In an October 2008 column titled “Obama is Bought, but Who Owns Him?” we disclosed what should have become the nation’s largest ever campaign finance scandal.
Just days earlier, Obama had boasted that his fundraising base had increased by 1.0 million people, from 1.5 million to 2.5 million in the five month period between May and October, and that the total amount raised approached $600 million. This represented a significant increase from his May 31, 2008, report when he claimed that one-fourth of his $265 million, or $66.26 million, came from those contributing $2,000, or more… some 33,200 people.
If we can assume that, as of October 2008, 25% of his contributions still came from individuals giving $2,000 to $2,300, that major contributor base would have grown from 33,200 to 65,200 people in a time span of just five months.
While it is true that Obama is the kind of guy who could read Bill Clinton’s golf scorecard off a teleprompter and make it sound convincing, simple arithmetic should have told him that 75% of his October total, or $450 million, could not be contributed by 2.44 million people in “$5, $10, or $20” amounts, or whatever they could afford,” as Obama assured us. Each of those 2.44 million people would have had to contribute, on average, $185 to create a pool of $450 million, and that simply does not happen. It has never happened before in American politics and it did not happen in 2008.
So what was the truth of the matter? In our July 25, 2008 column, and again in our October 21, 2008 column, we pointed out that UBS Americas, headed by Robert Wolf… along with George Soros, one of Obama’s top two money men… had been accused of highly unethical and illegal banking practices in six months of hearings by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. According to an article in The Nation, UBS Americas, a subsidiary of UBS, of Zurich, Switzerland, had advised wealthy Americans, including many of our most unwholesome characters, how to shelter funds from the IRS, as well as from prosecutors, creditors, business associates, family members, and each other.
In a Statement of Facts in the criminal trial of former UBS executive Bradley Birkenfeld, it was alleged that UBS took extraordinary steps to help American clients manage their Swiss accounts without alerting federal authorities. For example, UBS advised American clients to avoid detection by using Swiss credit cards to withdraw funds, to destroy all existing off-shore banking records, and to misrepresent the receipt of funds from their Swiss accounts as loans from the Swiss bank. According to The Nation, UBS established an elaborate training program which taught bank employees how to avoid surveillance by U.S. Customs and law enforcement, falsify visas, encrypt communications, and secretly move money into and out of the country… ”
It was the perfect instrument for funneling illegal campaign contributions into the coffers of an unscrupulous American politician. Putting two and two together, I suggested that a very wealthy individual, a cartel, or an Islamic terrorist group, wishing to influence the outcome of a U.S. presidential election, could transfer unlimited sums of money through this device. A U.S. recipient, such as the Obama campaign, could have received tens of thousands of illegal foreign contributions via Swiss credit card transfers, with names, addresses, etc. of bogus contributors… “borrowed” from the campaign’s list of $10 and $20 contributors… being entered by teams of staffers working in a “boiler room” setting. The owners of the Swiss accounts would receive periodic statements indicating: a) debits of varying amounts, up to $2,300 each, and b) offsetting credits provided by the cartel, or by the wealthy, but unnamed, “international financier.”
For most of the super wealthy, especially those attempting to hide income and assets from U.S. authorities, an unexplained debit and credit of $2,300, or less, would not even raise an eyebrow. They would assume that a bank employee had simply made a data entry mistake, followed by an immediate correction. They would have no way of knowing that a sum of money had actually been withdrawn from their account and contributed to the Obama campaign, with a like amount deposited in the account by an illegal foreign source… the entire transaction facilitated by a high-ranking bank employee. So who would ever know the source of such contributions?
In an October 20, 2008, article in Newsmax, writer Kenneth Timmerman provided details from Federal Election Commission records that gave substantial weight to my theory. In studying Obama’s FEC filings, Newsmax found more than 2,000 donors who had given substantially more than their $4,600 limit ($2,300 in the primaries and $2,300 in the General Election). The law requires that such excess contributions must be returned to the donor within 60 days. However, many of the donors contacted by Newsmax said that they had not made those large contributions to Obama. They had not been contacted by the Obama campaign, nor had they received refunds.
What Newsmax found in studying Obama’s FEC filings were some 66,383 highly suspicious contributions, from 37,265 donors, in which contributions were not rounded to even dollar amounts. For example, Timmerman reported that an insurance agent from Burr Ridge, Illinois, gave a total of $8,724.26. He gave in odd amounts such as $188.67, $1,542.06, $876.09, $388.67, $282.20, $195.66, $118.15, and one of $2,300.
A self-employed caregiver in Los Angeles made 36 separate contributions totaling $7,051.12. Thirteen of her contributions were later refunded. However, in an odd coincidence those 13 refunds, in amounts such as $233.88 and $201.44, came to an even $2,300, the maximum amount allowable in any one election.
One contributor interviewed by Newsmax, a retired schoolteacher from Rockledge, Florida, gave a reported $13,800… $9,200 over his limit. However, the contributor did not remember giving that much money to Obama, nor has anyone from the campaign ever contacted him about a refund.
Of the 66,383 contributions in odd amounts, 44,410 were in unrounded amounts of less than $100, 15,269 contributions were in unrounded amounts of between $101 and $999, and 704 contributions were in odd amounts greater than $1,000. Lest anyone suggest that those 37,265 donors either emptied their piggy banks or emptied their pockets and purses periodically and just sent it all to Obama, pennies and all, allow me to suggest something a bit more Machiavellian. Those 66,383 contributions were the proceeds of foreign currency conversions, smuggled into the country in foreign credit card receipts, and converted to U.S. dollars.
According to Newsmax, the Obama campaign finance reports contained some 370,500 unique names… a far cry from the 2.5 million contributor base claimed by the campaign. Of course, when your money is coming in large chunks from offshore accounts, such as hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time from the Middle East and from Third World African countries, then laundered though UBS accounts in Zurich, it takes a bit of creativity to put authentic-sounding names on all of it for the FEC records.
But now there is new evidence that UBS continues to be a Democrat Party playpen. The Wall Street Journal reports that, in early 2009, shortly after being sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton flew to Geneva where she met with the Swiss foreign minister. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the status of an IRS lawsuit against UBS in which the IRS was attempting to obtain the identities of Americans with secret Swiss bank accounts… under normal circumstances, a matter that would be negotiated by the U.S. Treasury Department.
The Swiss foreign minister insisted that, if the IRS case proceeded, Switzerland’s largest bank could face prosecution on both sides of the Atlantic, either facing criminal charges in US courts, or in Swiss courts for violating Swiss bank secrecy laws.
According to the Journal report, a few months after the meeting, Clinton reported a tentative settlement. As part of the deal, UBS agreed to give up information on 4,450 American account holders, out of a total of more than 52,000 accounts containing an estimated $18 billion in untaxed cash. This amounted to roughly 8.6 percent of the total number of accounts sought by the IRS. But what is so unusual about the Clinton-negotiated settlement is that:
- In the wake of the negotiations, total UBS contributions to the Clinton Foundation increased from less than $60,000 through 2008, to a cumulative total of $600,000 by the end of 2014;
- UBS joined the Clinton Foundation in creating a pilot entrepreneurship program in which the bank agreed to provide some $32 million in business loan guarantees;
- UBS agreed to underwrite a $100,000 charity golf tournament; and,
- UBS agreed to pay Bill Clinton a $1.5 million honorarium, the largest since he left the White House, “to participate in a series of question-and-answer sessions with UBS Wealth Management Chief Executive Bob McCann.”
As might be expected, the Journal reports that they could find “no evidence” of a direct link between Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the case and the bank’s donations to the Clinton Foundation, nor to its hiring of her husband for a $1.5 million series of informal chats with a bank executive.
Just as the Obama campaign was able to cover its tracks in 2008 when the UBS Bank appeared to be complicit in helping the campaign smuggle many millions of dollars in illegal contributions into the country, it appears as if the Clintons have been milking the same Swiss Bank in their unending quest for wealth, power, and fame. And the beat goes on… and on, and on.
Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.