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
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