Friday, September 16

Clinton campaign reportedly making unauthorized "donation" charges to supporters' credit cards

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has repeatedly made unauthorized charges to the bank-card or credit card accounts of many people who made small, one-time donations, according to The Observer.

If deliberate, that would be theft or fraud.  So is it deliberate?

Looks like it, because these unauthorized charges--several in the same month to the same person--have been made so often that the fraud department at Wells Fargo Bank gets as many as 100 phone calls a day from people asking for refunds for those unauthorized charges.

A source in Wells Fargo's fraud department, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job, claims the Clinton campaign has been doing this at least as far back as spring of this year.  The  repeated charges are always for small amounts such as $20. 

“We don’t investigate allegedly fraudulent charges unless they're over $100,” the fraud specialist explained.  The source, who has worked for Wells Fargo for over 10 years, said that the total amount they refund to customers for such unauthorized charges is between $700 and $1,200 per day.

The source said Clinton donors who call the bank have usually tried to resolve the issue with the campaign first but they never get anywhere. “They will call the Clinton campaign to get their refund and the issue never gets resolved. So they call us and we just issue the refund. The Clinton campaign knows these charges are small potatoes and that we’ll just refund the money back.”

The source also noted that the only people who call to complain are those who notice the fraudulent charges on their statements, adding that many more people are probably being overcharged by Hillary’s campaign but haven't noticed the unauthorized charges because they're fairly small.

One elderly donor to Clinton's campaign whose credit card was repeatedly charged in this way filed a formal complaint with the attorney general of Minnesota.  But a representative from that office told her the fraud was not within their jurisdiction and that they had forwarded her case to the Federal Election Commission.   However, the FEC denied receiving anything from the Minnesota AG's office.

Minnesota is controlled by Democrats.
Carol Mahre, an 81-year-old Minnesota resident, said she made a one-time $25 donation via Clinton’s official campaign website. However, when she received her U.S. Bank card statement, she noticed multiple $25 charges were made.  Mahre contacted her son, Roger Mahre, to help her dispute the unauthorized charges.
Roger--who happens to be an attorney--told the Observer he called the Clinton campaign "40 to 50 times" trying to resolve the problem and get the unauthorized "donations" refunded.  Finally he reached a campaign worker who said they would stop making the charges. Yet the very next day Carol’s card was charged yet again. 

“I was told they would stop charging my mother’s card but they never stopped.” He added that he knows his mother did not sign up for recurring payments.  Roger also pointed out that even if his mother had mistakenly signed up to make recurring monthly donations to the Clinton campaign, she should’ve been charged for the same amount of money each month, and just once a month.  But the campaign had made multiple charges for varying amounts, in the same month--often on the same day.

Roger added that after he complained to the Clinton campaign the repeated charges should’ve stopped, but didn't.  The Clinton campaign overcharged Carol $25 three times and then overcharged her one time for $19, for a total of $94 in fraudulent charges--just under the threshold that would trigger an investigation at Wells Fargo. 

Since the campaign failed to refund the unauthorized charges, Roger contacted Carol's bank, U.S. Bank. However, the bank would not reverse the charges and  a bank spokesperson told him that they had no control over companies that make unauthorized charges.

Roger filed a fraud complaint with Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson’s office on behalf of his mother, but a representative from the attorney general’s office told him they had no jurisdiction over the problem [which is crap] and that they had forwarded the case to the FEC.  However, FEC spokesperson Julia Queen told the Observer they have no record of any referral from the Minnesota Attorney-General's office on this matter.  The Observer contacted the A-G’s office but that office didn't respond.

Finally Roger contacted a local TV station,   The day after the TV station broadcast the story the bank contacted Roger and said they would stop the charges to his mother’s card and would refund the unauthorized charges.

Since the TV station broadcast Carol’s story Roger said he’s heard from other people who have also had the Clinton campaign make unauthorized charges to their accounts.

The New York Times reported in 2007 that Clinton’s first presidential campaign had to refund hundreds of thousands of dollars after donors’ credit cards were charged twice. Additionally, it was reported that Clinton had to refund a stunning $2.8 million in donations.

A Clinton campaign worker named Kathy Callahan, who worked on Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008, claimed in a blog post that Clinton fraudulently overcharged her by several thousand dollars. She wrote that she voluntarily left the campaign’s finance committee after she discovered $3,000 in unauthorized charges made by Clinton’s campaign to her credit card.

Callahan said the unauthorized charges caused $400 in overdraft and bank charges and put Callahan over the legal donor limit.  She said that despite many phone calls the campaign still refused to refund the unauthorized charges--until she threatened to go to authorities.

Callahan also wrote that Matt McQueeney, who worked in the compliance and accounting department at Clinton’s campaign headquarters at the time, told her, “What happened to you with credit card 'errors' is happening to others.”

Hmmm....If one bank (in this case Wells Fargo) is refunding an average of $1000 per day, wonder how often this is happening to customers of other banks?  How many U.S. banks issue credit or debit cards?  If there are, say, 500 or so other banks with about the same total of unauthorized charges being refunded per day, that could add up to half a million bucks per day.

But surely...surely...Hillary's campaign wouldn't be doing that.  Would they?  I mean, she's so fucking honest and trustworthy.  I mean, yesterday she told a network interviewer that she was running the "most transparent campaign in history"!  So surely...surely...there's gotta be a mistake here somewhere.

If this proves to be intentional...well, if you or I did this we'd go to jail.  But it's Hillary, so....

Laws no longer apply to the political class, citizen.  You have to obey every one of 'em.  They don't.

Get used to it. 


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