It has been reported that the Obama campaign this year, as in 2008, has disabled or chosen not to use AVS in screening contributions made by credit card.
That doesn't sound very important. But it's evidence of a modus operandi that strikes me as thuggish.
AVS stands for Address Verification System. It's the software that checks whether the name of the cardholder matches his or her address.
If a campaign doesn't use AVS, it can wind up accepting contributions from phony names or accepting contributions from foreigners, both of which are illegal.
The 2008 Obama campaign pocketed money from "John Galt, 1957 Ayn Rand Lane, Galts Gulch CO 99999" and $174,000 from a woman in Missouri who told reporters she had given nothing and had never been billed. Presumably she would have noticed an extra charge of $174,000.
The Obama campaign is evidently happy to pocket the money. After all, this is the president who, according to political scientist Brendan Doherty, has appeared at more fundraisers in three and a half years than his six predecessors did in 35 years.
Obama talks a good game on transparency and openness, but he's ready to flout the law by avoiding AVS and to break his high-minded campaign promises.
In the 2008 campaign cycle, he promised to take public financing for the general election. He broke that promise when it became apparent that he could raise far more money on his own.
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