Campaign is returning monies, needs to improve vetting.
Barack Obama is under fire for accepting donations from a businesswoman accused of fraud. The major donor, identified as Abake Assongba, along with her husband, Anthony J.W. DeRosa, has contributed $50,000 to Obama’s reelection campaign.
Obama pictured with the accused couple. Assongba and her husband may have scammed nearly a million dollars from victims — and donated some of the money to Obama.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) – The New York couple’s contributions have been detailed in federal records. Meanwhile, court records show that Abake Assongba is fighting a civil case in Florida where she has been accused of stealing over $650,000 which she reportedly used to help construct a multi-million dollar home. The couple is denying the allegations.
Obama has faced scrutiny this year because unlike the other candidates he has already released his list of “bundlers” the names of people who have raised large sums of cash to support him. The move is an admirable one, but it has also revealed some unscrupulous connections, such as Alberto and Carlos Cardona, brothers of a wanted drug fugitive from Mexico. The campaign was compelled to return a $200,000 donation to the brothers last month.
Obama’s campaign says it has already received donations from 1.3 million Americans and that they are addressing any concerns as quickly as possible. Still, Assongba was listed as a special donor on Obama’s campaign website as parts of a smaller group of 440 volunteer fundraisers. It seems questionable that the campaign could not properly vet the much smaller list of large-scale donors.
Back in Florida, the couple is accused of absconding on debts totaling thousands accrued for unpaid rent and damages to an apartment. More seriously, Assongba is accused of engaging a Swiss businessman in an email scam and using the money to build their home. The accuser, Klaus-Wener Pusch says Assongba impersonated a bank official to pull off the scam.
The accused couple also runs Abake’s Foundation, a charity that solicits donations and distributes food and school supplies to children in Benin. There are no allegations involving the charity.
Obama’s campaign has not yet commented on its vetting procedures, but in cases where the donors are accused of criminal activity, or are otherwise associated with criminals, the campaign has returned the funds. However, it appears likely that the campaign’s vetting procedures are not as thorough as they should be.
How much money Obama has and where it comes from is an especially sensitive issue this year. So far, Obama has outpaced his Republican rivals in fundraising and the election is expected to be close. Confirming a link between Obama and any criminal activity on the part of his supporters could become a decisive issue.
� 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer Intentions for March 2012
General Intention: Contribution of Women.
That the whole world may recognize the contribution of women to the development of society.
Missionary Intention: Persecuted Christians.
That the Holy Spirit may grant perseverance to those who suffer discrimination, persecution, or death for the name of Christ, particularly in Asia.
Keywords: Obama, campaign, finance, donations, Assongba, fraud, Florida, New York, bundling, bundlers, politics
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