This is by no means meant to be a partisan petition. This is watchdogging pure and simple. I absolutely support McCain’s campaign being audited. I think that despite his opting out of the campaign finance system, Obama’s campaign should be subjected to the same rigorous review. The text and link to the petion can be found below:
We the undersigned hereby believe it necessary and petition the FEC to conduct full audit of how Barack Obama raised and spent his presidential campaign’s record-shattering $650 millon dollar windfall based on numerous allegations of questionable donations, donations from foreign nationals and accounting issues.
President-Elect Obama initially pledged to the American people in 2007 Obama filled out questionnaire from the Midwest Democracy Network that asked, “If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?” Obama’s answer? A check next to the box marked “yes.” Underneath, the Illinois senator elaborated:
“In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”
In June 2008, he completely reversed himself saying: “It’s not an easy decision, and especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections…”
In a letter to Senators Feinstein Senator Bennett in June 2007, then Senator Obama referring to an upcoming FEC Commissioner appointment the Commission, noting that the FEC should demonstrate a consistent ability to uphold the law and overcome partisan biases and should reflect a record of nonpartisanship, fairness, and judgment necessary to enforce election laws.
“The FEC is an independent regulatory agency tasked with the enforcement and administration of the Federal Election Commission Act. Individuals named to the Commission should have a demonstrated record of fair administration of the law and an ability to overcome partisan biases.”
President-Elect Obama is expected to escape that level of scrutiny Sen. McCain faces mostly because he declined an $84 million public grant for his campaign that automatically triggers an audit and because the sheer volume of cash he raised and spent minimizes the significance of his errors. Additionally the conventional wisdom is that because the FEC is made up of 3 Democrat and 3 Republican Commissioners, it will deadlock and no audit will take place.
President-Elect Obama publically supported a publically financed campaign system until it was no longer in his financial interests to do so despite a pledge to fellow Democrats, Sen. McCain and all Americans that he would participate. The potential technical difficulties should not outweigh the public interest in auditing a record breaking $650 million dollar campaign. No future presidential candidate will subject themselves to a system where if you participate you are audited, if you raise too much money for the FEC to audit, they won’t.
The FEC must scrutinize President-Elect Obama just as thoroughly as independently as they will Sen. McCain. This is not only reasonable to the American people, but in President-Elect Obama’s own words, the FEC should “demonstrate a consistent ability to uphold the law and overcome partisan biases and should reflect a record of nonpartisanship, fairness, and judgment necessary to enforce election laws.”