It's illegal to solicit contributions from foreigners, but citizens of China, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Egypt have received emails seeking donations to President Barack Obama's campaign, according to the Government Accountability Institute, a private think tank.
Shanghai-based Obama.com is the largest of "thousands" of foreign websites which link to President Obama's official site. It's owned by Robert Roche, a businessman with ties to the Chinese government and a frequent guest at the White House. Contributions from Americans living in China are legal. But, according to Markosweb, 68 percent of Obama.com's traffic is from foreigners. The website is mostly in Chinese characters.
The Obama campaign doesn't require online donors to provide a CVV (the three digit number on the back of your credit card), as the Romney campaign and nearly all businesses and charities do. The fraud protection measure was omitted because the Obama campaign doesn't want to discourage small donors, a spokesman said.
Since Obama for America requires a CVV for purchases from its campaign store, this probably isn't the real reason. CVVs protect against "robo-donations" made to evade reporting requirements. (The Federal Elections Commission doesn't require campaigns to disclose the names of donors who give less than $200, or keep records on those who give less than $50.)
The CVV also guards against what happened to Mary Biskup of Manchester, Missouri. When FEC records indicated she'd given $174,800 to Mr. Obama's 2008 campaign, The Washington Post called her, because it is illegal to give more than $2,300. She hadn't ever contributed to Mr. Obama, Ms. Biskup said. "Her credit card was never billed for the donations, meaning someone appropriated her name and made the contributions with another card," the Post noted.
If you pay taxes, you too are contributing to Mr. Obama's re-election.
• The president plans to gut Medicare Advantage to help pay for Obamacare, which goes fully into effect in January. Medicare recipients this year must choose their plan for next year, so when "open enrollment" begins Oct. 15, the 11.7 million seniors enrolled in it should be told what's going to happen to Medicare Advantage.
That's a lot of voters to offend, so the Department of Health and Human Services is spending $8.3 billion on a "demonstration project" to temporarily restore Medicare Advantage funds and delay the bad news until after the election. This "demonstration" won't demonstrate anything, and the administration doesn't have the legal authority to order it, the Government Accountability Office told HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
• Massive cuts in the defense budget will be made in January if a deal isn't made before then to reduce the deficit. The cuts will force defense contractors to lay off workers. Employers are required by a 1989 law to give employees 60 days notice of mass layoffs, so notices must go out before the election.
Don't comply, the Obama administration told defense contractors. We'll pay your fines. "Given that hundreds of thousands of employees may be affected, taxpayers could be on the hook for billions," said attorney Peter Kirsanow.
Illegal contributions, facilitated by lax security, may have flooded into the Obama campaign. The administration is spending billions on schemes of dubious legality to conceal the impact of its policies on Medicare Advantage and employment. All rank among the biggest campaign finance scandals ever. But if you get your news from ABC, NBC, CBS or CNN, odds are you haven't heard of any of them. Nor would you know that Obama campaign aides in four states have helped people register to vote illegally, according to undercover videos taken by conservative activists. The Democratic National Committee claimed the videos were selectively edited but in at least one case in Texas fired the aide involved.
Guns the Justice Department deliberately let "walk" to Mexican drug cartels were used to murder 14 students at a party just across the border from Texas, but Spanish language Univision is the only TV network to think that's a big deal.
For NBC, Mitt Romney's crack about Big Bird is a bigger story than the administration's cover up of lax security in Libya. For all broadcast networks, Mr. Romney's criticism of President Obama's foreign policy was bigger news than the collapse of that policy on 9/11/2012.
If a tree falls in the forest, does the "mainstream" media hear it?
Not, apparently, if the president is a Democrat.
Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Post-Gazette (firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-262-1476).