We never did find out about Mr. Good Will….

Senator Obama has raised over 600 million dollars during the course of his Presidential campaign.  That’s an impressive achievement.  In less than two years on the national scene, the junior Senator from Illinois has hit fundraising heights the Clintons, with their vastly greater network and lead time, never came close to hitting.

My question: do we know where this money actually came from?  Is there a good audit trail?  What is your confidence level that all of this money has been raised legally and from United States citizens?

Mine is fairly low.  We never did learn much about Mr. Good Will of Austin, Texas. If you don’t remember this story, the Obama campaign had an oopsie when the Feds discovered a Mr. “Good Will” with an occupation off “Loving You” had donated over $11,000 to the Obama campaign. Similarly “Doodad Pro” donated a shade over $17,000.  That’s just a bit over the legal limit of $2,300.

No problem, says the Obama campaign.  They just gave the money back:

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the campaign has no idea who the individuals are and has returned all the donations, using the credit-card numbers they gave to the campaign.

Huh.  I don’t know about you, but in any credit card machine I’ve ever used as a merchant, when you credit an account, you get a receipt back for your paper trail.  And once you put in a card number, when you get the receipt, it comes back with the name of the cardholder.

So let’s review.  Either the Obama campaign is incompetent and using bad software, and walked away leaving $28,000 on the table — or they know exactly who Messrs. Pro and Will are, and probably gave them instructions on how to donate legally.  I will leave it to you as to which one seems more likely.

Unaddressed by Mr. LaBolt: why would someone give money to the Obama campaign and try to hide its source?  Doesn’t that seem to be a bit odd?

If you haven’t heard about this story, it’s not surprising: The Google Ratio on this story (using the string “Obama ‘Good Will’ ‘Loving You’ ” is 1,010,000 to 2,350, for a fairly astonishing 429: 1 ratio.


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One response to “We never did find out about Mr. Good Will….

  1. This is a very sobering indictment especially since most ecommerce software has several checks (such as Billing ZIP check and CVV check) turned ON by default when solutions are newly installed. Web site/revenue managers would have to make a conscious decision that they want these checks turned off and would have to change software settings (pretty easy) to do so.

    For 15 years, I have developed secure card processing software for a major shopping cart processor. Since we offer a free secure shopping cart, we have a lot of experience with new and inexperienced merchants processing credit cards for the first time. I can tell you this: it’s not a case of ignorance or naïveté, especially since this credit card security issue has been so widely discussed online, and we have many proofs that this administration is highly aware of critical discussions taking place in the blogosphere.

    Doing what we’ve observed does not require a special arrangement or a conspiracy with the credit card companies: any tiny merchant on the internet could do the same, even with Paypal. After 60 or 90 days, the credit card company would want to have a ‘serious’ conversation with you, but all you would have to do is promise remedial action and you can continue merrily on your way without getting serious about remediation.

    The more serious issue is compliance with FEC regulations and federal campaign law – it’s very obvious that the campaign was actively trying to solicit foreign contributions (illegal) when you visit pages like: my.barackobama.com/page/group/LesParisiensavecleSenateurOBAMA where the activist controls on the site even report to everyone how much foreign activist fundraising has taken place in the Paris group. Since most of the page is in French, I seriously doubt that all of the $39,000+ was raised by citizen expatriates in Paris. The common billing address check and a simple SQL query would have prevented so many foreign contributions.

    My exit question is this: if this activity is what we observed prior to the election, if this candidate was so careless with common checks that most merchants use, what kind of care and diligence can we expect when this guy has his hands on the US budget?

    Ron Robinson
    800Cart

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