"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dubious donations: Theory and practice from both Obama and Romney camps

The old saying that you shouldn't throw stones when you live in a glass house applies in this case.  While Powerline blog takes after Obama for the shady practices when it comes to turning off security, they ignore the fact that the Romney Super PAC, Restore our Future, is doing the same thing except to major donors.  Restore our Future for $500 will also set you up a website and give you a post office box if you want to form a new company so the FEC doesn't know who is donating according to the Washington Times article last week about the underhanded practice of turning off security for donations.  For some reason the folks at Powerline who have been supporting Romney missed that article.

Think it is despicable out of both parties to cheat on donations.  There should be a high limit on what an individual can donate but every last dime needs accounted for and if they cannot account for the donation with all the details, then give the money to charity.  Any donation of $100,000 is obscene as far as I am concerned.  There should be no PACs, businesses, organizations like unions or any other group be able to raise millions to eschew the results of an election by putting millions into a campaign that can be countered by ordinary candidates.  The only limit I would put on donations was a candidate self funding his campaign -- would make it a max amount of $100,000.  Time to get big money out of political campaigns because it is corrupting the system and leads to a candidate being beholding to big donors instead of the people they represent.

The person who sent me this Powerline article had the headline on the email:  Whats the difference between Romney and Obama? Answer: nothing

Believe that says it all on so many issues when you look into where Romney actually stands not what he was trying to tell you he stood when he was pretending to be conservative.  Now he is talking about moving to the center.  That would still be more right then he has been over the years.  How many voters are going to buy into Romney is not a Massachusetts liberal who face reality?  RNC and the Republican establishment elites have made a real bonehead move pushing Romney so hard in order to try and take back the Republican Party from conservatives.  If they don't watch it, they could end up with a shell of a Party.  Is this another Whig moment?
Dubious donations: Theory and practice 
We’re trying to make this easy for any serious journalist who wants to dig into this story. Yesterday we posted the story of Bill G., a victim of the kind of credit card fraud that the Obama campaign facilitated in 2008, and is inviting again this year, by rejecting basic verification devices. Today reader Ashley Tate writes from Alpharetta, Georgia to explain:
In December 2009 our Mastercard was illegally charged for a $5 donation to barackobama.com. We complained and the issuer (Capital One) cancelled our cards and issued new ones. They also informed us that a similar charge had been attempted and rejected as fraudulent about 6 months earlier. But they never even bothered inform us of the earlier, rejected charge! 
We also know personally at least one other couple who were similarly defrauded. In neither case were the “stolen” credit card numbers used for any other fraudulent purpose. This seems to leave two possible explanations: Either someone has stolen a large number of credit cards solely for the purpose of generating campaign donations for Obama OR the credit card validation on barackobama.com is so incredibly lax (and his payment processor so incredibly forgiving) that someone has been able to generate a large list of potentially valid credit card numbers and slowly, sequentially run them through the barackobama.com site over a long period of time. 
I am a software architect who has integrated several web sites with credit card payment systems so I’m familiar with the technology involved here. I am nearly certain that some payment processors will accept credit card numbers for billing with just a single validation step: the card number must pass the Luhn checksum algorithm, which verifies that the number could be a valid credit number. I am 100 percent certain that billing with just two validation steps (Luhn and expiration date) is possible, meaning that it might also be possible to attempt processing the generated list of card numbers against a list of likely expiration dates (say, each month of the year two years in the future). For a fairly intelligent person with understanding of the Luhn validation scheme and some basic programming skills, it would be a trivial task to generate a speculative list of card numbers and submit them automatically using a computer script to barackobama.com. 
Finally, it’s important to understand that neither of these scenarios could happen over a such a long period of time without complicity on the part of the Obama campaign, the payment processor(s) used by the barackobama.com campaign site, and the card-issuing banks that deal with the end consumers.
There seems to be a story here somewhere for an enterprising reporter willing to pursue it. 
Source:  Powerline

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