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Major Obama Bundler Is Accused Of Fraud

From a shocked and dismayed Washington Post:

Obama campaign reviewing background of volunteer fundraiser accused of fraud

By Carol D. Leonnig, Published: March 31, 2012

New Yorker Abake Assongba [sic] has pledged to help President Obama win reelection, and as one of his 400 volunteer fundraisers, she has delivered $50,000 to the cause.

She was a lot more than a "volunteer fundraiser." She was a ‘bundler.’ There is quite a difference.

But she is also trailed by some controversy, accused in court of defrauding a businessman out of $657,000, impersonating a bank official and dodging creditors.

Notice how this is described as "some controversy."

Assongba disputes the allegations, but the mysteries around her personal life highlight a challenge for Obama’s reelection effort and other presidential campaigns. The astronomical cost of running for the White House requires an army of bundlers, many of whom are strangers to the campaign. And as candidates quickly learn, it is no small task to woo — and vet — those citizen fundraisers.

And yet it is always the Democrat candidates whose bundlers who have all of these "mysteries." Why is that?

Presidential hopefuls in the past have suffered through months of scandal-by-association when reports of tarnished donors have surfaced.

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign agreed in 2007 to return $850,000 in contributions gathered by Norman Hsu after it became known he had evaded arrest on charges of leading an illegal investment scheme.

Lest we forget, Mr. Hsu was also gave money to Obama.

Last month, the Obama campaign said it would return $200,000 in donations from the Chicago-area brothers of a Mexican casino magnate linked to violence and corruption.

Remember all the headlines about that? We don’t either.

Alerted to questions about Assongba, the campaign acknowledged that it was difficult to scrutinize all of its bundlers and other donors. Officials said they would look into Assongba’s background and determine whether the campaign should return her donation.

Something tells us they will ignore her past transgressions and keep the money. They are very forgiving that way. (Cf. Bill Mahrer.)

Like many other bundlers, Assongba came to the attention of the campaign because of her donations to the party.

She and her husband, Anthony J.W. DeRosa, had given $40,000 to Democratic House and Senate campaign committees starting in 2009, federal records show. Photos that previously appeared on her Facebook page show her and her husband standing shoulder to shoulder with Obama at a Democratic fundraiser in New York in May 2010.

Campaign staffers routinely check volunteer fundraisers for legal and public relations problems, using simple Internet searches and other available public records to turn up potential issues. In Assongba’s case, nothing prompted the campaign to turn her away.

But even a cursory look into her background reveals that Assongba does not fit the typical mold of a well-to-do bundler.

Assongba, who declined to comment, is dogged by a collection agency and a court order to pay more than $10,000 in unpaid rent for her former Brooklyn apartment, court records show…

A deeper look at court records shows that a Swiss businessman has sued Assongba in Florida, accusing her of engaging in an e-mail scam to take his money. In 2009, the suit alleges, Assongba used an alias to impersonate a bank official but took funds wired by the businessman, Klaus Pusch, and used them to buy several properties and build a $2 million home in Ocala, Florida’s horse-breeding country. The court records note that a portion of the debt was resolved when some of Pusch’s money was returned to his account. Assongba has not been found guilty in the case, which is ongoing…

Campaign finance experts say that no campaign can examine every donor who mails in a check but that bundlers, who have special access to the candidate and serve at times as an informal campaign cabinet, require deeper examination to protect a campaign’s integrity

Assongba raises donations online for the charity she founded in 2007. Abake’s Foundation, according to its Web site, built a school and launched other significant humanitarian campaigns in the tiny African country of Benin

But when a reporter for The Post visited the address the charity lists for its Benin headquarters, the office was closed. A man who said he was the foundation’s African coordinator said by telephone that the office had been closed for a time while he was ill. He declined to identify the location of the school the foundation built and said the director of the office travels frequently and was not available…

At the Benin Embassy in Washington, diplomatic officials said they do not know of Abake’s Foundation, and they typically are aware of charities doing work in Benin

Apparently, for Ms. Assongba charity begins at home.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, April 2nd, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Major Obama Bundler Is Accused Of Fraud”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Endemic to both sides of the aisle. But I do love it when the Party of Superior Moral Attitude takes one in the kiester in the ongoing game of pin the crime on a Donkey.

    Honore’ de Balzac – “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime”

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “Last month, the Obama campaign said it would return $200,000 in donations from the Chicago-area brothers of a Mexican casino magnate…”

    Yeah, and I’ll wait while holding my breath for the follow-up report on that. As in: Did the money actually get returned. (I’m thinking…..no it did not)

  3. Astravogel says:

    NO! Don’t give the money back to the Mexicans,
    donate it to the Pia Zadora Home for Wayward Girls!

  4. tranquil.night says:

    Anyone want to place odds that indirect connections will eventually be made between the regime and the international mob?

    Jackpot will be to find out that Fast & Furious wasn’t just supposed to be a frame on the 2nd Ammendment but was also an arms deal.

    • untrainable says:

      Only after we get someone responsible running the D.O.J. A better bet would be if there is anyone connected to this administration that ISN’T connected to organized (or even disorganized) crime. Longer odds.

  5. GetBackJack says:

    I look at that picture and all I can hear is “Where my money at? Where my money at?

  6. yadayada says:

    “Photos …show her …standing shoulder to shoulder with Obama at a Democratic fundraiser in New York in May 2010.”
    “it is no small task to woo — and vet — those citizen fundraisers.”

    must be hard for the secret service to vet donors who stand with their arm around the prez’s waist.

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