NewsMax: Not Aware Of All Internet Traditions

Ken Timmerman has a rather breathless article in NewsMax called “Obama’s Secret Campaign Cash: Has $63 Million Flowed from Foreign Sources?” Here’s the argument for the claim that it could have: Examining Obama’s donations over $200, which must be itemized in FEC filings, the author discovers a class of donations that strikes him as suspicious. He calculates the proportion of the itemized donations that are of this suspicious kind, and then figures out how much money would be similarly suspect if that proportion also held in the non-itemized donations, the ones for less that $200. Answer: $63 million.

You might be wondering: what are these suspicious donations? They are donations for amounts like $20.01, or $150.04 — donations that are not rounded to the nearest dollar:

“In all, Newsmax found an astonishing 37,265 unique donors to the Obama campaign whose contributions were not rounded up to dollar amounts. That amounts to more than 10 percent of the total number of unique donors whose names have been disclosed by the Obama campaign to the public. (…)

Campaign finance experts find the frequent appearance of unrounded contributions suspicious, since contributors almost invariably give in whole dollar amounts.

One expert in campaign finance irregularities offers a possible explanation.

“Of course this is odd. They are obviously converting from local currency to U.S. dollars,” said Ken Boehm, the chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center.”

And that, gentle reader, is why Timmerman thinks that $63 million of Obama’s contributions might be from foreigners: because the last two digits are something other than .00. Apparently, Neither Ken Boehm nor Timmerman knows about this:

“Calpundit add $.15
Daily Kos add $.01 add $.13
Eschaton add $.18
The Hamster add $.04
Instapundit add $.03 add $.07
Political Wire add $.09
Seeing the Forest add $.02
Talk Left add $.11
Talking Points Memo add $.22
Yellow Dog Blog add $.36

You’d be forgiven if the above list doesn’t make any sense to you. But in the old, pre-ActBlue days, the easiest way to make sure your blog got “credit” for driving donations was to have your readers append a certain amount of cents to every donation. $20.01, you know it’s from Kos. $20.22, it’s from Talking Points Memo, and so on.”

If memory serves, Clarkies added .04. People still do this: not as many as in 2004, but still.

Honestly. Some people have no sense of history.

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