Patterico's Pontifications


Pew: Romney 49, Obama 45

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:57 pm

With a sizable lead among swing voters on the question of who will help put America back to work, and significant gains among women and younger voters, this is excellent news.

Don’t get cocky, kid.

Report: Obama Campaign Opens Loophole for Illegal Foreign Campaign Donations

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:36 am

Corruption? You betcha:

A new report obtained by Townhall from the non-partisan Government Accountability Institute [GAI] shows the Obama campaign has potentially violated federal election law by failing to prevent the use of fraudulent or foreign credit card transactions on the official Obama for America [OFA] donation webpage.

. . . .

“As FBI surveillance tapes have previously shown, foreign governments understand and are eager to exploit the weaknesses of American campaigns,” the report says. “This, combined with the Internet’s ability to disintermediate campaign contributions on a mass scale, as well as outmoded and lax Federal Election Commission rules, make U.S. elections vulnerable to foreign influence.”

The problem is the campaign’s lack of a CVV requirement — that three or four digit security code on your credit card that merchants always ask for . . . when they care whether your purchase is fraudulent:

OFA seems to be taking advantage of a “foreign donor loophole” by not using CVV on their campaign donation page. When you donate online to the Obama campaign using a credit card, the contribution webpage does not require donors to enter a secure CVV number (also known as CSC, CVV2 or CVN), the three-digit securing code on the back of credit cards. This code, although not 100 percent effective, is used to ensure a person making a purchase physically possesses the card. According to the report, 90 percent of e-commerce and 19 of the 20 largest charities in the United States use a CVV code, making its use standard industry practice in order to prevent fraud. Another anti-fraud security measure includes software, better known as an Address Verification System, to verify a donor’s address matches the address on file with the credit card company. The investigation could not determine whether OFA is using this type of software to prevent fraudulent or illegal donations.

Because of the lack of a CVV code requirement, the door is opened for OFA to accept robo-donations, or in other words, large numbers of small and automatic donations made online to evade FEC reporting requirements. Although it isn’t illegal to decline the use of a secure CVV credit card code for campaign donations, it is illegal to accept campaign donations from foreign sources. Campaigns are required under criminal code not to solicit, accept or receive foreign donations in any amount. The Federal Elections Commission doesn’t require campaigns to disclose the names of donors making contributions of less than $200 unless audited. In addition, FEC rules don’t require campaigns to keep records of those giving less than $50. These rules combined with the lack of a CVV numbers make it easy for campaigns to get away with taking foreign donations.

I demonstrated this on my blog yesterday, with screenshots. I went to Obama’s website, said I wanted to donate $3, and entered fraudulent information. I got to the point where they wanted me to hit the donate button (which I did not do), and was never asked for a security code. Here was my first page entry:

Then I entered my credit card number and expiration date (no screenshot of that, sorry!), and I then got this page, asking for my employer and occupation, which I duly filled in with more fraudulent information:

Whether the donation would have worked, I don’t know. I didn’t want to hit the donate button as I was afraid I would be running afoul of the law if I did. However, if I were in the government doing an official investigation, it would have been simple to do, and see if the donation went through. That’s why it’s frustrating to read that “[t]he investigation could not determine whether OFA is using [address verification] software to prevent fraudulent or illegal donations.” Why not?

If my commenter John Cunningham is telling the truth, I could have donated $3 as Nosuch Person and it would have gone through. Here is what he said on my blog yesterday:

There can be no doubt that the Obama web site is wide open for foreign money and fraud. I was over at a buddy’s house a month ago, I watched him log onto the Obama site, use his Visa card to donate $5, with no request for security code. he was moved to a page that asked for his personal info.

He entered Josef Stalin, Apt. 2, the Kremlin, Red Square, Moscow. Job–General Secretary. Employer: Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

It took the donation. his account was charged a couple of days later.

By the way, the Romney campaign? They require the CVV:


The Obama campaign knows exactly what they’re doing — because they did it in 2008. And virtually nobody in Big Media called them on it then.

So why not repeat it? What, because of ethics, or morals, or something?


UPDATE: It is probably worth noting that we have also learned today that a major bundler for Obama has ties to the Chinese government. Cue the crickets . . .

Shocka: Obama Supported Campus Speech Codes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:09 am

At the Daily Caller, Charles C. Johnson (the “good” Charles Johnson) writes of Obama’s past support for campus speech codes:

At the height of early-1990s conservative backlash over political correctness and “speech codes” on U.S. college campuses, Barack Obama participated in a panel event geared toward denying that restrictions on free expression were problematic, or happening at all.

The 1991 Harvard Law School yearbook quoted the future President of the United States virtually shrugging his shoulders at the thought that non-liberal white students might take offense at restrictions on speech that minority students found objectionable. “I don’t see a lot of conservatives getting upset if minorities feel silenced,” Obama said, flipping the argument around.

This is no great surprise, and yet, it’s important to bear in mind. Obama comes from an intellectual tradition where it is acceptable to put un-American restraints on speech if doing so makes minorities feel more comfortable. And he argues that, sure, we’re silencing people . . . but they do it to us. Accusing others (often falsely) of engaging in oppression, to justify doing the same thing in response, is, of course, the classic argument of anyone rationalizing a thuggish tactic.

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