During the State of the Union address, Barack Obama singled out the Supreme Court for ridicule on its recent campaign finance ruling, which Obama asserted could open the door for foreign campaign contributions:
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. (Applause.) I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. (Applause.) They should be decided by the American people. And I’d urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems.
As I previously posted, Obama was wrong on the holding of the case at issue and engaged in unjustified demagogory by confronting the Justices on the issue at the State of the Union address. Justice Alito’s act of mouthing the truth to power in response has dominated the post-SOTU discussion.
Nonetheless, if Obama really is concerned about foreign campaign donations, then Obama should request that Attorney General Eric Holder (or an Acting Attorney General since Holder likely has a conflict) appoint a special counsel with the power to investigate, and if justified, prosecute violations of the laws, and conspiracies to violate the laws, forbidding foreign contributions.
And the place the special counsel can start is with Obama’s 2008 campaign, which disabled security features in its credit card web portal so as to allow donors to evade restrictions on numerous aspects of the federal campaign laws, including the prohibition on foreign contributions:
Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor’s identity, campaign officials confirmed….
The problem with such cards, campaign finance lawyers said, is that they make it impossible to tell whether foreign nationals, donors who have exceeded the limits, government contractors or others who are barred from giving to a federal campaign are making contributions.
That the Obama campaign received foreign donations as a result of this scheme may be the only thing agreed-upon by both Pamela Geller and Charles Johnson. Indeed, Obama for America has admitted receiving foreign contributions. The fact that the Federal Election Commission is not investigating the allegations necessitates a special counsel.
These laws barring foreign contributions remain untouched by the recent Supreme Court ruling, so Obama need not worry about the validity of the relevant laws on the books. (If Obama didn’t understand that prior to the SOTU, he surely understands that now.)
The federal conspiracy laws surely could be used to prosecute such a scheme, if the investigation bears out the necessary elements of a criminal conspiracy to violate the campaign laws. The fact that some or all of the contributions were returned after negative publicity does not negate any criminal conspiracy.
So President Obama, with all due respect, I call upon you to request that Attorney General Holder appoint a special counsel to investigate and prosecute any and all crimes committed in connection with foreign campaign contributions during the 2008 presidential election cycle.
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