Scandals Undermine Obama Fundraising

Internet lotteries, misuse of tax exempt church resources, and campaign-sanctioned hate speech cut into Obama fundraising

Two or three months ago, Republicans’ biggest fear was that Obama’s sophisticated Internet network would raise enough money to overwhelm McCain with limitless funds for advertising. Barack Obama believed this as well, as shown by his decision to reject Federal funding (and spending limits) for his campaign.

The following E-mail from David Plouffe now reports, however, that McCain’s admittedly more primitive fundraising system is outperforming Obama’s system. It also suggests that disgruntled Obama supporters are closing their wallets and purses to further solicitations. Potential explanations include spreading scandals about Obama’s methods of raising money or its equivalent–including Internet lotteries of questionable legality along with misuse of tax exempt church resources–and his campaign’s sanction of anti-Semitic, misogynist, and racist hate speech along with actual libel at

I have some big news we want to share with you.

In the month of June, supporters like you helped raise $52 million. And together with the DNC, we now have nearly $72 million in the bank. That’s a very strong financial position to be in.

But we remain at a massive disadvantage to our opponents.

As I mentioned in my video message earlier in the week, the McCain Campaign and the Republican National Committee finished June with nearly $100 million in the bank.

We can’t stop now. It’s going to take everything we’ve got to defeat John McCain and his allies in November.

Can you make a donation of $5 now to strengthen our movement for change?

I know this isn’t the first time we’ve asked you for financial support, and it won’t be the last.

We have developed a strategy — a very aggressive strategy — that will only work if our millions of supporters continue to contribute their time and their money.

That strategy will work, and it has to. The stakes are too high and the need for change too great.

But victory is only possible with your continued help.

We can’t do this without you.



David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Read carefully. Barack Obama’s sophisticated Internet campaign was, until this summer, raising what seemed like limitless funds. Now, however, McCain and the RNC actually have more money in the bank than the Obama campaign. Furthermore, Mr. Plouffe must now beg for five dollar contributions because many of Obama’s supporters are wising up to the campaign’s questionable fundraising methods, along with its sanction of racism, anti-Semitism, and even libel.

We reported previously that Minnesota law enforcement officials complained to the Obama campaign about its use of an arguably illegal Internet lottery to raise money for the campaign. Not only that, the correction (allowing people to enter a drawing for an expenses-paid trip to the Democratic National Convention without donating money to the Obama campaign) that the campaign promised to Minnesota’s authorities was at best cosmetic and perfunctory. The campaign is still sending out highly deceptive E-mails that contain all the elements of a lottery.

  1. Payment of consideration (a donation of at least five dollars to the Obama campaign). Only when one looks at the donation page itself, and one has to look rather carefully, does one discover that one can enter the drawing without payment.
  2. Element of chance: ten lucky winners will get an expenses-paid trip to Denver to meet Barack Obama.
  3. A prize: the aforementioned expenses-paid trip

This is not the first such solicitation we have seen from the Obama camp, and previous ones required a donation for a chance to win a dinner with Barack Obama. It is quite possible (not legal advice, we are not lawyers) that these were in fact illegal lotteries that should be reported to the Federal Election Commission. As a matter of fact, we still have them on file; this one is from July 31 2007.

Last week we started planning our second dinner, and on Friday evening at 6:42 pm, a woman named Dorothy Unruh of Lakewood, Colorado made a donation.

I’m pleased to announce that Dorothy will be one of my guests for the second dinner. You could join us if you make a small donation before 11:59 pm tonight, July 31st:

It is also a matter of record that, in June 2007, Obama misused the United Church of Christ’s tax exempt resources by giving a speech with campaign-related content at the church’s annual synod in Hartford CT. Obama’s knowing and willful–because the church told his campaign the rules in advance, and he and his people indicated understanding and agreement–misuse of the church’s tax exempt resources resulted in an Internal Revenue Service investigation of the church. The IRS concluded, and rightly so in our opinion, that the church did everything possible to comply with its tax exemption. The United Church of Christ should not be held responsible for Obama’s betrayal of its trust.

There is finally the matter of anti-Semitic (e.g. “Zionist Thought Police” and “Jewish Lobby”), racist (Black Clinton supporters are “House N*****s” and George Bush is a “honky”), misogynist (“Hillary Clinton is a b****” and an assertion that Clinton shows that women are not qualified to hold public office) and ageist hate speech at To the hate speech may be added a wish that President Bush had been assassinated, and another sentiment to the effect that John McCain is an “old man” who should “pay a well-deserved visit to the undertaker.” is also an overflowing sewer of actual libel in the form of false accusations of crimes that are directed at identifiable individual and corporate “persons.”

Contrary to the disclaimer that the Obama campaign does not endorse or approve’s content, the campaign exercises editorial control over the site by deleting and banning content it finds “objectionable” or “disrespectful.” The campaign must therefore sanction (tolerate, if not actually endorse) the hate speech, wishes for the deaths of public figures like Bush and McCain, and actual libel. It therefore comes as no surprise that Barack Obama’s own supporters are waking up to his and his campaign’s “ethical challenges” and are slamming shut their checkbooks, wallets, and purses in response to David Plouffe’s appeals.


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