Archive for October 15th, 2012

Never Been a Fund Like the Stimulus Barack Obama

John Hinderaker over at Powerline does a nice job of examining some of the basic resemblances between the Obama administration and the European National Socialist programs of the 30s.  This doesn’t mean Nazi with all their racial horrors; people forget that even outside of Mussolini’s Italy, Fascism was considered the “Wave of the Future” by many useful idiots.  And Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is a tour-de-force on the subject of how fascism was a pathology of the Left, not the right.

Obama’s early personal tours overseas after his election showed him to be completely out of his depth when dealing with foreign leaders, and if Luigi Barzini is to be believed, there was always a substantial segment of the Italian population that never really took him seriously, or at least saw him for the fundamentally unserious leader that he was.

But it was Evita Peron who had the good fortune to have Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice write a musical about her.  “Benito on Broadway” probably never got very far because of WWII.  Turning the hideously murderous and mentally unstable Che Guevara into a folk-hero Greek chorus is forgivable – barely – only because the music itself is so good, and because nobody takes the actual history in a Broadway music very seriously, anyway.

Obama’s overseas trips also brought to mind Webber’s song about Evita’s “Rainbow Tour,” where she, too, found some popular acclaim with little policy success to show for it.  And the Stimulus was always a case of buying people off with their own money, or perhaps their childrens’ and grandchildrens’.  The program produced little in the way of actual stimulus, largely amounted to a massive transfer of debt from states and localities to the federal government, and a transfer of wealth from the taxpayers and their progeny to Obama’s political friends.

Now comes word that the various federal inspectors general charged with looking after the Stimulus funds have opened over 1900 separate investigations into potential mischief.

The government’s chief spending watchdogs have already secured nearly 600 convictions and judgments against people and companies accused of misusing stimulus funds and have a whopping 1,900 investigations currently open into possible wrongdoing, officials say.

The wave of scrutiny more than three years after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed by Congress early in the Obama administration means the question of how money was managed early in the program is certain to extend well into the next year as many of the current investigations come to conclusion.

When the money keeps rolling out you don’t keep books
You can tell you’ve done well by the happy grateful looks
Accountants only slow things down, figures get in the way
Never been a lady loved as much as Eva Peron

I know there’s a better-lit version out there with the current cast, but even Mandy Patinkin’s voice projects a desperation, anger, and contempt that Ricky Martin can only conjure up in his worst nightmares.

There is, as yet, no evidence of personal corruption by the Obama, rumors of Hawaiian retirement plans notwithstanding, but Illinois politicians of both parties have a long history of making sure their clients remember them when the time comes.  Running that to ground will probably prove impossible, but for me, it’ll be enough to send them into retirement, no matter how plush.

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Obama’s Campaign Finance Loopholes

Newly-inaugurated Pres. Obama promised that transparency would be the hallmark of his administration in a statement on January 21, 2009:

“The way to make government responsible is to hold it accountable. And the way to make government accountable is to make it transparent so that the American people can know exactly what decisions are being made, how they’re being made, and whether their interests are being well-served.”

Unfortunately, the Obama campaign hasn’t been a model of transparency itself, and it now appears as though it may well have been exploiting loopholes in campaign finance reporting requirements to circumvent the law and collect foreign campaign contributions.

A report from Peter Schweizer’s Government Accountability Institute, “America the Vulnerable: Are Foreign and Fraudulent Online Campaign Contributions Influencing U.S. Elections?,” has as its centerpiece an examination of the fundraising practices of the Obama campaign.

The domain, “” is owned by a U.S. businessman based in Shanghai, with close ties to both the Obama administration and the Chinese government, and whose business, Acorn International, is involved in processing credit card transactions. The “” domain reroutes its traffic – roughly 2/3 of which is from overseas IP addresses – to, the fundraising site of the Obama campaign.  What’s happening is that a large number of foreign site visitors are being added to the Obama campaign’s email rolls.

The Obama campaign has been emailing campaign solicitations to foreign email addresses, often asking for contributions in the odd amount of $190. The cutoff is $200, below which campaigns are not required to collect or report information about the donor.

The campaign has only minimal Address Verification settings, making it possible for a foreign contributor to enter, undetected, a U.S. address for his credit card, and have the transaction processed. In addition, the campaign doesn’t ask for CVV (that three- or four-digit number on the back of your credit card) for campaign contributions, even though it does for merchandise purchases.

In essence, the campaign has disabled virtually all of the electronic safeguards that would allow it to detect fraudulent or foreign contributions, and it is under no legal obligation to collect or report information about those contributors, for future audit. Regardless of that, it is illegal for a campaign even to solicit contributions from foreign nationals.

Katie Pavlich has written a nice summary of the findings here. In the meantime, Schweizer’s dismemberment of the Obama campaign’s non-response to the findings can be found here and here.

It will – and should – be noted that many Congressional campaigns, including those of Republicans, are similarly at risk for failing to require CVV and to use the strictest AVS settings. However, few Congressional or Senate campaigns feature candidates of international star status, or offices capable of influencing, setting, and managing trade policy and its execution. This limits both the ability of those campaigns to solicit foreign donations, and the interests in foreign donors in contributing to them.  President Obama’s re-election campaign is, in this regard, something special.

Certainly the evidence is mostly circumstantial, but that will always be true in instances where the law simply doesn’t require the reporting necessary to trace violations. The evidence isn’t enough to convict, but it most certainly is enough to warrant the sort of investigation that can subpoena internal memos and emails, depose witnesses, and use normal prosecutorial techniques to get to the truth of the matter.

If you got here from WhoSaidYouSaid, here’s how you get back.


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