Friday, May 18, 2012

Watch your Credit Card for "Friends of Scott Walker" donations!!!

This is the most incredible story. It appears small campaign donations are being charged to peoples credit cards benefiting Republican candidates like Scott Walker and Mitt Romney. Wow!
Raw Story: When MaryAnn Nellis tried to pay for groceries on April 14, her credit card was declined. Later, she said, she found out why: Her credit card company, Capital One, had flagged an earlier purchase as potentially fraudulent. The problem? A $5 donation to Friends of Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor’s campaign committee, Nellis said.

Nellis told a Capital One representative she had not made the donation to Walker … “Over my dead body,” said Nellis, a potter and retired teacher in upstate New York who describes herself as “adamantly angry and upset” at Republicans such as Walker. Nellis was issued a new card. Nellis said. “I said, ‘The fraudulent merchant here was Friends of Scott Walker, right?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’ They had a little flag on any Scott Walker activity.”

Though the amount of money was small, ProPublica decided Nellis’ complaint was worth following up. There have been other reports recently about insecure campaign-donation websites and the potential for fraud. Earlier this month, The Washington Times reported that Restore Our Future, the super PAC supporting Republican Mitt Romney, was using a collection system that made online donors’ credit card information accessible to even amateur snoopers.

As an experiment, a ProPublica employee also made a $5 donation to Friends of Scott Walker on her Capital One card on May 10. Almost immediately, Walker’s campaign sent an email thanking her. Less than a minute after that, Capital One emailed a fraud protection alert, saying the company “noticed potentially suspicious activity” on her account and asking her to call fraud protection as soon as possible. Another $5 donation, made to Walker’s opponent on the Capital One card, was not flagged as potentially fraudulent. Neither was a $5 donation to Friends of Scott Walker made on an American Express card. (The employee is seeking refunds of all three donations.)

We called Friends of Scott Walker and eZcontribution, the Wisconsin company that runs the website, but no one would answer our questions. Walker’s campaign spokeswoman, Ciara Matthews, emailed ProPublica on May 10 under the subject line of “follow up.”

“I received a message about the story you are doing,” she wrote. “The campaign does not comment on internal matters.”

“How about allegations of credit-card fraud?” we wrote back.

“That’s hardly internal, it’s external.”

Matthews did not reply.


  1. When was the Tom Barrett credit card fraud found?

  2. According to the story, around May 10.

  3. The story says that walker's charge was may10th not Barrett's. I have yet to see anything relating to Barrett but will keep my eye out as neither are acceptable.

  4. Here's the relevant part: "Another $5 donation, made to Walker’s opponent on the Capital One card"...that would be Barrett.

  5. Doesn't the story say that the Pro Publica employee made the donation to the Barrett campaign to TEST whether Capital One would flag it as possible fraud? And that it wasn't flagged, possibly because it was not outside this particular person's spending pattern. And neither was a donation to Friends of Scott Walker made on American Express, maybe because AmEx has different criteria.

    I do not see any reference to illegitimate charges for "Friends of Tom Barrett," only the TEST charge.


  6. Thanks, you are right. Corrected. Appreciate your persistence in getting this right. My mistake, and a welcome one, meaning this is a Walker problem that may have more behind it.