The controversial Media Matters For America progressive group today posted a false article claiming President Obama’s campaign did not accept a donation from someone impersonating Osama bin Laden using a foreign proxy server.
“Sorry Drudge, The Obama Campaign Is Not Accepting Donations From Osama Bin Laden,” read the group’s headline.
The Media Matters piece took issue with a WND article, linked at the popular DrudgeReport.com, reporting “bin Laden” successfully donated twice to Obama’s presidential re-election campaign using a Pakistani Internet Protocol address and proxy server, a disposable credit card and a fake address.
The “Bin Laden” donations, actually made by WND staff, included a listed occupation of “deceased terror chief” and a stated employer of “al-Qaida.”
The apparently foreign-based contributions were conducted as a test after media reports described the ability of foreigners to donate to the Obama campaign but not to Mitt Romney’s site, which has placed safeguards against such efforts.
The acceptance of foreign contributions is strictly illegal under U.S. campaign finance law.
The basis for Media Matters’ denial is the general anti-fraud guidelines that the Obama campaign claims to have in place.
Writes Media Matters: “In fact, the campaign has explained that it has anti-fraud protections in place to stop fake or illegal donations and that just because a fraudulent donation ‘may initially appear to a donor to have been accepted,’ such a donation will soon be rejected.”
Media Matters did not quote anyone from the Obama campaign responding as to whether the “bin Laden” donations were rejected.
Indeed, the two donations, for $15 and $5 respectively, were accepted by the campaign and were deducted from the disposable credit card that was used.
Media Matters further wrongly claimed, “The Obama campaign also requests ‘proof of a current and valid U.S. passport’ if a contribution originates from outside the United States and raises questions about the contributor’s citizenship.”
When the “bin Laden” donations were made using a foreign proxy server, no such requests of citizenship were made. At no point was the user prompted to enter any passport information. No questions were asked at any time by the Obama campaign website to verify proof of citizenship or even whether the donor was a U.S. citizen at all.
“Bin Laden” is currently set up on the official campaign website to contribute more to Obama’s campaign. The name is also registered as a volunteer.
Since the “foreign” contribution was sent, “Bin Laden’s” email address has received several solicitations from Obama’s campaign for more donations.
One $15 donation was made at BarackObama.com using a confirmed Pakistani IP address and proxy server. In other words, as far as the campaign website was concerned, the donation was openly identified electronically as coming from Pakistan.
Upon clicking the “donate” button, WND staff selected the $15 amount and were taken to a page on the campaign website asking for a first and last name, city, state, zip code, email address and phone number.
The information submitted was: “Osama bin Laden, 911 Jihad Way, Abbottabad, CA 91101.”
While the website only has options for U.S. states and zip codes, there is no mechanism in place on Obama’s website to verify the individual is actually located in that state or zip code, or even in the U.S.
The Obama campaign refuses to release the identification of donors who give less than $200
In the case of this donation, the 91101 zip code is real but corresponds to Pasadena, Calif., and not Abbottabad, the Pakistani city in which bin Laden was found holed up in a compound.
For a requested phone number, WND used the White House information line of (202) 456-2121.
The email address used to set up the donation account was [email protected]
After clicking “next,” the website asked for an employer, occupation and a password to set up future donations. WND staff entered the occupation as “deceased terror chief” and the employer as “al-Qaida.”
The transaction was made last Friday with the use of a disposable credit card. The website did not require the card’s security code.
The campaign website immediately accepted the contribution even though it was made from a Pakistani IP address and despite the nonexistent street name and city information.
An automated email was immediately sent from Rufus Gifford, national finance director of Obama for America, thanking “Osama” for the contribution. The email contained a note that said, “There may be a minor delay in the processing of your contribution as it will be subject to review.” However, “Osama bin Laden’s” foreign donation evidently passed the Obama campaign’s “review.”
As of today, the $15 was still debited from the disposable card.
To test if the first donation was an oversight, a second donation of $5 was made the following day using the “Bin Laden” account and the same Pakistani IP address.
WND has received confirmation from the credit card company that the purchase went through and the $5 was deducted from the disposable card.
From the time of the first donation until today, the Obama campaign sent nine more emails to the bin Laden Gmail account soliciting more donations.
One email sent Saturday reads: “Thanks so much for your donation of $5.00. Please take 10% off your next purchase of $10 or more at our online store.”
Another, signed by Michelle Obama, was titled “Barack is getting outraised.”
“You’re one of the campaign’s most committed supporters,” Michelle Obama writes in the automated email to “bin Laden.”
“Please make a donation of $19 or whatever you can today.”
The donations from a Pakistani IP address are sure to raise further questions about the measures in place to block such donations.
White House, ACORN, MoveOn.org
Media Matters recently came under fire for its unusual tactics, including compiling a de facto enemies list; announcing an all-out campaign of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” aimed at the Fox News Channel; and reportedly seeking to investigate the personal lives of reporters and news personalities.
The information came amid reports White House staffers held regular meetings and even a weekly conference call with Media Matters.
As WND was first to report, one of the single largest donors to Media Matters is a controversial far-left clearinghouse that funds groups such as MoveOn.org, ACORN and a litany of anti-war organizations.
The organization, the Tides Foundation, is funded in part by billionaire George Soros, himself a prominent Media Matters donor.
Tides functions as a money channel in which major leftist donors provide large sums that are distributed to hundreds of radical groups.
Tides documentation reviewed by WND shows the group provided a total of $4.1 million to Media Matters during the fiscal years of 2004 to 2009.
During that same time period, Tides provided an additional $110,000 to the Media Matters Action Network, the group’s affiliated progressive lobby.
The Tides Foundation funding to Media Matters was most significant during the progressive news organization’s startup year of 2004, when Tides granted it $2.2 million.
In 2005, Tides sent another $1.1 million to Media Matters.
The years 2006 and 2007 saw smaller Tides donations of $56,223 and $38,225 respectively.
In 2008, a significant Tides donation of $659,500 came in to Media Matters, with another $106,038 in 2009.
In 2010, the Tides Center expressed public support for Media Matters when the media group stepped up its activism against Fox News by posting a Web page dedicated to anti-Fox material along with an online petition that pressed Fox’s advertisers to “Drop Fox.” At the time, Tides’ chief executive and founder, Drummond Pike, endorsed Media Matters’ campaign.
Media Matters already admitted to taking $1 million directly from Soros. The billionaire has donated more than $7 million to Tides over the years.
Tides was also a primary funder of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, and was closely tied to the group implicated in voter fraud. The Tides Center’s board chairman is Wade Rathke, ACORN’s founder and chief organizer.
Tides also is a primary funder of MoveOn.org, the American Civil Liberties Union, Campaign for America’s Future, the Center for American Progress, the Center for Community Change, the socialist-leaning Democracy Now!, the Marxist-founded Free Press and Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies.
Tides was closely linked to the Occupy Wall Street Movement. The Tides-funded Adbusters magazine is reported to have come up with the Occupy Wall Street idea after Arab Spring protests toppled governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. The Adbusters website served as a central hub for Occupy’s planning.
The Tides-funded Ruckus Society provided direct-action training to Occupy protesters as well as official training resources, including manuals, to Occupy training groups. Ruckus, which helped spark the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle, was also listed as a “friend and partner” of the Occupy Days of Action in October.
Another grantee of Tides, MoveOn.org, joined Occupy.