Republicans want probe into ‘illegal donations’ to Obama

October 6th, 2008 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Oct 6 (IANS) Republicans have accused Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign of receiving funds from suspicious donors who might have links to terrorism and called on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to investigate the matter, the Washington Post reported Monday.”We believe that the American people should know first and foremost if foreign money is pouring into a presidential election,” Sean Cairncross, the Republican National Committee’s chief counsel, said while demanding an inquiry into the source of thousands of small contributions to the Obama campaign.

There is mounting evidence that the Obama campaign was so hungry for donations that it “looked the other way” as contributions piled up from suspicious donors, and possibly even from overseas, which would be illegal, Cairncross said.

He pointed to a report in the current issue of Newsweek magazine that claimed several individual donors using fake names such as Good Will and Doodad Pro had made repeated contribution to the Democrats’ campaign.

According to FEC auditors, the Good Will contributed more than $11,000 to the Democrats while Doodad Pro paid over $17,130 - far above the maximum allowable individual contribution of $2,300.

Earlier this year, the magazine also reported that two Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip paid $33,000 for a bulk order of T-shirts from the campaign’s online store. Those purchases count as contributions and the campaign later returned the money after knowing from when the order had come.

“While no organisation is completely protected from Internet fraud, we will continue to review our fundraising procedures,” Obama’s spokesperson Ben LaBolt told the magazine then.

As per the fundraising rule by the FEC, a campaign can accept donations of not more than $200 without disclosing the donor’s name and address on its finance reports, according to the newspaper.

But the Republicans allege that the Obama campaign has raised millions of dollars as small donations that will not be subject to outside scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Obama campaign aides said Sunday that a number of steps have been taken to safeguard against foreign or illegal contributions.

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