A View From the Cheap Seats

November 26, 2008

Rules Ain’t For Everybody

Filed under: Politics — trzupek @ 12:23 pm
Tags: , , ,


By Rich Trzupek

Not to distract anyone from burning national issues, like the price of Sarah Palin’s shoes or anything, but there is a story out there that deserves a little more attention.

An interesting tale this will be, but let’s first consider how you feel about the rule of law dear reader. If you are one of those who feel that some laws that can be ignored, on account of them being silly or inconvenient, the tale to follow probably won’t interest you. If, on the other hand, you believe that the law is the law, and should be obeyed without exception, and if a law is silly or inconvenient then it should be changed rather than ignored, well then – this story may very well catch your eye. Finally, if you are of the sort who believes that compliance with the law is particularly important in the case of elected officials, you should be fascinated.

Now, let’s begin.

Question: What do Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Bill Ayers, “Della Ware”, O.J. Simpson, “test person”, “Jgtj Jfggijfgi”, Daffy Duck, Bart Simpson, Australian citizen Richard Watters and Canadian citizen Tom Sanderson all have in common?

Answer: All successfully made donations via the internet to Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign, Obama for America.

Ongoing investigations by the Federal Elections Commission should be able to put a number on the amount of fraudulent, illegal and (equally illegal) overseas contributions that were made to Obama’s campaign. Don’t be surprised if the total runs into the hundreds of millions.

The New York Times, AP and a number of other news organizations exposed the fraudulent contributions during the campaign, albeit hardly in the form of headlines. Under the law, you have to be an American citizen to contribute to a Presidential campaign. Under the law, credit card donations to a Presidential campaign made via the internet are limited to $200 per transaction. (This to protect the card holder in the event his or her card is stolen).

Further, to protect people from fraud, security software routinely requires that the credit card holder’s name and address match the card number of record. As one commenter has noted, this is web security 101.

One way that you can raise over $500 million on-line, and outspend your opponent by a gazillion dollars, is to ignore these rules. (And of course, you also do this after breaking your promise to limit your spending to public funds only, but hey – that’s not even a rule, it’s just your word. Who cares about that?)

So, as the New York Times, AP and a bunch of others found out, one could enter any name and, so long as the credit card number was valid, Obama would gladly take one’s cash. That $200 per transaction thing? Forget about it. Inconvenient. Silly. Not an American citizen? No problem! So long as the dollars were green, they were gleefully accepted.

Obama’s spokespeople claimed that all that security stuff was just too hard to figure out. This claim was – what’s the phrase? – a giant, steaming pile of horse-pucky. Anyone who has run even the most rudimentary of on-line merchant sites can handle that level of security. It’s not a very good sign that the guy who supposedly has the plan to fix what ails the economy can’t even manage to protect credit card holders from fraud as well as a grandmother from Des Moines selling shawls at http://www.iknittedthemforyou.com can.

My nephew Brian, who is a big shooter at a leading internet security firm, assures me that there is no way to “accidentally” turn off the security features in the shopping cart software that Obama used to accept donations. “Impossible,” he said. (Honestly, that’s the cleaned up version of what he actually said). “Somebody had to get inside the program and actively turn off all the security. They knew exactly what they were doing.”

There was also (not surprisingly) a security breach at the Obama website during the campaign. When that sort of thing happens, the law – that, pesky, inconvenient law – says that credit card holders who have conducted transactions at the site have to be notified. Not having donated to the Obama campaign, your humble correspondent has of course not been notified of the breach. But – isn’t it odd? – it appears that no one else has been notified either. Huh. Could the campaign have something to hide?

For the record, and contrary to the later claims made by the Obama campaign that everybody does it, this sort of fraud didn’t happen at the McCain website. And people tried. Oh did they try. (And can you imagine the furor in the press had they succeeded?)

Much is made of the record number of donations made over the internet to the Obama campaign. It is, his supporters say, further evidence of the way the President-elect connects with the common man and is in touch with technology.

But what if the alternate explanation is true? What if the President-elect manipulated the system in order to accept illegal donations from foreign countries, and illegal amounts of donations? Obama supporters may, of course, e-mail me and post comments on my blog about how awful the 43rd President of the United States is, and about all of his supposed transgressions. But please answer this simple question too, in regards to the 44th President; in regards to “your” President; the President who is going to “change Washington”; the President of “change” in general, as well as in particular; the President of “hope”: does he get to break the law? It’s a simple question. What’s the answer people?

Yes? Or. No?



  1. […] Read More […]

    Pingback by threedonia.com » Blog Archive » What’s A Little Fraud Between Friends? — November 26, 2008 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

  2. Wow didn’t take long to go back on that previous column about never publishing anything disrespectful to the sitting president! But I guess it’s okay since he’s not sitting yet.

    Comment by Teri Tracey — December 2, 2008 @ 2:51 pm | Reply

  3. Rich,
    I’ve always wanted to get into politics. How much is your governor’s seat going for today?

    And speaking of Hope and Change, the only change I see is Barry dragging the hillarybillies back to Washington from Hope, AR. Yehaw, let’s load up the truck and head to DC!

    Comment by Brad — December 10, 2008 @ 6:49 am | Reply

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