Times Finally Smells Something Fishy on Obama's Dubious Donor List

Three days after snidely dismissing the issue, the Times backtracks and finds some questionable Obama donations.

After dismissing it in a brief story on Tuesday as "G.O.P. Query Involves 1% of Giving to Obama," the Times'Michael Luo and Griff Palmer finally decide that Obama's plethora of odd donors may be politically newsworthy. They finally devoted a more serious story to the matter on Friday ("Fictitious Donors Found in Obama Finance Records)," which comes after Newsweek's Michael Isikoff's similar piece back on October 4.

Luo and Palmer ran down some of the more entertaining entries from Obama's dubious donor list:

Last December, someone using the name "Test Person," from "Some Place, UT," made a series of contributions, the largest being $764, to Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign totaling $2,410.07.

Someone identifying himself as "Jockim Alberton," from 1581 Leroy Avenue in Wilmington, Del., began giving to Mr. Obama last November, contributing $10 and $25 at a time for a total of $445 through the end of February.

The only problem? There is no Leroy Avenue in Wilmington. And Jockim Alberton, who listed his employer and occupation as "Fdsa Fdsa," does not show up in a search of public records.

An analysis of campaign finance records by The New York Times this week found nearly 3,000 donations to Mr. Obama, the Democratic nominee, from more than a dozen people with apparently fictitious donor information. The contributions represent a tiny fraction of the record $450 million Mr. Obama has raised. But the questionable donations - some donors were listed simply with gibberish for their names - raise concerns about whether the Obama campaign is adequately vetting its unprecedented flood of donors.


It appears that campaign finance records for Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, contain far fewer obviously false names, although he has taken in about $200 million in contributions, less than half Mr. Obama's total. Mr. McCain did collect about $173,000 from donors who appear in campaign finance records with only a name and have no other identifying information. Mr. Obama collected about $314,000 from such donors.