The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


The Green Zone

Obama's $175,000 Donor?

By Matthew Mosk and Sarah Cohen

There have been a smattering of incidents reported in which people have seen credit card charges surface suggesting they donated to Barack Obama when they did not.

Now comes the story of Mary T. Biskup, of Manchester, Missouri. Biskup got a call recently from the Obama campaign, which was trying to figure out why she donated $174,800 to the campaign -- well over the contribution limit of $2,300.

The answer she gave them was simple. "That's an error."

Biskup, a retired insurance manager who occasionally submits recipes to the local paper, says someone used a credit card to donate the money in her name. No charges ever showed up on her credit card statement.

"We're not out a penny," Biskup said. "I gather that someone has hacked into something using other people's credit cards and putting my name on it."

Obama's campaign spotted the irregular donations, more than 70 of which all arrived on the same day, and aides to the senator said they refunded the money. The campaign began investigating immediately.

"As we reviewed our contributions and the more than 100,000 pages of our report, we noticed repeat donations from one contributor and proactively contacted the donor to verify whether the contributions were appropriate," said Ben LaBolt, a campaign spokesman. "We refunded all of the contributions and contacted authorities when we determined Ms. Biskup had not made them. While no organization is protected from internet fraud - John McCain was forced to refund more than $1.2 million in contributions and has accepted contributions from non-existent donors like 'Jesus II' -- our review system caught and rectified this issue."

As for Biskup, she said she's been closely following the campaign, and watched every debate. She wouldn't say who she's going to vote for, though she identified herself as a one-time independent who, "after the last eight years" has become "a liberal knee-jerk yellow dog Democrat."

"The campaign has really perked my interest," she said. "But not enough to donate $175,000."

Posted at 8:42 PM ET on Oct 21, 2008  | Category:  The Green Zone
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It seems to have eluded many of you that it was the Obama campaign that was investigating this. It is not evidence that his campaign has done anything wrong, quite the contrary.

Posted by: cindylou2 | October 23, 2008 11:11 AM

Sadly, reports of credit card use to circumvent election fundraising laws continue to increase:

Posted by: TheBlueMax | October 23, 2008 10:18 AM

Fraudulent registrations. Fraudulent donations. Fraudulent candidate.

Posted by: zjr78xva | October 22, 2008 11:56 PM

If you believe Matthew Mosk and Sarah Cohen, everything's on the up-and-up with the BHO campaign!

Of course, there's those millions more dollars from possibly fraudulent donations, including the possibility that the BHO campaign broke federal law:

And, some bloggers are doing their own tests and finding just how loose the BHO campaign's donation standards are. See the comments from oldowan here:

(The main link at that page is also slightly of interest, but she's about as far from a real reporter as those at the WaPo).

Message to MSM reporters:

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | October 22, 2008 11:52 PM

I have a question. If she says its not hers, how do they know who used her card to return it. Strange

Posted by: farmer62 | October 22, 2008 10:51 PM

Obama is spending money he doesn't have, hmmm just like his tax plan. It will take a year to sort out all of the campaign fraud by Obama.

Posted by: robtr | October 22, 2008 10:30 PM

Wiel, get real.

That's not what he meant and you know it.

Posted by: HydeParker | October 21, 2008 10:05 PM

Socialist Hackers United To Uplift Paypal


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | October 21, 2008 9:49 PM

It seems like Ms. Biskup has plenty of credit.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | October 21, 2008 9:14 PM

Wiel spewed: "Hold on to your credits cards"

You won't be able to because they'll all be cancelled thanks to BUSH's Financial Crisis.

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 21, 2008 9:11 PM

“There have been a smattering of incidents reported in which people have seen credit card charges surface suggesting they donated to Barack Obama when they did not.” Sen. Obama is spreading the wealth around, that’s all folks. Hold on to your credits cards, Sen. Obama is coming your way.

Posted by: Wiel | October 21, 2008 9:01 PM

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