For Immediate Release
Contact: Press Office
Monday, October 20, 2008
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
McCain-Palin Campaign Conference Call On Barack Obama's Lack Of Fundraising Transparency
"From day one, Barack Obama said he was going to bring in a new style of politics. He talked about being to most transparent campaign seen to date. In fact, he has challenged other people on their transparency throughout the course of the election, whether it was his primary opponents or others. What is most amazing is that regardless of repeated calls and questions in the media about his contributions and what he has done, he has refused to this point to release any of his donors under $200 a person." -- Rick Davis
ARLINGTON, VA -- Today McCain-Palin 2008 held a press conference call with Rick Davis, McCain-Palin 2008 Campaign Manager, to discuss Barack Obama's September fundraising totals and the Obama campaign's troubling lack of transparency:
Rick Davis: "Obviously you know another historic day in an otherwise historic campaign. We saw a report this weekend that Senator Obama announced that he has raised $150 million in the month of September. An extraordinary amount of money and an unbelievable track record for someone who will no question go down in political history, regardless of the outcome of the election, as the greatest fundraiser in political history. I think there is nothing that can describe what a huge effort that is. I think it brings up though an important question for this campaign. From day one, Barack Obama said he was going to bring in a new style of politics. He talked about being to most transparent campaign seen to date. In fact, he has challenged other people on their transparency throughout the course of the election, whether it was his primary opponents or others. What is most amazing is that regardless of repeated calls and questions in the media abo ut his contributions and what he has done, he has refused to this point to release any of his donors under $200 a person. Obviously, in order to raise $150 million, he has had to include hundreds of thousands if not close to a million new donors into his campaign and what is also something that I think is important to note is that it is the first campaign since the Watergate era that has taken a primary fundraising effort and driven it all the way through and into the general election. So not only are the donations that he received in September an important question mark as to why these aren't being disclosed but all the donations that he got during the primary are usable in the general election. That's the first time that has ever happened and it raises questions about whether these donors too were qualified and why too isn't the Obama campaign reporting them. Clearly they have a significant internet capacity.
"There is no question that the technology allows this to happen. We, since the start of our campaign, have disclosed information on all our donors above $200 and below $200 and the RNC starting tomorrow will establish a searchable database where donors and their contributions will be made public within 24 hours of those donations. What we are trying to do is include the broadest possible transparency. As you all know, we took federal funds for the general election but the RNC continues to raise money into the election cycle and they will go back all the way to the point to at which John McCain won the nomination and do disclosure on those donors. Our house is right. The question remains why, with the technology that he has at his hands and the demands on transparency that he is so well known for using himself, doesn't he do the same thing? We know that this is an important issue because during the primary, Barack Obama constantly badgered his oppone nts in the primary about the fact that if he were to be the nominee and the Republican agreed he would take the government funds but as he won the primary and entered into the general election his fundraising machine continued to grow and grow. How did it grow? Who did it grow with? Because clearly that was at the heart of the decision that he made to forgo the federal funding and be the first person to go forward with the fundraising effort in the general election. It is significant too because his repeated pledges to do just the opposite. A pledge to the American public to where he would take the government funds if the Republican candidate did, that was long before he knew it would be John McCain. Then secondarily, in the debates themselves, as he looked at the camera, he said I will call John McCain and I will negotiate with John McCain the proper fundraising capacities for the general election. Well, he neither made that phone call nor sat down with John McCain.
"We all learned about it, I think the same way you did, on a blog post or an internet distribution that he was going to forgo the government funds. So he set the standard. He is the one who ran the transparency campaign. He is the one who said that these things were not going to happen without some kind of public dialogue, and I think that it's time now that we started to have that public dialogue. Because what we don't want to do is find out there have been impropriety in the contributions that he has received since he became the nominee of the party after the election. If there are problems, they should be disgorged and cleaned up. There's no question that there have been discussions between Barack Obama and the FEC to clean up some of the contributions they've been in the press lately. There are lots of really wonderful examples of you know people on the Gaza strip buying $30,000 worth of t-shirts. Now maybe they need new t-shirts on the Gaza Str ip but it is a violation of the law. I don't need to remind all of you that when you purchase a t-shirt or a baseball cap or anything else online with a presidential campaign it is considered a contribution to that campaign. It is one of the problems. I wish we could sell $30,000 worth of t-shirts ourselves. You know people are just dying to have a McCain t-shirt, especially the new version with Joe on them and yet we can't because one, now we're prohibited from taking any donations so we can't even sell a t shirt, but two when the primary was going on we would actually have to not give things to people when they got to the $2,300 limit. Clearly there's no such limitation in the Obama campaign.
"But we could go on with a number of other examples of where these violations have been seen and that's just out of the disclosed contributions. These aren't from the non-disclosed contributions. So I do think that from our perspective, a little bit of sunshine, a little bit of transparency will go a long way on this issue. The RNC, as many of you know, have filed a complaint with the FEC to see if they can get to the bottom of these literally three hundred million dollars in secret donations. And I only say secret because I have no doubt that they're, the vast majority of those are probably legitimate, but they're being kept secret by the Obama campaign for no good reason. I looked everywhere I could before getting on this call to find a explanation by the Obama campaign as to why they don't disclose these. And really other than during the primary some kind of description that there was so many that there would be these technical limitations to do it, look so many I'm sure he's going to want to raise even more than that since then, but I can't imagine with all the experts that they have working in the Obama internet operation that they couldn't make available this information. The RNC, whose done a phenomenal job fundraising this year, record amounts for an election year by the committee, has told us that there's no problem whatsoever making these contributions accessible to the public in about a 24 hour period. So I think that if certainly the RNC can do it, I would imagine that the great and wonderful Obama campaign could make that available.
"I would say too just to finish up that this pattern of nondisclosure, this pattern of non-responsiveness, this pattern of setting their own rules to apply to this campaign is consistent with all the other patterns that we've seen. We don't respond to questions about ACORN, and when we do we only put out enough to get us through each day, and then as the day progresses more questions get answered and we dribble out more information. Again where's the disclosure? Relationships, I mean, I don't mean to have this call devolve into a relationship call but it does seem to follow a pattern of, you know just one of my friends in the neighborhood which now we know people like Mr. Ayers had a much deeper much more involved relationship with Obama. When are we going to come clean? When are we going to be transparent? When are we going to have an ability to look into the least experienced nominee for the Democratic Party in its history for the presidency? When are we going to get a chance to kick the tires and see what's really going on? I think that the last thing we want is a lot of problems after the election. There's one analyst report out there from the FEC that said earlier in the month that this could result in the largest fine ever levied against a national campaign in history. Why do we want to have that happen? Obviously Barack Obama wants to obey the law. Obviously the Obama campaign wants to adhere to the necessary requirements. Why don't they do it before election day instead of worrying about it after election day? So let's go ahead and open it up,
"I would just say parenthetically one of the other disturbing aspects of this issue is that because John McCain took the federal matching funds, our campaign will be audited. Our campaign will have a thorough review by the FEC of every expenditure that we made during the course of the September and October campaign. Because Barack Obama has chosen not to take the federal government funds there's a lingering question since its never occurred since these statutes were one the books, as to whether or not there actually will be an audit of his spending and fundraising, and I think that if that's the case it raises even a larger specter over the voluntary cooperation that we should be receiving from a presidential candidate who, not only this month, but has throughout the course of this campaign raised a record number of contributions and has set a standard well above any other in history. Congratulations to the Obama campaign in that regard but shame on them for not letting the public also see where these contributions are coming from."
Listen To The Conference Call