Yesterday the right side of the blogosphere was abuzz with the news that a Kansas City couple discovered a charge of $2,300 that was fraudulently made to the Obama campaign.
Steve and Rachel Larman say a strange credit card charge appeared on their statement this month -- a $2300 donation to Barack Obama's presidential campaign. The Larman's say they don't want this to be about their political affiliation, but they say they're not about to give the Obama campaign any help from their pocketbook.
Fortunately for Steve and Rachel, they were vigilant and were able to catch this charge and get their bank to reverse it (after a hastle).
We here at The Minority Report were contacted by another victim that also happens to be in the Kansas City area. He has asked to only be identified as Michael H. to protect his identity (probably smart considering he was likely the victim of identity fraud once already). Michael is another one of the fortunate ones that has the habit of regularly checking his credit card statements.
He noticed something odd one day recently when he was checking the recent activity on his online account. There was a charge for $2,300 to the Obama for America Campaign. This was pretty shocking for Michael. He is a Republican. He is not supporting Senator Obama for President.Michael immediately called his credit card company to challenge the charge. He spoke with a member of their fraud department who reported to him that the company was receiving calls like this from all over the country. He has also contacted a laundry list of agencies and advocates: us, Drudge, the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission were some of the names that I was able to catch as he rattle off his list.
This type of activity, along with the millions of dollars of contributions with donor information that can't be verified, raises concerns that Senator Obama's supporters are willing to win at the cost of an open and honest campaign. They have been willing to flout the rules of campaign finance and are now engaging in credit card fraud to the benefit of Senator Obama. No doubt, because of these actions, Senator Obama has been able to maintain his advertising advantage (in some cases as high as 8-1) over Senator McCain.
Michael told me that he has a friend who is retired FBI. The two of them seem to believe that this is part of an organized campaign to flood Senator Obama's coffers with cash in advance of the election and then let the cards fall where they may afterwards.
Senator Obama, it is up to you and your campaign to ensure that tactics like these have no place in your campaign. The first step is to instutute procedures to flag falsified information entered into donation forms. Just ask some of the more reputable online insurance quoting sites. They have worked hard to create these systems so as to not sell false information to agents in the field. Second, you must implement measures that will reduce the liklihood of someone using your donation sites to commit fraud. On your website you do not include any of the more complex methods of verifying a credit card such as the card security code shown on the back of a credit card (such as the one used by the McCain-Palin Victory 08 fund). Systems like these must be put into place to ensure that the funds that you are receiving are both legitimate and in compliance with federal campaign finance law.
Senator Obama, do this so that we don't have any more made up names donating to you or any more Michael Hs or Steve and Rachael Larmans finding out that someone had used them to fraudulently make a donation. The integrity of our election system relies on everyone playing by the same set of rules.
Note: To date all requests made by us at The Minority Report for information have gone unanswered by the FBI.