On Monday, I chided the Washington Post’s Matthew Mosk for missing a key point in the story of credit-card fraud in Barack Obama’s campaign. Today he puts that point front and center in his follow-up report. Team Obama deliberately turned off the systems that would have guarded against the kind of fraudulent donations that have accrued millions to their coffers:
Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor’s identity, campaign officials confirmed.
Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.
The Obama organization said its extensive review has ensured that the campaign has refunded any improper contributions, and noted that Federal Election Commission rules do not require front-end screening of donations.
In recent weeks, questionable contributions have created headaches for Obama’s accounting team as it has tried to explain why campaign finance filings have included itemized donations from individuals using fake names, such as Es Esh or Doodad Pro. Those revelations prompted conservative bloggers to further test Obama’s finance vetting by giving money using the kind of prepaid cards that can be bought at a drugstore and cannot be traced to a donor.
Barack Obama claims to champion the consumers of America. This demonstrates worse than just callous disregard of financial security; it looks like a deliberate attempt to allow people to empty unsuspecting consumers of their savings and credit. The checks involving security codes and address verification were put in place years ago by the credit-card companies to protect their customers from having their accounts hijacked by thieves.
There is only one reason to deliberately choose to bypass those security processes, and that’s to facilitate fraud. Team Obama claims that they vet the donations after the fact, but that’s hogwash. It costs far more to do that than to screen for security codes and address verification up front, and everyone knows it. Obama counts on the fact that most of the fraud will fly under the radar of its victims, and the only cost they’ll incur is when they have to process refunds after getting a specific complaint.
This is a key, revelatory moment about Obama and his team. They have deliberately chosen to make it easier for people to defraud the public so that they can ring up millions more in a campaign that has already broken records for fundraising. It’s unethical, dishonest, and dangerous — especially since these will be the same people with their hands on tax records if Obama wins this election.