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No other American presidential candidate has ever left the US to garner campaign contributions from foreign citizens.
There is a reason for this, one that Romney and his staff seem oblivious to and the mainstream media had ignored until just recently.
Using foreign contributions in any American election is a felony. Hello Romney campaign…is anybody home, hello?
WASHINGTON (AP) — In the hunt for campaign money, no distance is too far to travel, especially when the race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is tight and likely to stay that way into the fall.
The Democratic president and his Republican challenger have been aggressively courting Americans living abroad at fundraisers held far beyond U.S. shores. Such efforts serve the dual purpose of raising money to pay for what may be the most expensive election in U.S. history, and galvanizing a largely untapped group of eligible voters.
The practice is legal and has been used for decades, said former Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason.
One of Romney's London fundraisers raised eyebrows because the guest list included executives from Barclays, which recently admitted that bank employees were involved in manipulating a key market index.
A separate well of potential donors awaited Romney in Israel, the second stop on the former Massachusetts governor's three-country tour. But there too Romney attracted some unwanted attention when his campaign announced it would break with its own precedent by barring reporters from covering a fundraiser at a swanky Jerusalem hotel.
Election law experts have warned that the proliferation of super PACs has made it impossible to tell whether foreign cash is flowing to the campaigns. The foreign money ban also applies to super PACs, but some of their money comes from vague corporate entities, obscuring the original funding source.
Two percent of the money super PACs raised this year came in the form of so-called "secret money" that can't be reasonably traced, according to a preliminary analysis from an upcoming report by Demos and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. In addition to super PACs, nonprofit groups are also spending heavily on the 2012 race, campaign finance experts said, and those groups aren't required to disclose their donors as long as their political activities stay within certain limits.
"As long as there is secret money sloshing around in our national elections, the public simply has no way of knowing if illegal foreign money is working its way into influencing our presidential and congressional races," said Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21, which advocates for campaign finance reform.
The rules are well-established for lobbyist donations to the DNC and for the Presidential nominee. Obama does accept money from lobbyists who do not do business with the federal government and he also accepts money from spouses and family members of lobbyists. And the DNC ban is also not retroactive, which means the DNC will keep lobbyist and PAC contributions it received earlier in the election cycle. Retroactive period being the date Barack Obama started his campaign, February 10, 2007. The DNC possibly the day after the November 2006 Congressional elections until June 5th, 2008. In addition, Barack Obama's ban does not apply to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee nor to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Unlike John McCain, Barack Obama has not disclosed the lobbyists working in his campaign.
President Obama’s health care law and the 2009 stimulus have provided money to groups pushing for tax increases on soda and price controls for other unhealthy foods, despite laws against taxpayer-funded lobbying of lawmakers.