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Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama presidential campaign 2008

Group Warns of Foreign, Fraudulent Donors to Obama Campaign

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Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008


A conservative political watchdog group is raising the prospect of an “illegal-donor loophole” in the nation’s campaign finance system, and suggesting the grassroots-donor-heavy Obama Campaign may stand to benefit.

In a 109-page report published at a new website, the Government Accountability Institute alleges the current online campaign contribution system lacks accountability and transparency, making it highly susceptible to foreign and fraudulent gifts.

The report’s focus is President Obama’s re-election campaign, which has collected historic sums from online fundraising, relying predominantly on donors who give in small-dollar increments.

Obama and Democrats announced last week that they raised $181 million in September – more than any incumbent president has raised for his re-election in a single month.  The funds poured in through more than 1.8 million transactions, 98 percent of which were in increments of $250 or less, officials said.

“Campaigns that aggressively raise money online are soliciting donations from people around the world–whether they intend to or not,” writes GAI president Peter Schweizer and Newsweek reporter Peter J. Boyer in a post on the report at Newsweek/Daily Beast.

The report suggests the Obama campaign is uninhibited in its foreign solicitations, lacks rigorous screening for donors’ citizenship and fails to impose basic e-commerce safeguards, such as requiring donors to provide the Card Verification Value (the security code on the back of a card) to prove a donor is in physical possession of the card.

Under U.S. federal election law, contributions from foreign nationals to presidential campaigns are forbidden.

“People around the world are being asked for donations by the campaigns themselves, simply because they signed up for information on campaign websites,” Schweizer and Boyer write. “The problem: candidate webpages don’t ask visitors from foreign IP addresses to enter a military ID or passport number. Instead, the websites use auto-responder email systems that simply gather up email addresses and automatically spit out solicitations.”

The authors claim the current system is also subject to “robo-donoations”- computer-driven giving to a campaign through various aliases to evade contribution limits and avoid detection. The Federal Election Commission conducts little to no oversight of internet fundraising practices, leaving each campaign to police itself, the report claims.

Schweizer and Boyer present no hard data that show Obama’s 2012 campaign has benefited from widespread foreign or fraudulent donations. They also acknowledge that Republican nominee Mitt Romney could theoretically take advantage of the “loopholes,” as well. The report only purports to illustrate that the possibility for fraud exists.

Conservative blogger Erick Erickson of, however, tested out the Obama campaign’s online contribution system and documented the apparent ease with which someone with a foreign mailing address and fraudulent passport number could make a gift via credit card.  Erickson concedes, however, that his contribution was ultimately rejected by his bank.

In a post on its “Truth Team” blog, the Obama campaign called the GAI report and its insinuations politically-motivated, citing a history of right-leaning political activism by authors Schweizer and the Government Accountability Institute.

The blog states that “Obama for America” does not accept contributions from foreign nationals and takes voluntary steps to ensure that the campaign is in compliance with federal election law.  At the campaign’s Chicago headquarters, staff manually review each transaction flagged as potentially fraudulent by their third-party credit card processing service, officials wrote.

The president’s campaign also requires a copy of a valid passport from any apparently eligible contributor with a foreign mailing address or from a contributor making a gift from a foreign IP address, according to the post.  “If they do not offer one in a timely manner, the donation is returned,” the campaign says.

While no campaign can control who visits their websites, OFA is in no way directing solicitations to foreign nationals nor knowingly seeking foreign contributions—that is the legal standard,” the Obama camp says on its blog.

Why Romney is losing must-win Ohio

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Why Romney is losing must-win Ohio

By Peter Hamby, CNN Political Reporter
updated 9:33 AM EDT, Wed September 26, 2012
GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will campaign on Wednesday in Ohio, where he trails President Barack Obama in polls.

(CNN) — Polls show Mitt Romney trailing President Barack Obama in just about every one of the swing states where the 2012 campaign is being waged.

But Romney appears to be in deeper trouble in Ohio than elsewhere, an alarming development for Republicans who know that the candidate’s White House chances begin and end with the kind of middle-class voters who reside in places such as Akron, Cincinnati and Zanesville.

So why exactly is Romney trailing?

Two surveys released in recent days, one from the Ohio Newspaper Association and another from The Washington Post, crystallized the challenge facing Romney as he embarks on his second straight day of campaigning in the Buckeye State.

The topline numbers — Obama led by 5 points among likely voters in the Ohio poll, and a startling 8 points in the Post poll — only tell part of the story.

Fresh polls give Obama advantage in four battleground states

Romney’s favorable rating is underwater. Almost two-thirds of voters approve of Obama’s decision to bail out the auto industry, a staple of Ohio’s manufacturing economy. The president leads Romney by a wide margin on the question of who would do more to help the middle class.

And when voters are asked which candidate would do a better job handling the economy, Obama has a sturdy lead, undercutting the thematic premise of Romney’s candidacy.

Romney aide: Obama ‘spiking football’ early in Ohio

Interviews with some two dozen Republican strategists and elected officials across Ohio revealed an array of explanations — and no easy answers — for Romney’s failure to catch on there.

Some pointed to the Obama campaign’s aggressive effort to hang Romney’s opposition to the federal bailout of Chrysler and General Motors around his neck. Others said a hangover remains from the divisive 2011 battle over collective bargaining rights that hurt the GOP’s standing with working class voters.

A handful of GOP strategists blamed Romney’s standing on campaign staffers who aren’t Ohio natives.

One longtime Republican strategist griped about the “arrogant top-down” approach of the Romney team and said they have done a poor job listening to the advice of savvy Ohio strategists — a charge rebuffed by Romney aides who point out that field staffers from the Ohio offices of Sen. Rob Portman and House Speaker John Boehner have come on board.

Still others cited Romney’s lackluster political skills and said his stiff CEO demeanor as a turnoff for Ohioans, with one Republican officeholder saying that former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour wasn’t far off when he said recently that Romney is being caricatured as “a plutocrat married to a known equestrian.”

A man without a message

The main criticism that emerged, though, is that Romney is man without a message.

“We are still at a point where I think it’s still a winnable race for Romney,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “Generally when you talk people, there is a feeling that Obama hasn’t done that great a job. But Romney hasn’t made the sale. He still can. But he hasn’t made the sale yet.”

Another statewide Republican officeholder who — like others interviewed for this article — did not want to be identified criticizing the Republican ticket, offered a blunter assessment.

Both Romney and Obama, this official argued, have provided nothing but “narrow arguments” and “fantasy land” policy prescriptions for the country.

Opinion: Can Romney get back on track?

“Why is Mitt Romney running for president and what will his presidency be about?” the official asked. “I don’t think most Republicans in Ohio can answer that question. He has not made a compelling case for his candidacy. Don’t make your campaign about marginal tax rates. Make it about your children and your grandchildren and the future of this country.”

Romney is adjusting. The campaign, prevented from spending general election funds until after the Republican National Convention concluded in late August, launched its first statewide television buy of the campaign last week.

The former Massachusetts governor has also intensified his rhetoric on trade, long a potent issue in Ohio, accusing the president of failing to stand up to China and costing Americans jobs.

But Romney’s argument du jour — he has spent a week attacking the president’s handling of foreign policy and the recent turmoil in the Middle East — isn’t likely to resonate in Ohio as much as a concise and aggressive jobs-themed message, Republicans said.

Several Ohio GOP operatives even credited the Obama campaign for presenting a more consistent economic argument.

Fallout over bailout

Obama forces have persistently reminded voters about the auto bailout — on television and in small-scale earned media events around the state — and Republicans faulted Romney for failing to develop a succinct response to the criticism in a state where one out of every eight jobs is tied to the auto sector.

Romney wrote a New York Times op-ed in 2008 titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” and argued for a managed bankruptcy for the industry, without the use of government funds. In May, he took credit for proposing the bankruptcy idea. In August, he tapped a running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who voted in favor of bailout.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign has aired multiple TV ads on the issue and synced their pro-bailout message with down-ballot Democratic candidates such as Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Poll: Brown ahead of GOP challenger in Ohio Senate race

Labor organizations are leaving thousands of bailout-themed doorknob hangers and making phone calls to union members highlighting Obama’s support for the auto industry.

According to The Washington Post poll, 64% of Ohio registered voters view the federal loans to GM and Chrysler as “mostly good” for the state’s economy. Only 29% said the bailout was “mostly bad.”

Putting a finer point on the matter, one longtime Ohio GOP strategist called Obama’s advantage on the auto bailout “a kick in the balls” for the Romney campaign.

Ground operation a bright spot for Romney

One aspect of the Romney operation that earned praise from Republicans is the campaign’s ground game, which has made more than 3 million volunteer voter contacts so far this year and knocked on 28 times as many doors in Ohio as John McCain’s campaign did in 2008.

“It’s one of the better operations in the country, as it always is,” Romney’s political director Rich Beeson told CNN. “Ohio has always led the way and it is again this cycle.”

The so-called “victory effort” — a joint venture of the Romney campaign, Republican National Committee and Ohio Republican Party — has 40 offices statewide.

The Obama operation, which has been deeply embedded in the state for four years, has more than twice that number. But the Romney campaign has managed to keep pace with the president’s voter contact effort, data from to the Post poll revealed Tuesday.

The humming ground effort, combined with Ohio’s traditional GOP lean and what’s expected to be a more animated conservative base than in 2008, has Republicans confident that the final margin on Election Day will be much closer than the 5, 6 or 7-point Obama lead seen in recent public polls.

“Nobody will win Ohio by 5,” said Mike Weaver, a Republican consultant with more than two decades of campaign experience in the state. “Anybody who tells you that doesn’t know Ohio. This state is too close. It’s too divided. It will not be Obama by 5 or Romney by 5.”

Weaver complimented the Romney campaign effort and predicted a 2-point victory for Republicans in November but advised the GOP nominee to spend more time in the state and rely less on scripted remarks before large crowds.

“I think they need to get Romney here in Ohio more, and talking off the cuff more,” he said. “I think he is a sincere guy, and I think the more he talks off the cuff, the more people will like him.”

Another Ohio Republican strategist said Romney should begin dispatching his wife, Ann, to the suburbs of Cleveland and Columbus, where there is “room for improvement” — a nice way of saying that Obama has a double-digit lead among women voters in Ohio, according to the Post poll.

A lingering complication for Romney’s argument in Ohio is the improving state economy.

Romney: My ads have been ‘spot on’

Mixed message from Kasich irks GOP

Republican Gov. John Kasich’s relentless boosterism for the uptick in Ohio job creation runs counter to the national Republican message that Obama’s policies have kept the economy from bouncing back.

The statewide unemployment rate has fallen to 7.2%, roughly a point below the national average. In bellwether central Ohio, home to the capital city of Columbus and its thriving suburbs, the jobless rate fell to 5.9% in August.

Kasich is not shy about talking up Ohio’s job growth, even if it muddles the Romney campaign’s arguments about the state of the national economy.

At a recent campaign event in conservative Owensville, a fiery Kasich boasted that “Ohio is rocking!” — moments before turning the microphone over to Paul Ryan, who proceeded to issue dire warnings about Obama’s economic policies.

The mixed messaging has rankled Republicans in the Romney and Kasich camps. Both sides have done their best to keep the tensions under wraps, but they occasionally spill over into public view.

Rex Elsass, Kasich’s media consultant and a longtime adviser, told CNN that Romney is “running counter to the reality and the perception of people in Ohio.”

“Romney would do better if he stood on John Kasich’s shoulders and said, ‘Here’s an example of a state that’s doing better with job creation, in spite of what the president is doing,’ ” Elsass said.

“When you run advertising here that’s running in the rest of the country, it’s inconsistent with how people are feeling about Ohio, that things are getting better,” he continued. “If you’re just telling people things are getting worse and you throw in a graphic at the end of the ad that says ‘Ohio,’ that’s not a state-specific message and it’s not working here.”

Romney has, in fact, complimented Kasich’s economic development efforts in a spate of local interviews and at campaign events — and there are no accounts of personal animosity between the two men.

But Republicans close to the campaign have groused privately that Kasich is bringing little to the Romney effort beyond appearing at campaign events, while Boehner, Portman and a handful of other statewide officials have loaned manpower and money to the fight.

Portman, for instance, has turned himself into one of Romney’s most reliable allies on the campaign trail, hosting more than 20 fundraisers and raising more than $2 million for the campaign.

Romney praises debate practice partner Portman

One Washington-based GOP operative involved in the campaign and closely watching Ohio accused Kasich of not doing enough to help Romney win the state.

“No single swing state Republican has been less willing to criticize President Obama at important junctures in this campaign than John Kasich,” the Republican told CNN. “Anyone who doesn’t want an Obama second term should be furious at him.”

Influence Explored: Obama’s Bundler List

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Influence Explored: Obama’s Bundler List

July 15, 2011, 5:48 p.m.               

President Barack Obama leans back in his chair while on the phone in the Oval Office.


Earlier this year the Obama campaign released a list of 244 fundraisers who have bundled thousands of dollars in donations to the president’s victory fund. This is an excellent opportunity to use the Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Explorer and Transparency Data tools to dig into the connections and past contributions of these masterful rainmakers.

It’s a veritable rolodex of the rich and powerful across the country – among them you’ll notice a CEO, editor, former politician and even a former lobbyist. Have fun and beware duplicate names in the always imperfect campaign data!

Update: Based on comparisons to the list of bundlers in Obama’s 2008 campaign we found that there are 109 repeat bundlers so far for 2012.

Amount Raised: $50,000-$100,000

First Name Last Name City State
Naomi Aberly Dallas TX
Joyce Aboussie St. Louis MO
Michael Adler Miami Beach FL
Scott Allen Bethesda MD
Jeremy Alters Hallandale Beach FL
Joe Andrew Potomac MD
Jim Apteker Brookline MA
Abake Assongba Brooklyn NY
Colleen Bell Los Angeles CA
Daniel Berger Philadelphia PA
Anthony Brown Mitchellville MD
Dwight Bush Washington DC
Peter Buttenwieser Philadelphia PA
Ken Canfield Atlanta GA
Frank Clark Chicago IL
Steve Cohen Chicago IL
Michael Coles Atlanta GA
Cheryl Cronin Boston MA
James Crown Chicago IL
Donna Curling Roswell GA
Stephen Davis San Francisco CA
Robert Justin Day Tallahassee FL
Robert Donovan Jackson Heights NY
Patricia Edington Mobile AL
Matt Ellis Austin TX
Ari Emanuel Beverly Hills CA
Fred Eychaner Chicago IL
John Fish Roxbury MA
Andrew Fishman Weston CT
Cynthia Friedman Palm Beach FL
David Gail Dallas TX
Steve Goldman New York NY
Richard Gray Short Hills NJ
Patrick Guarasci Milwaukee WI
David and Marty Hamamoto New York NY
Ann Hamilton Pasadena CA
David Hill Silver Spring MD
Don Hinkle Tallahassee FL
Gary Hirshberg Concord NH
Paul Horning Atlanta GA
Teena Hostovich La Canada CA
Kevin Jennings New York NY
Orlan Johnson Bowie MD
David Kenney Denver CO
Terry Kramer Piedmont CA
Mary Lang Sollinger Madison WI
Suzi LeVine Seattle WA
Michael Lynton Los Angeles CA
Kerman Maddox Los Angeles CA
William and Molly Mahoney Chicago IL
Mark and Marianna McCall Manchester CT
Greg McCurdy New York NY
Cappy McGarr Dallas TX
Gerry McGowan Arlington VA
Thomas McLain Los Angeles CA
Lynn Meredith Austin TX
Kelly Meyer Malibu CA
Eric Mindich New York NY
Judd Miner Chicago IL
Mike Mogull Miami Beach FL
John Morgan Lake Mary FL
Steven Newmark New York NY
John Oram Beverly Hills MI
Stephen Pajcic Jacksonville FL
Yolanda “Cookie” Parker Los Angeles CA
Shaunda Patterson-Strachan Washington DC
Dean Phillips Minneapolis MN
Roberto Prats San Juan PR
Shefali Razdan Duggal San Francisco CA
Judith and William Scheide Princeton NJ
Paul Schmitz Milwaukee WI
Shonda Scott Oakland CA
John Scully Mill Valley CA
Noah Shaw Boston MA
Diana Shaw Clark London United Kingdom
Dixon Slingerland Los Angeles CA
David Solow Chicago IL
Kavita Tankha Los Altos Hills CA
Justin Tanner Roswell GA
Grace Tsao-Wu Chicago IL
Tina Walls Denver CO
Hope Warschaw Santa Monica CA
Daniel Weiss Los Angeles CA
Linda Whitlock Newton MA
Judith and Gerald Zarin and Rosenfeld New York NY
Joseph and Deanna Zednik Bonita Springs FL
Robert Zimmerman New York NY

Amount Raised: $100,000-$200,000

First Name Last Name City State
Gerald and Barry Acker and Goodman Huntington Woods MI
Simon Ahn Atanta GA
Clarence Avant Beverly Hills CA
Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley Washington DC
Virginia Bauer Red Bank NJ
Terry Bean Portland OR
Mitchell Berger Parkland FL
Andi and Tom Bernstein New York NY
Peter Beshar Rye NY
Stephen Bittel Miami Beach FL
Charles Robert Bone Nashville TN
James “Wally” and Bob Brewster and Satawake Chicago IL
Frank Brosens Bedford NY
Justin Buell San Francisco CA
David Burd Washington DC
Belinda Coleman Upper Marlborough MD
Les Coney Chicago IL
John Crumpler Durham NC
Becky Draper San Francisco CA
Douglas Dunham New York NY
Leni Eccles Belvedere CA
Joseph Falk Miami FL
Chip Forrester Nashville TN
Bill Freeman Nashville TN
David Friedman Longmont CO
Louis & Carol Frillman Seattle WA
Carol Fulp Boston MA
Doug and Lisa Goldman San Francisco CA
Mark and Wendy Gorenberg and Wanderman San Francisco CA
John Gorman Austin TX
Chad Griffin Beverly Hills CA
Carol Hamilton Beverly Hills CA
Craig Hanson Menlo Park CA
Scott Harris Washington DC
Karen Harris Cape Elizabeth ME
Anne Hess New York NY
Vicki Heyman Chicago IL
Sharon Hoffman Kansas City MO
Kate Hughes Princeton NJ
Wayne Jordan Oakland CA
Henry Kang New York NY
Janet Keller Laguna Beach CA
Charles and Marie Kireker Weybridge VT
Michael Kong Los Angeles CA
Andrew Korge Coral Gables FL
Chris Korge Miami FL
Sarah Kovner New York NY
Marc Lasry New York NY
Michael and Mattie Lawson Los Angeles CA
Chad Leat New York NY
Steve Lerner Chapel Hill NC
Cliff Levine Pittsburgh PA
Mel Levine Pacific Palisades CA
Kathy Levinson Los Altos CA
Andra Liemandt Austin TX
Jamie and Michael Lynton Los Angeles CA
Alice & Bill Mahoney New Canaan CT
Marissa Mayer San Francisco CA
Shaw McDermott Dedham MA
Bonnie Monks Portland ME
Bruce and Jim Murray Charlottesville VA
Mike Muse New York NY
Steven Myers Corona Del Mar CA
Crystal Nix-Hines Canoga Park CA
Kristin Oblander Atlanta GA
Lazar Palnick Pittsburgh PA
Micahel Parham Seattle WA
Carol Pensky Washington DC
John Phillips Washington DC
Abigail and FJ Pollak Coral Springs FL
Penny Pritzker Chicago IL
Laura Ricketts Chicago IL
Nelson Rising La Canada CA
Israel Roizman Lafayette Hill PA
Greg Rosenbaum Bethesda MD
Laura Ross New York NY
Jamie Rubin New York NY
Rusty Rueff Hillsborough CA
Andy and Tamar Schapiro and Newberger Chicago IL
Jay Snyder New York NY
Jeff Soref New York NY
Earl and Amanda Stafford McLean VA
Marc Stanley Dallas TX
Bobby Stein Jacksonville FL
Joshua Steiner New York NY
Sandi Thompson Woodside CA
James Torrey Greenwich CT
Andrew Weinstein Coral Springs FL
Steve Westly Menlo Park CA

Amount Raised: $200,000-$500,000

First Name Last Name City State
Mark Alderman Bryn Mawr PA
JP Austin Miami FL
Jean Bailey Silver Spring MD
Neil Bluhm Chicago IL
Aimee Boone Austin TX
Tim Broas Chevy Chase MD
Michael Cioffi Cincinnati OH
Bob Clark St. Louis MO
Meredith DeWitt Still River MA
Kirk Dornbush Atlanta GA
Carolyn Dwyer Montpelier VT
Mark Gallogly New York NY
Andres Guillemard San Juan PR
Daniel Halpern Atlanta GA
Pam Hamamoto Tiburon CA
Jane Hartley New York NY
Alex Heckler Ft. Lauderdale FL
Doug Hickey San Francisco CA
Kenneth Jarin Philadelphia PA
Brian Mathis New York NY
Scott Nathan Boston MA
Susan Ness Bethesda MD
Mark Nichols Washington DC
Spencer Overton Chevy Chase MD
Deven Parekh New York NY
Dana and Barry Perlman and Karas Los Angeles CA
Ben Pollara Coral Gables FL
Wade and Lorna Randlett San Francisco CA
Beverly Reeves Austin TX
Alfreda Robinson Washington DC
John and Mellody Rogers, Jr. and Hobson Chicago IL
Michael Sacks Winnetka IL
Elaine Schuster Chestnut Hill MA
David and Beth Shaw New York NY
Ken Solomon Los Angeles CA
Steve Spinner Menlo Park CA
Sally Susman New York NY
Kirk Wagar Coconut Grove FL
Alexa Wesner Austin TX
Tom Wheeler Washington DC
Robert Wolf Purchase NY

Amount Raised: $500,000+

First Name Last Name City State
Rob Barber Cambridge MA
Denise Bauer Belvedere Tiburon CA
Marc Benioff San Francisco CA
David and Rhonda Cohen Philadelphia PA
Jack and Elaine Connors Boston MA
Jon Corzine Hoboken NJ
Blair Effron New York NY
John Emerson Beverly Hills CA
Mark and Nancy Gilbert Boca Raton FL
Steven Green Miami Beach FL
Jeffrey Katzenberg Universal City CA
Michael Kempner Cresskill NJ
Lena and John Kennedy Pasadena CA
Orin Kramer Englewood NJ
Andres Lopez San Juan PR
Noah Mamet Los Angeles CA
Charles Myers New York NY
Azita Raji Belvedere CA
Kirk Rudy Austin TX
Eugene Sepulveda Austin TX
Robert Sherman Boston MA
Michael Smith Los Angeles CA
Andy Spahn Los Angeles CA
Jane Stetson Norwich VT
Andrew Tobias Miami FL
Frank White Jr. Washington DC
Anna Wintour New York NY

Thank you to Katie Dixon and Eric Dunn for helping link and research this list.

Image via White House’s Flickr Photostream.

‘Influence Explored’ takes an article from the day’s headlines and exposes the influential ways of entities mentioned in the article. Names and corporations are run through Sunlight’s influence tracking tools such as Influence Explorer and Transparency Data to remind readers of the money that powers Washington.

4 Indiana Dems Charged With Election Fraud In 2008

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4 Indiana Dems charged with election fraud in 2008
By Eric Shawn @ Fox News

Felony charges related to election fraud have  touched the 2008 race for the highest office in the land.

Prosecutors in South Bend, Ind., filed charges  Monday against four St. Joseph County Democratic officials and deputies as part  of a multiple-felony case involving the alleged forging of Democratic  presidential primary petitions in the 2008 election, which put then-candidates Barack  Obama and Hillary  Clinton on the Indiana ballot.

The officials are accused of taking part in a scheme  to fake signatures and names on the primary petitions needed to run for  president. Court papers say the plan was hatched by local Democratic  Party officials inside the local party headquarters.

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Presidential  Primary Fraud Case Heats Up

Allegations of election fraud with 2008 ballots

Among those charged is the former long-time chairman  of the St. Joseph County Democratic Party, Butch Morgan, who allegedly ordered  the forgeries. He was forced to resign when the allegations were first made  public last October, even though his lawyer, Shaw Friedman, told Fox News at the  time that Morgan did not do anything wrong.

The St. Joseph County Board of Voter Registration‘s  Democratic board member, Pam Brunette, Board of Voter Registration worker  Beverly Shelton and Democratic volunteer and former board worker Dustin Blythe  also face charges.

According to affidavits, St. Joseph County Voter  Registration Office worker Lucas Burkett told investigators that he was part of  the plan that started in January 2008 “to forge signatures on presidential  candidate petitions instead of collecting actual signatures from citizens.”

The documents state that Burkett told investigators  that “he was heavily involved in St. Joseph County political activities with the  local Democratic party,” and that “he had, in fact, personally forged several  such signatures,” and had attended meetings at the local Democratic party  headquarters, where it was agreed to forge the petitions. Morgan, the County  Democratic Chairman, allegedly “instructed Mr. Burkett, Pamela Brunette, Beverly  Shelton, and Dustin Blythe to forge ballot petitions for presidential  candidates,” and that “all of them agreed to follow these instructions” by  copying names and signatures from old election petitions.

According to affidavits, Burkett told investigators  it was his job to “forge petitions for candidate Barack Obama,” Shelton “was  assigned to forge petitions for candidate Hillary Clinton” and Blythe “was  assigned to forge petitions for candidate John  Edwards.” When Edwards dropped out of the race at the end of January 2008  and Burkett refused to continue the forgeries, Morgan allegedly ordered Blythe  to then forge petitions for Barack Obama.

Indiana State Police investigators identified a  total of 22 petitions that appeared to be faked, yet sailed through the Voter  Registration Board as legitimate documents. The signature of the board’s  Republican supervisor, Linda Silcott, which is required for legal certification,  appeared to be rubber stamped on the documents. She told investigators that she  did not remember signing or authorizing her rubber stamp to be used.

Silcott also told investigators that she recognized  the handwriting on the alleged forged Obama petitions as that of Blythe’s.

The South Bend Tribune and independent political  newsletter Howey Politics Indiana have reported that a handwriting analyst  concluded last fall that Blythe’s handwriting matched some of the alleged Obama  fakes. When Fox News caught up to Blythe as he left the Voter Registration Board  last November and asked him if he forged any signatures or faked any petitions,  he repeatedly replied, “I don’t have anything to say.”

The case raises the possibility that the president’s  campaign and that of Clinton’s, could have been legally challenged in Indiana if  the alleged forgeries were discovered during the race.

Under state law, presidential candidates need to  qualify with 500 signatures from each of Indiana’s nine congressional districts.  Indiana elections officials say that in St. Joseph County, which is the 2nd  Congressional District, the Obama campaign qualified with 534 signatures;  Clinton’s camp had 704.

But the signatures, which were certified by the  elections board, were never challenged. If the number of legitimate signatures  for Obama or Clinton fell below the legal requirement of 500, they could have  been bounced from the state ballot. Reports have previously put the number of  phony signatures for both candidates at about 150, but state investigators  plucked names from the petitions at random and cited only 20 individual alleged  forgeries as part of their case. They say their investigation of the petitions  continues.

Multiple voters, including Indiana’s former  Democratic Gov. Joe Kernan, told Fox News that their names and signatures were  phonies.

“That’s not my signature,” Charity Rorie told Fox  News as she sat in her kitchen in Mishawaka, Ind.. The mother of four was  stunned that her name and signature, and those of her husband, appeared on one  of the Obama petitions. She said they “absolutely” were fakes and was troubled  that personal details such as their address and birthdays were also  included.

“It was shocking,” she said. “Why did they do that,  and where did they get it from?”

“I did not sign for Barack Obama,” Democratic voter  Robert Hunter told Fox News as he stared at the Obama petition that included his  name and purported signature supporting the candidate. While he observed that  the scrawl looked “very close” to his real one, it was not.

“I always put ‘Junior’ after my name, every time…  there’s no ‘Junior’ there,” Hunter told us. “I don’t like anybody using my name  for anything other than myself.”

“It’s scary,” Charity said. “A lot of people have  already lost faith in politics and the realm of politics and that solidifies our  worries and concerns.”

As for Burkett, a 26-year-old lifelong Democrat, “he  is the whistle-blower in this,” his lawyer, Andrew B. Jones, told Fox News.
“Lucas really is the hero in this situation. He is someone who stood up for  good government, and has cooperated with the state police and will continue to  do so.”

Read more:

Obama Donor Accused Of Fraud

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Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008

By JACK GILLUM | Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A major donor to President Barack Obama has been accused of defrauding a businessman and impersonating a bank official, creating new headaches for Obama’s re-election campaign as it deals with the questionable history of another top supporter.

The New York donor, Abake Assongba, and her husband contributed more than $50,000 to Obama’s re-election effort this year, federal records show. But Assongba is also fending off a civil court case in Florida, where she’s accused of thieving more than $650,000 to help build a multimillion-dollar home in the state — a charge her husband denies.

Obama is the only presidential contender this year who released his list of “bundlers,” the financiers who raise campaign money by soliciting high-dollar contributions from friends and associates. But that disclosure has not come without snags; his campaign returned $200,000 last month to Carlos and Alberto Cardona, the brothers of a Mexican fugitive wanted on federal drug charges.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt declined comment to The Associated Press. He instead referred the AP to previous statements he made to The Washington Post, which first reported the allegations against Assongba in its Sunday editions. LaBolt told the paper 1.3 million Americans have donated to the campaign, and that it addresses issues with contributions promptly.

Assongba was listed on Obama’s campaign website as one of its volunteer fundraisers — a much smaller group of about 440 people.

Assongba and her husband, Anthony J.W. DeRosa, run a charity called Abake’s Foundation that distributes school supplies and food in Benin, Africa. A photo posted on Assongba’s Facebook page shows the couple standing next to Obama at a May 2010 fundraiser.

In one Florida case, which is still ongoing, Swiss businessman Klaus-Werner Pusch accused Assongba in 2009 of engaging him in an email scam — then using the money to buy a multimillion-dollar home, the Post reported. The suit alleges Assongba impersonated a bank official to do it. Pusch referred the AP’s questions to his attorney, who did not immediately return requests seeking comment Sunday.

Meanwhile, Assongba has left a trail of debts, with a former landlord demanding in court more than $10,000 in back rent and damages for a previous apartment. She was also evicted in 2004 after owing $5,000 in rent, records show.

In an interview with the AP on Sunday, DeRosa said the allegations against his wife were untrue, although he couldn’t discuss specifics because of pending litigation. He said he and Assongba were “very perturbed” by the charges, and said the couple’s charity does important work in Africa.

Assongba has given more than $70,000 to Democratic candidates in recent years, an AP review of Federal Election Commission data shows. Her larger contributions include $35,000 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee between Obama and the Democratic Party, and $15,000 to Democrats running for Congress. DeRosa also gave $15,000 to Obama’s victory fund in April 2011, records show.

Abake’s Foundation is listed by the IRS as a registered nonprofit organization; its financial reports were unavailable. A representative who picked up the phone at the foundation’s Benin office declined to answer questions, and instead referred the AP to Assongba.

Obama’s campaign declined to comment on whether its vetting procedures were thorough enough, or whether Assongba’s contribution would be refunded. All told, Obama has raised more than $120 million this election, not counting millions more from the Democratic Party — giving him a financial advantage thus far over any of his Republican challengers.


Associated Press writer Emily Fredrix and news researcher Susan James in New York contributed to this report.

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