Amid foreign donations scandal, Chinese government blocks access to obama.com
The Chinese government has blocked access to the obama.com Web domain in the wake of an investigation by the conservative Government Accountability Institute (GAI) into the Obama re-election campaign’s alleged acceptance of foreign donations, the New York Post reports.
GAI has published a series of reports in the past month about the Obama campaign’s susceptibility to foreign donors. One report found that it has increasingly collected electronic donations from non-existent ZIP codes throughout the 2012 campaign cycle, raking in approximately $2.2 million in such donations in September and hundreds of thousands of dollars more throughout 2012.
Another report alleged that the Obama campaign had solicited foreigners for political donations through its social media website. The campaign, the report said, chose to not protect itself with various electronic credit card verification systems.
GAI also discovered that neither President Obama nor his campaign owns the obama.com domain. In a statement accompanying GAI’s report, former U.S. Attorney Ken Sukhia said 68 percent of traffic to that domain comes from foreign users, all of whom are redirected to a fundraising Web page operated by the president’s re-election campaign.
Obama.com was registered in September 2008 to Robert Roche, an Obama campaign bundler living in Shanghai, China, according to GAI.
“Roche is an American citizen (originally from Chicago) who has spent the bulk of his time since the late 1990s developing business interests in Shanghai,” the group wrote. Roche “has considerable business interests in Chinese state-run television and ties to several state-owned Chinese companies.”
Now, though, according to GAI and the New York Post, the Chinese government has blocked access to Roche’s Web domain. “GAI sources used more than 100 different Chinese proxies to get on Obama.com,” the Post reported. “Each time, the effort produced an ‘error’ message that is consistent with sites blocked by the Chinese government.”
GAI founder and co-chairman Steve Bannon calls it a “shocking revelation that the Chinese government wants to do something that the Obama campaign wouldn’t do.”
“They’re more sensitive to American sovereignty and campaign-finance law than the Obama campaign,” Bannon said.