How to launder money – Illegal Campaign Donation Edition


Lambert and me* speculated a while back about how to use online fundraising to launder illegal donations.  I even wrote a post about it at Corrente back in May before I got banned for mentioning Bill Ayers:

The internet provides an interesting opportunity with numerous small donations to election campaigns, using fake names and staying below the reporting thresholds.

With the collusion of a banking institution (offshore?) the money could be transferred from lots of accounts opened just for that purpose.

The real challenge would be the source of the funds, but an off-shore bank or credit card company would solve that. Because the people don’t exist, no one complains about bogus charges on their account. The safeguards are in place to catch theft, not money laundering.

I called my shot.  From Ace of Spades:

I have over 8 years experience working in the payment services industry. By
taking a closer look at Obama’s online donation site, I have noticed that
his team has left the door wide open for credit card fraud by not putting in
the security measures to ensure full visa/mastercard authorization
compliance. This is outright irresponsible behavior on the part of Obama’s
team and in direct violation of their agreement with Visa/Mastercard.

I did a test on his site. Acting as Joe Stalin, I went onto the Obama site
and donated $5.00. I used false information, address: 100 Red Square,
telephone number 323-666-1953, zip code 10001, Employer: Kremlin
Occupation: Dictator. I did use my valid credit card numbers and expiration
date. The typical security measures, Address Verification System and the
Card Validation Code are not present on the Obama site. So there is nothing
in place to verify who I am.


I clicked submit. The transaction went through.

Then I went to McCain’s site, and entered in the same information. Joe
Stalin. $5.00. As you can see, my donation was rejected for errors.

* What’s the big deal? Obama has left the door open for anyone to run prepaid cards and foreign credit cards without proper screening. In addition, it is easy to run multi-transactions on the same card but under different aliases.

In addition, Obama’s site violates his agreement with Visa/Mastercard. Visa Mastercard regulations require each credit card acceptor to “obtain the 3 digit Card Validation Code [CVV2 found on the back of your credit card. 4 digits for American Express Cards] and submit this code with all authorization requests with respect to transactions where the card is not present…” [cite:] Visa/Master Program Guide.


Many foreign credit cards do not have CVV2 codes. Requiring such codes would limit foreign donations.

There’s a bunch more, so go to Ace’s place and read it.  Yeah, I know, Ace of Spades is a right-wing blog.  But facts are facts, so if you want to argue about it bring better facts. 

I have long suspected that there was something wrong with Obama’s fundraising  Back in July I posted this:

But the part that’s relevant here is that Senator Obama raised $25 million in the first three months of 2007, second only to Hillary Clinton. A nobody, with no resume. Two books, Two speeches, and a few appearances on Oprah. $25 million!

Lets compare that to the fundraising of the other Democrats:

John Edwards          $52 million

Bill Richardson       $23 million

Chris Dodd            $18 million

Joe Biden               $12 million

Dennis Kucinich    $4.5 million

Now if you’re thinking that Obama’s fundraising doesn’t seem that exceptional compared to Edwards, Richardson and Dodd, that’s because you’re only looking at the first quarter of 2007 for Obama. The amounts for the other five ARE FOR THE WHOLE CAMPAIGN!

Obama raised more in the first quarter than everyone but Edwards and Hillary would raise during the whole year. According to Open Secrets, these are Senator Obama’s fundraising numbers through May 2008:


Q1 $25 million

Q2 $31 million

Q3 $19 million

Q4 $24 million


Jan $37 million

Feb $57 million

Mar $43 million

Apr $32 million

May $23 million

How does a candidate with Senator Obama’s resume raise $99 million dollars before a single vote is ever cast? Hillary Clinton raised a phenomenal $230 million through May 31, 2008, but Obama did far better, raising $287 million during the same period. What’s wrong with this picture?

How could a rookie Senator raise money like a popular incumbent President running for reelection? I watched him, I’ve listened to him, and I wouldn’t give him a nickel. I can understand the donations this year after he started winning primaries and caucuses, but he raised 1/3 of his money before he ever got a single vote. (Actually, I can’t understand the other 2/3 either, not the amount of it anyway.)

Did I ever mention I used to catch thieves for a living? 

*For Zee, who obsesses about “grammer”


2 Responses to How to launder money – Illegal Campaign Donation Edition

  1. kenoshaMarge says:

    I wouldn’t give him a nickel either. But that’s just me being old and curmudgeonly. I expect value for my money. I expect people running for office to have done something other than talk. Show me some accomplishments please. Accomplishments that are worthy of the office you seek. And he fails miserably.

    Money is now the elector of our elections. Same old Golden Rule; he who has the gold rules. And here were sillies thought we actually lived in a democracy.

  2. votermom says:

    Is there no kind of audit process for these campaigns?

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