounts of illegal money can be moved into the Obama campaign below the FEC radar, without consequence.  And a little simple Web programming can get a lot of money moving in $199 chunks.

None of this is really a new story – the Obama campaign had similar problems with questionable donations in 2008.  Our government passes thousands of pages of tortured campaign finance law, some of which turn into wet tissue paper upon contact with the First Amendment, but it won’t pass a one-page law mandating basic security procedures for credit card donations, with swift and terminal consequences for any campaign that fails to comply.  Somehow our gigantic federal bureaucracy can’t muster enough manpower to do the kind of policing that bloggers are doing in their spare time.  And it’s far too late to do anything about Obama’s campaign finances now.  What would happen if Obama wins re-election, and sometime in January the FEC announces the results of some long-running investigation that proves he was taking illegal money?  There’s no way on Earth that the election results would be overturned, or the re-elected President would suffer any personal legal consequences… and what lesser penalty would make it truly unthinkable for future campaigns to play fast and loose with foreign donations?

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