Saturday, November 21, 2009

What ever happened to Aunt Zeituni?

History will judge Barack Obama’s presidency better than any of us can today, but one of his campaign's signal accomplishments was to singlehandedly kill public financing of Presidential elections. The campaign developed an enormously successful fundraising operation, with no accountability and apparently no means to determine if donors were American citizens or used their own names.

Besides characters such as Doodad Pro, Obama's most famous illegal contributor was his Aunt Zeituni Onyango, found living on an expired visa in a Boston housing complex. The Times noted, early on, that since "Ms Onyango made a contribution to the Obama campaign (that) would indicate that she is a US citizen." (Can you say journalistic naivete?)

The potential fundraising fraud was a minor kerfluffle at the end of the campaign. The RNC asked for an investigation, the FEC promised one after the election, and the campaign vowed to immediately return all illegal donations (without explaining how they could tell which ones were illegal). After Obama's victory, everyone lost interest.

Why? Perhaps there is no story here. Perhaps there really were only a handful of illegal contributions. Or perhaps both Obama's supporters and opponents see the campaign's fundraising success as the brave new world of politics. It worked well, so don't rock the boat. We'll use the same methods.

There were multiple causes for President Nixon's downfall, but two may may be applicable. Woodward and Bernstein's investigations were driven by Deep Throat's advice: Follow the money. And it was not the dirty tricks, but the cover up, that turned so many against Nixon.

If half the energy that has been spent on birth certificate research had gone into chasing the money, what would we find? A year in, some of Obama’s supporters are becoming disillusioned. Maybe some of them have stories to tell. Perhaps they will tell them to this decade's Woodward and Bernstein.

What ever happened to Aunt Zeituni? She found a sympathic immigration judge and is apparently still in Boston.

1 comment:

David Morson said...

O Yeah, Really i agree with you dude.