The NY Times has a new article out finding additional suspicious names given for people making a series of small contributions under $200. I was surprised that the Times would run such an article, but the more I read, the more it became clear how guilty the paper was for having run something that raised any questions about Obama, so there's a series of passages in which the paper is sure to point out that it isn't suggesting the donations wouldn't involve fraud, and at no point does the article mention the most serious potential problem with the contributions -- that they could allow foreign donors to influence American elections. We already know, for instance, that the Obama campaign had to return $33,000 to two Palestinian brothers in Gaza who had placed a bulk t-shirt order. This came on top of an Al Jazeera report of Palestinians in Gaza phonebanking for Obama.
In just a few days of analysis, the Times was able to come up with 3,000 questionable donations including $40,000 worth of shady contributions merely by eyeballing suspicious names. That suggests to me that that there would be a whole heck of a lot more going on if you went through Obama's universe of 2.5 million donors and began challenging each one, especially if he disclosed the donors who donated under $200, which is not required by law.
Some of my favorite lines in the Times piece:
It is unclear why someone making a political donation would want to enter a false name. Some perhaps did it for privacy reasons. Another, more ominous possibility, of course, is fraud, perhaps in order to donate beyond the maximum limits....
Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, highlighted the more than 2.5 million donors it had to wade through. "We have been aggressive about taking every available step," he said, "to make sure our contributions are appropriate, updating our systems when necessary."
But even a contributor who used the name "Jgtj Jfggjjfgj," and listed an address of "thjtrj" in "gjtjtjtjtjtjr, AP," was able to contribute $370 in a series of $10 donations in August.
A pair of donors named "Derty West" and "Derty Poiiuy," who listed "rewq, ME" as their addresses and "Qwertyyy" or "Qwerttyyu" as either their employer or occupation, contributed a combined $1,110 in July.
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