The Obama campaign is starting to face some questions about why its website has disabled all the basic protections against fraud. It makes their website very friendly to illegal and fraudulent contributions. Setting aside credit card fraud and foreign contributions, its easy to break up large donations into many small ones and they’ll be accepted. When combined with his refusal to release the names of his donors, it makes it look deliberate.
Obama’s defense is “the other guy does it too.” That’s not much of a defense, especially when the other guy actually doesn’t do it too.
When you couple this with Obama’s record fundraising, raising more in a month than McCain is spending overall, you can’t help wondering how much his haul is illegal. That’s the sort of question the media would ordinarily be eager to investigate.
UPDATE: The Washington Post reports:
Sen. Barack Obama’s record-breaking $150 million fundraising performance in September has for the first time prompted questions about whether presidential candidates should be permitted to collect huge sums of money through faceless credit card transactions over the Internet.
Lawyers for both the Republican and Democratic parties have asked the Federal Election Commission to examine the issue, pointing to dozens of examples of what they say are lax screening procedures by the presidential campaigns that permitted donors using false names or stolen credit cards to make contributions. . .
While the potentially fraudulent or excessive contributions represent about 1 percent of Obama’s staggering haul, the security challenge is one of several major campaign-finance-related questions raised by the Democrat’s fundraising juggernaut.
Concerns about anonymous donations seeping into the campaign began to surface last month, mainly on conservative blogs. Some bloggers described their own attempts to display the flaws in Obama’s fundraising program, donating under such obviously phony names as Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and reported that the credit card transactions were permitted.
Obama officials said it should be obvious that it is as much in their campaign’s interest as it is in the public’s interest for fake contributions to be turned back, and said they have taken pains to establish a barrier to prevent them. Over the course of the campaign, they said, a number of additional safeguards have been added to bulk up the security of their system.
Perhaps a good “additional safeguard” would be to reactivate the standard precautions that they disabled. And the 1% figure was provided by the Obama campaign, with no evidence (reported by the Post) to back up the figure.