POLITICS

Obama camp blocks donations from China, allows giving from other countries to continue

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

President Obama’s campaign and the Chinese government have blocked online donations from China, but the Obama camp appears to have done nothing to block illegal contributions from other countries.

“[For Chinese users], the campaign has now blocked access from using the contribute page,” Peter Schweizer, whose Government Accountability Institute issued a report on illegal foreign donations to American political campaigns, told The Washington. GAI reported that a website, Obama.com — owned by one of the president’s top campaign bundlers — drives traffic to the donation page on Obama’s campaign website.

Sixty-eight percent of that website’s visitors resided in foreign countries. The Chinese government has blocked access to Obama.com for internet users in mainland China, which Schweizer said accounted for just 10 percent of traffic to the website.

“It’s a shocking revelation that the Chinese government wants to do something that the Obama campaign wouldn’t do,” GAI founder Steve Bannon told The New York Post, which first reported on the Chinese government’s decision to stop donations to Obama. “They’re more sensitive to American sovereignty and campaign-finance law than the Obama campaign.”

Although the Obama campaign has finally blocked Chinese users, the other 58 percent of foreign traffic to Obama.com — and thus to the campaign’s donation page — can continue unimpeded. The Obama campaign has not blocked any other countries visitors from going to the donation page, Schweizer explained.

“I think they have made a political calculation that the prospects of any donations from China are a lot more frightening than the prospects of donations coming from Denmark, so they have decided  to quietly block access from China, but not from any other country that we can see,” Schweizer said.

The New York Post reported the anecdote of a British citizen in London donating $10 to the Obama campaign, despite federal law banning foreign campaign contributions.

“Chris Walker, a British citizen who lives outside London, told The Post he was able to make two $5 donations to President Obama’s campaign this month through its Web site while a similar attempt to give Mitt Romney cash was rejected,” the Post reported. “Walker said he used his actual street address in England but entered Arkansas as his state with the Schenectady, NY, ZIP code of 12345.”

The Obama campaign has received $4.5 million in donations from people who claimed, as Walker did, to live in zip codes that did not exist. The Government Accountability Institute reported on those contributions after reviewing FEC data.

 

 

 

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