June 22, 2018
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Obama ’08 team failed to report $2 million in donations

Morry Gash | AP
Morry Gash | AP
In this June 3, 2008 file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., waves to supporters before speaking at a primary night rally in St. Paul, Minn.
By T.W. Farnam, The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The Obama campaign did not disclose nearly $2 million in donations ahead of the 2008 elections, according to an audit by the Federal Election Commission released Thursday.

The campaign was required to file public disclosures of contributions over $1,000 within two days after they were received in the weeks leading up to the election. The campaign failed to disclose 1,312 contributions totaling $1,972,266 that were transferred from a fund used to raise money with the Democratic National Committee.

“The FEC conducted a routine review of the 2008 campaign as it did with the McCain campaign and many others,” said Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. “And out of the more than $750 million raised from more than 4 million Americans, it found one reporting issue involving a fraction of those contributions.”

The contributions appeared on regular disclosure filings made after the election.

The FEC was not required by law to do the audit because President Barack Obama turned down public funding for the election. Obama’s 2008 rival, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., accepted public funding, but the audit of his campaign has not been finished.

Obama and other Democrats made disclosure of campaign funding a central issue in the 2010 midterm elections in an attack on the millions of dollars spent by GOP interest groups. The Democratic Party’s crusade against undisclosed campaign money has continued this year.

In 2008, Republicans made an issue out of the millions in small donations that Obama’s campaign raised in the last two months of the campaign, charging that he was accepting money from foreigners or fictitious people.

The FEC audit, which included an investigation of “contributions from prohibited sources,” found no evidence to substantiate those allegations.

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