A new study suggests that President Obama's campaign systematically pursued foreign contributions to fuel his run for the presidency, a violation of law. Is America's democracy now for sale to the highest bidder?
The Government Accountability Institute, which is headed by Stanford University Professor Peter Schweizer, used sophisticated Internet investigative tools — including something called "spidering" software — to determine how the web is being used to raise political funds.
What it found should be of concern, since it suggests that many in Congress and, more importantly, the Obama campaign have systematically exploited loopholes in the law to raise millions of dollars overseas — a big chunk of it in the People's Republic of China.
How is this done? Through the mundane use of what's called in the credit-card world the Card Verification Value, or CVV. It's the three-digit number on the back of a card that helps positively identify that the person using the card has it in his or her possession. It's a key anti-fraud weapon, used by nearly all legitimate e-commerce businesses and charities.
Obama's campaign doesn't use it. Mitt Romney's does. So why the particular concern over Obama?
As the report notes, letting a flood of money into the political system with no verification of its source is an invitation to fraud — especially from overseas.
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