Surprise: FEC plans to audit McCain’s campaign funds — but probably not Obama’s

posted at 1:55 pm on November 11, 2008 by Allahpundit

Why would they want to audit Obama? The biggest fundraising operation in political history, infused with hundreds of millions of dollars from contributors whose names the campaign refuses to reveal, dependent upon a donation mechanism whose security measures were suspiciously and inexplicably disabled, and accused by reputable publications of having looked the other way at fraudulent donations that would have been detected immediately with cursory oversight.

Aside from that, I mean, why would they want to audit him?

The punchline? It’s because he’s rolling in dough that they’re less inclined to check him out.

Obama is expected to escape that level of scrutiny mostly because he declined an $84 million public grant for his campaign that automatically triggers an audit and because the sheer volume of cash he raised and spent minimizes the significance of his errors. Another factor: The FEC, which would have to vote to launch an audit, is prone to deadlocking on issues that inordinately impact one party or the other – like approving a messy and high-profile probe of a sitting president.

McCain, on the other hand, accepted the $84 million in taxpayer money, which not only barred him from raising or spending more – allowing Obama to fund many times more ads and ground operations – but also will keep his lawyers busy for a couple years explaining how every penny was spent…

[I]ronically, the historic volume of Obama’s small contributions, which may have made it tough for the campaign to weed out problem donations, may also help spare Obama an audit.

That’s because the byzantine formula the FEC staff uses to determine whether a campaign has engaged in “substantial” violations of federal election rules – the trigger to recommend an audit to commissioners – takes into account the size of the campaign’s coffers, according to David Mason, who served as a Republican appointee to the FEC until this year.

“So if a House campaign makes a $100,000 error, that’s huge and they’re likely to get audited,” he said. “If a campaign the size of the Obama campaign has a $100,000 error, then maybe not. It would depend on what the error is, obviously,” he said, explaining that mere accounting snafus are unlikely to prompt an audit. More serious and systemic problems, such as illegal contributions, result in campaigns getting tagged with more “audit points,” Mason explained. “If you get enough audit points, you get audited,” he said, adding “nobody outside the commission would know how many audit points the Obama campaign has.”

The RNC’s requested a full audit of The One’s operations, but unless I’ve misread the statute, it’ll take a vote of four of the five commissioners to trigger review; hence the reference in the blockquote to political deadlock. File this away with last month’s post on how Barry O drove a stake through the heart of public financing: Not only will the ‘Net make it easy for any future campaign to outraise the meager $84 million cap currently provided by law, but going private practically guarantees you’ll avoid the expense and hassle of an investigation and fines. And the more you cheat, the more you raise, the less “substantial” any single instance of cheating is and thus the lower the likelihood of an audit. Perverse incentives all around, with none of them to be corrected legislatively before 2012, at the very least.

Exit question: Wasn’t “transparency” one of the core planks of the new pope’s platform? What happened to that?


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Comments

Republicans will do nothing about it, I say kick them all out and let’s put some Veterans in, they know how to defend this country and stand up to a fight!!
Bend over Americans.

christene on November 11, 2008 at 6:34 PM

You’re friggin’ kidding me!

Y-not on November 11, 2008 at 6:36 PM

THE OFFICIAL BARACK OBAMA ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
1.) Metallica – “Leper Messiah”
2.) Nine Inch Nails – “Head Like a Hole”
3.) Dean Martin – “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”
4.) Living Color – “Cult of Personality”
5.) Marilyn Manson – “The Nobodies”
6.) Carly Simon – “You’re So Vain”
7.) AC/DC – “Dirty Deeds [Done Dirt Cheap]”
8.) George Michael – “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?”
9.) Nine Inch Nails – “Closer”
10.) Garth Brooks – “I Got Friends In Low Places”
11.) Afroman – “Because I Got High”
12.) Puddle of Mudd – “Control”
13.) Flotsam and Jetsam – “Suffer the Masses”
14.) Toby Keith – “How Do Like Me Now?”
15.) Metallica – “King Nothing”
16.) Marilyn Manson – “Dope Show”
17.) Bone Thugs-n-Harmony – “Thuggish Ruggish Bone”
18.) Michelle Branch – “Are You Happy Now?”
19.) Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Bad Moon Rising”
20.) Edgar Winter Group – “Free Ride”

*eats*

Grue in the Attic on November 11, 2008 at 2:15 PM

How about?
Black Oak Arkansas-Taxman

Kevin in Southern Illinois on November 11, 2008 at 7:18 PM

So, if I get really pi$$ed about this will I be told that I have ODS?

Buy Danish on November 11, 2008 at 7:24 PM

“Looks like subtle thugocracy to me…..”

It’s not subtle. And will become even less so.

Alana on November 11, 2008 at 7:30 PM

Absolutely amazing. Once again, the Dems cheat, it gets swept under the rug and the Republicans get to go to jail for jaywalking.

We’re cooked.

AZfederalist on November 11, 2008 at 9:03 PM

Each day since election I have gotten up determined to put the best face on things ago to work and come home and be thankful for my job and life.

But then once a day I hear of another thing idiotic concerning Obama and he hasn’t even taken office yet!! AHHHHHH!!!!
There I Feel Better.

Kevin in Southern Illinois on November 11, 2008 at 9:20 PM

Remember that after John Kerry(D) lost all the Soros-funded fraud was “investigated” and fined thousands… for spending hundreds of millions illegally. Lesson learned. This time the Soros-funded fraud is on the winning side so the losers will be “investigated”.

DANEgerus on November 11, 2008 at 9:27 PM

So, if I get really pi$$ed about this will I be told that I have ODS?

Buy Danish on November 11, 2008 at 7:24 PM

Let’s stand together in solidarity!

OneGyT on November 11, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Can anyone think of a way to fix this?

‘Cause I can’t.

And if it doesn’t get fixed, I don’t see any outcomes even livable, not to mention good.

Merovign on November 11, 2008 at 11:06 PM

Wow. Just wow.

JeffinOrlando on November 11, 2008 at 11:50 PM

hmmm I dont know. It would make it easier to say “well mr obama, why would you object? We audited mr McCain. Alls fair right?”

love to see baracaca squirm onthat one.

Handel on November 12, 2008 at 12:51 AM

See, this is exactly where a little ODS is needed.

As it stands now there are probably just a few on the right being critical of this – and I would bet they are all doing so with a polite e-mail or some little noticed article on page 14.

We should be PROTESTING this and launching all sorts of allegations.

We are all familiar with the AVS being turned off on Obama’s site – that is a pretty big freaking deal to me. That is intent to commit fraud (or at least encourage it by others).

I watched a video of Ghadafi where he said Arab leaders were ‘possibly helping to finance his campaign’. These are issues that need to be shouted loudly and boldly.

All we need is for them to commit to an equal investigation. That shouldn’t be too tough to accomplish with a little organization and some high profile demonstrations. At least make it newsworthy. Get people wondering ‘gee…why isn’t Barack Hiussein getting the same investigative treatment’?

The reason given so far is pretty pathetic. Because he refused matching public funds he skates? That should be a red flag that invites an investigation rather than a reason to not investigate.

Mr Purple on November 12, 2008 at 5:26 AM

Well, K-Y stock should go up. Un-freakin believeable.
good is bad….bad is good…. welcome to hell

johnnyU on November 12, 2008 at 8:22 AM

We should all write our legislators (regardless of party) and demand that they urge the FEC to investigate BOTH candidates, like they would if they’d accepted financing.

hawksruleva on November 12, 2008 at 9:13 AM

I would encourage everyone to call the Inspector General and let her know your feelings about equal and thorough investigations for both candidates.

Lynne A. McFarland, Inspector General

Main Phone Number: (202) 694-1015
Mailing Address: 999 E Street, N.W.; Room 940, Washington, D.C. 20463
Hotline Number: (202) 694-1015

There are also 6 commissioners that we might want to contact as well.

http://www.fec.gov/members/members.shtml

Allah – Any interest in making this a more prominent call to action with a follow-up post?

Mr Purple on November 12, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Amazing, simply amazing

ricardoz on November 12, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Aside from that, I mean, why would they want to audit him?

How bout because he’s an arrogant a-hole?

4shoes on November 12, 2008 at 11:33 AM

GAAAAAAAAH I HATE THIS CORRUPT SHAT. DAMNIT. FREAKIN BUMS. CROOKS. LIARS.

alright, i’m calm now. there’s only so much idiocy and conniving I can take.

Daemonocracy on November 12, 2008 at 11:57 AM

Well, K-Y stock should go up. Un-freakin believeable.
good is bad….bad is good…. welcome to hell

johnnyU on November 12, 2008 at 8:22 AM

Guess I’d better get a coupla cases.
We are truly in hell.

Badger40 on November 12, 2008 at 5:27 PM

Allah,

How gracious of you. You campaigned so long and hard for Obama that only in the aftermath of victory of one of the most unfit Presidents do you actually care about the effects.

You like your candidate are a vessel without morality, ethics, or principle.

highhopes on November 12, 2008 at 9:52 PM

So, if I get really pi$$ed about this will I be told that I have ODS?

Buy Danish on November 11, 2008 at 7:24 PM

Let me save Allah and Ed the trouble, you racist rabblerouser – you have ODS!

Clearly no one would fail to recognize the groundswell of support for The One from the poor, oppressed peoples of the other America, who can only contribute in $17.02 increments for this great avatar of Hope and Change – no one, of course, but a wingnut suffering from a bad case of ODS.

Hater.

Jaibones on November 19, 2008 at 2:06 PM

You like your candidate are a vessel without morality, ethics, or principle.

highhopes on November 12, 2008 at 9:52 PM

While your ODS is understandable, your epithet is in inconvenient contrast to the facts.

Jaibones on November 19, 2008 at 2:16 PM