Reattributions/Redesignation, 26 million on hold 12/23/08

5/January/2009

 

December 23, 2008

 

Office of the General Counsel

Federal Election Commission
999 E. Street, NW

Washington, D.C.  20463

Complaint of Over Limit Contributions and Request for Audit – Obama for America (C00431445) and Obama Victory Fund (C00451393)

Discrepancies in Donor Debits (Update to MUR 6142)

Dear Sir or Madam:

This is an update to complaint, MUR 6142, pertaining to the Presidential Campaign Funds of Barack Obama.  The FEC file for Barack Obama, containing all donors disclosed, contains over 2.5 million transactions (file All.zip).  A single donor may have hundreds of transactions listed.  These transactions show some irregularities and there are questions about the reporting.  These questions involve:

·        Reattribution/redesignation transactions totaling $26 million without donor approval.

·        Debits not reported for $562,277 of reattribution/redesignation credits (Table II).

·        Uncollected chargeback and bank return debits of $1.9 million that do not appear to have been collected or listed as refunds.

There are 53,518 donor transactions listed as debits, for the Obama for America fund, totaling around $32 million.  They are noted in the files as is shown in the attached summary Table I, with the associated funds shown in Table II.  Examination of the reattribution and redesignation records show that there is approximately $562,277 more credited than debited for these transactions.  It is understood that reattribution/redesignation is done for donors with funds over the maximum donation limit of $2,300 per campaign.  It would therefore seem that they would all be required to be reported. 

Another even more disturbing issue is the amount being taken as credit for transactions where there have been requests for reattribution/redesignation that the campaign apparently does not have.  This amounts to about $26 million in funds (46,619 transactions) held by the campaign.  Should these have been refunded?  Some of the requests go all the way back to January 2008.  Are these donors all over their $2,300 per campaign limit?


These transactions may be found by searching the All.zip file attribute “receipt_desc” for the records listing “REATTRIBUTION/REDESIGNATION REQUESTED”.

These transactions may be found by searching the All.zip file attribute “memo_text” for the records listing “CREDIT CARD CHARGEBACK” and “RETURNED BY BANK”.

 page 1

 

 

 

 

Then there are some debits listed as credit card chargebacks and bank returns.  They do not appear to be included in the campaign report total for Refunds to Individuals.  Even if these are accounting errors that could be dismissed against the reattribution/redesignation credits, they need to be corrected as they obscure the accounting and introduce errors.  The $26 million in reattribution/redesignation requests would still be no lower than the cumulative total $25 million shown in Table II.

The American People need an audit of the Obama for America (C00431445) and Obama Victory Fund (C00451393).  We are depending on the FEC to assure compliance with fair practices.  Please audit the Obama Presidential Campaign Funds.  Thank you for your time and consideration.                  

 

                                                                                    Yours Truly,

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribed and sworn to before me this__________day of_______________, 20___.

 

 

 

page 2

 

Table 1 on next page »»»

 

Table I.

Refund and Reattribution/Redesignation Transactions

 

 

 

 

 

Credits

Debits

Total

Redesignation (Red)

             39,225

      38,964

           78,189

Reattribution (Rea)

               1,812

        1,769

              3,581

Rea/Red

                  197

           197

                 394

Unspecified Debits

 

              21

                   21

Rea/Red Requested

             46,620

           168

           46,788

Chargeback/Return

 

        5,681

              5,681

Refund

                     79

        6,718

              6,797

Total

             87,933

      53,518

         141,451

 

Table II on next page »»»

 

  

 

Table II.  Refund and Reattribution/Redesignation Amounts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credits

Debits

Total

Cumulative Total

Notes

Redesignation

 $     21,284,089

 $    (20,982,551)

 $             301,538

 $          301,538

 

Reattribution

 $       2,678,421

 $      (2,564,392)

 $             114,029

 $          415,567

 

Rea/Red

 $          780,170

 $          (626,930)

 $             153,240

 $          568,807

 

Unspecified Debits

 

 $              (6,531)

 $                (6,531)

 $     562,277

(1)

Rea/Red Requested

 $     26,345,285

 $    (134,119)

 $       26,211,166

 $    26,773,443

(2) (3)

Chargeback/Return

 

 $      (1,873,478)

 $        (1,873,478)

 $    24,899,964

(4)

Refund

 $          189,402

 $      (5,669,560)

 $  (5,480,158)

 

(3)

Total

 $     51,277,368

 $    (31,857,562)

 $       19,419,806

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

(1)

Excess Rea/Red Credits

 

 

 

(2)

Obtain Authorization or Refund Credits.

 

 

(3)

Total reported Refunds $ (5,614,866) are assumed to include Rea/Red Requested Debits.

(4)

Chargeback/Return should be collected or included as Refund.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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