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Thursday, October 27, 2016

by Kim Barker, ProPublica


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, who is fighting an effort to recall him as governor in a closely watched, expensive election set for June 5.

“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 disputed the charge and she was issued a new card.

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.

At ProPublica’s request, Nellis called Capital One and asked a representative about the $5 charge to Friends of Scott Walker.

“She told me that they watch for fraudulent merchants who will put through a bunch of charges that are not legitimate,” 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.”

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.

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  • rustacus21

    Oh my?! & this is what Citizens United hath wrought!!! I think it’s the Constitutional duty of every American, over all political affiliations, to read the Majority ruling on the above case & see if it makes any sense at all. Even while this is isolated, the money going to Scott Walker is nothing more than death by ‘1000 cuts’, which will contribute to the eventual demise of American Democracy – if Americans allow it! This is despicable, vile & a complete vindication of the Constitutions authors unequivocal ‘DEMAND’ that people (only the living ‘people’, that is; had they meant otherwise, it would be emphatically stated…) be the sole authority over all matters Constitutional. Our legislative, executive & judicial ‘representatives’ follow the ‘lead’ of WE the people. & only the citizenry can make this right. U can start by forwarding this (http://poldotmoveondotorg/amend/?r_by=41692-1840726-tv4A7Yx&rc=pac_amend_letterdotemaildotg0 – be sure to replace the ‘dots’ accordingly, as Nat’l Memo doesn’t allow URL’s to be posted here…) letter to your Senator/Congressperson & instruct them to re-allign our priorities to reflect the will of the citizenry as intended…

  • kanawah

    Scott Walker is fraudlent

  • Scott Walker a crook, well what else is new???

  • 4gls8

    Don’t blame Scott Walker. He is only a puppet of big oil, special interests and the millionaires who want to keep their favorable tax position but putting the burden on the backs of the middle class workers.

    As I retired public school teacher, I fear that he will soon be raiding the state pensions funds to balance his budget, which is more important to him than the welfare of Wisconsin citizens.

    • metrognome3830

      What do you mean, “Don’t blame Scott Walker.” If he is a puppet, it’s not against his will. It may be because he’s too ignorant to realize he’s a puppet, but he is not absolved from blame because he’s not too bright.

      • 4gls8

        Thank You. That was my point exactly. I am sorry if I was too subtle

        • metrognome3830

          Yes, I know that was your point 4gls8. I just had to get in my two cents worth.

      • joyscarbo

        4gls8….The man replealed Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Act that helps women be paid equally to men!! What kind of ass puppet does this??? I’ll tell you- it’s an ASS OF THE WORST KIND!!!

    • Vazir Mukhtar

      One hears a great deal of talk about the “fair share.” Since you are retired, I would not want to have the provisions of your pension changed.

      I would like, however, to know whether those working in the public sector are paying their fair share of the costs of their pensions, health care, and other benefits.

      Governor Walker may be a skunk, but that doesn’t mean that because he espouses an idea that idea is of necessity bad, wicked, or evil.

      I do not remember the percent of my salary that I contributed to all my benefits, but I do remember that it was 7% to my retirement and that it was matched by the state; for I was a state employee.

      Do you remember, or does anyone posting here who is or was a state employee remember what percent of salary is or was contributed to your pension?

      What is the current % of salary Wisconsin teachers contribute to their pensions?

    • Charie66

      That’s one of the silliest things I ever saw on this website. He’s taking nothing from your pensions and won’t in the future. Why don’t you all get a grip and start thinking instead of going into hysterics, which is what the teacher’s unions and all the rest of the unions want you to do.

      I ask you to THINK about just this one thing. The WEA Trust Insurance Company was over-charging the taxpayers of this state by millions of dollars (look it up) That money was funneled to the Democrat Party. Is this what you believe in? That company is still in business and still provides the same medical coverage for about half the price. Do you really believe that what they were doing was right??

      • 4gls8

        Thanks for setting the record straight. I never had the luxury of having WEA health insurance during my 33 years of teaching. I did have, however the choice of having some of my WEAC (state teachers association) dues going toward political causes. I also had the choice of having that part of my dues refunded to me if I did not wish it to be used to help elect DEMOCRATS to further educational causes.

        Regarding over charging taxpayers, can you tell me where “to look it up” My health insurance used to be a negotiated benefit. (before teachers lost their rights to negotiate)

        There was only so much that the taxpayers paid towards salary and benefits. So if my benefits were too expensive, I received less salary. That would mean that teachers and other state employees were the ones being overcharged, not the taxpayers. But this has nothing to do with Walker, he was still in diapers when I started teaching.

    • bonnieparmenter

      Sorry, but with-out balancing the budget there will be no pension funds for anyone, only bankruptcy. Scott Walker is saving your pension fund and gets no thanks from those who just don’t get it.
      Government is just like a household or business if your budget does not balance eventually you go bankrupt. I know it hurts to take a few less dollars but I own a business and I took a 30% cut in pay and for the first time in 20 years have no retirement or medical. I don’t feel sorry for any of you who were asked to take a 5% cut in retirement and pay part of your medical benefits. I know dozens of people who have lost their homes and everything. I am quite amazed at the selfishness of those who refuse to take a small cut to balance a budget. Who do you think pays for your retirement. Look at all the successful states such as Texas or Utah who have been hurt the least by this recession. They are all extremely business friendly and have the smallest rate of taxes for businesses. You cannot tax businesses to death and expect economic growth.

      I agree that our tax structure needs badly to be overhauled. It is not fair but worse than the structure is the way government wastes our money.

  • Fraudulent campaign contributions don’t seem to be only on the part of GOP candidate.

    In NYC the comptroller, who is running for Mayor as Democrat, is involved in fraudulent campaign contribution case.

    • vulpine

      And what of the 5,000 or more ‘dead people walking’ Republican voter registrations in Florida?

    • William Deutschlander

      It speaks to the INDIVIDUAL, seems though they are overwhelmingly conservatives!

    • There may well be a few bad apples in the Dem barrel, there is certain to be. However, for every ONE instance of a Democrat involved in fraud, there are 500 republicans designing, committing, and spreading fraud.

  • I believe that this form of tabloid journalism with mind boggling catchy captions and empty content is unsuitable for modern day readers who do not need to denigrate a particular group of people to get readership. Describing Nigerian people in such a manner is shameful and I demand an immediate apology from whoever the editor of this material is.
    Let me start by saying that I never subscribed to your publication and my gmail account was probably extracted by you and i have been bombarded with your gossips on a daily basis. Describing a supposedly illegal act perpetuated by Americans as what the so-called “Nigerian princes” do is an affront on the image of Nigeria and Nigerians.
    For your readers who do not know much about Nigeria, this is a great nation in West Africa that is blessed with abundant natural resources and people still live below poverty level because of greed and corruption encouraged by Western leaders. Western nations sided with illegitimate military juntas in the past that liquidated the country’s economy. The former leaders have millions of dollars in bank accounts in Switzerland, mansions in the UK and US while the masses suffer in abject poverty without basic social amenities like water and electricity. American companies that do business in Nigeria do not abide by the same ethical standards and transparency applied in the US. There are lots of lawsuits prosecuted in the US and many of these companies have been found guilty.
    Suffice it to say that there are elements in Nigeria who have done terrible things to innocent people in the western world. However, some of these victims were also greedy and wanted to make loads of profits without investing. Some of the emails projecting the senders as Nigerian princes have also been found to have emanated in the US and Europe.
    There have been significant attempts by Nigerians to stem the flow of advance fee and wire fraud and these attempts have not been recognized by tabloids like you.
    What you do is no different from what internet scam perpetrators do…. extract emails and publish bogus stories. I do not care much for your Scott Walker hear says but i demand that you should desist from describing Nigerians as dubious and unreliable as this hurts our reputation. We are a hardworking people with good intents. Because there are serial killers in America, it will be unfair and unreasonable to liken all Americans as serial maniacal killers.

    • madunwa

      It is indeed disheartening that an acclaimed journalist (so to speak) could throw a moronic title out there with prejudice in mind. I thought I was the only one who couldn’t find any proof that the fraudulent act was traced back to Nigeria. This is outrageous!

    • metrognome3830

      You have a point Mr. Ogwara. There was no call to use a term like “Nigerian Prince” to get people to read the article. I did notice, however, that there was no mention of Nigerian Princes within the article which leads me to believe that, like most newspapers, the reporter writes the story and someone else comes up with a headline. Sometimes, in their efforts to write something that catches the reader’s eye, they miss the mark badly. This could be one of those times.

  • Could it be??? This is where the PAC money is coming from! Is this how ALEC provide Millions of dollars to “obstruct our voting rights”! Our Right to Bargain! In the devaluation of our Living Standards! Why Special Interest and Lobbing for the !% only has our best interest at heart! Don’t they? Why steal the bread from the poor mans table? When you can exploit the Whole World!

  • William Deutschlander

    Just another huckster, theiving REPUBLICAN screwing over the 95%, nothing new, been going on for years, only thing new is it has gotten progressively worse since 2000.
    This is Carl Rove, Koch Bros Politics 7001!

  • In all aspects of election activity, fraud begins and ends with the republican party. Not even those who have been registered republican voters for decades can deny the corruption and fraud that has spread throughout the entire party any longer. Vote straight Democratic ticket in November and work to abolish the republican party. It has become so criminalized there is no correcting it.

    • Vazir Mukhtar

      Would that the truth had been revealed to me as it has been to you. Many of us living in Chicago while Richard J. Daley, a Democrat, was mayor would most assuredly disagree with you.

      No one has counted the corrupt politicians in either party. We see most easily the egregiously corrupt or the scrupulously honest and honorable.

      I see nothing wrong with urging people to vote a straight Democratic ticket. What I consider wrong is that you use scurrilous remarks about Republicans to justify it. It seems to me that the Democrats deserve better; for even if the Republicans were pure as the driven snow, the Democrats’ premises and proposals appear to be the sounder.

    • bonnieparmenter

      You live in an unreal world, I agree, the Republicans are high on the list of corruption but the Democrats ride right along with them. Check out who makes the most money out of Republican politians or Democrats. Check out who is really making all the contributions. Political corruption certainly has not dropped in the past three years. The US as little as 25 years ago was acknowleged in the top countries in the world as the least corrupt by the rest of the world’s oppinion. During Clinton we reach 19th, Bush 38th and now we are acknowleged as over 100th as the least corrupt. As the world watches they don’t see bailing out the corrupt financial institutions as fair play. Our politicians have sold out the American people. Obama came into office as a person with little wealth and will leave as one of the riches men in the world just like so many of our other political leaders.

  • So will he end up in Jail?

  • Ayaya Worenwu

    Gov. Walker and Romney’s campaigns defrauding people’s credit cards for campaign donations? Really?

  • Gammaanya

    Most of you believed his BS and voted him in then suffer the consequences of your stupidity, gullibility and laziness. We in Illoinois put the governors in prison no matter what party, most of them Republicans,. Ryan is doing his time Blagojevich just reported in and few other on a choping block. Walker was exposed so many times (even when he run) and still people dismissed the truth and voted him in. Big money talks and buy stupid voter and BS walks. You voted you got it, you live with it and I bet you 10K Walker will win and stay on the job. There is no way in hell that Koch Bros. Rove, Citizen United, RNP will let that happend. All these millions wasted one piece of s… would patch the cuts in education and repair the horribly patched roads. and already chipping. Cheap material, cheap labor but big money for donors. Nobody rich will be pumping money to elect a crooked politician for your benefit. Never did and never will. Wisconsin be happy what you voted for and what you got and will keep. While driving in Wisconsin (I am only 4 miles from the border) I see sign, either recall Walker or Call Walker and I stand with Walker. The ones with I stand with Walker their house could use a coat of paint, a nice grass cut and better car than they have on driveway. Oh they must be the wannabe to be 1%. Dream on baby, dream on. Walker doesn’t give a hoot, all he cares is too loot the state and sell Wisconsin to pollutters like Koch Bros.
    Most money come from out os State, because walker promised them they can move in, take all they want, built, pollute all they want, as long as he is in power and Wisconsin will abide by him.Minions will follow. Walker is offering Wisconsites a rope with both ends and most of them happy to have it. Hello???.

  • Republican= Puppet on string pulled by 1%

  • Kolenekeo C. Darwin Kaeo

    If Scott Walker was a Nigerian Prince … Nigeria alone would hang him themselves .. as any Nigerian they’ll tell you themselves. I think the Republican politicians should all spend a month in Nigeria and not in Lagos but, in the outer communities where the poor resides .. open cesspools .. lack of clean drinking water … garbage and waste area’s are wide open … Cholera & Malaria is a big challenge to those people (God help them) and, food is scarce unless they’re allowed to cross the fence line to work as normal people and get paid for their worth which, is minimal.

    Perhaps they’ll get a clue as to where their leading our country’s success .. NO where but a 3rd world country.

    Yet they complain about our President Barack Obama, who’s roots does come from his father’s side in Africa so, who are they to disclaim what Obama has and hasn’t done? Where does their success come from and what supportive facts can they honorably say they’ve completed and, is it notable or forgotten? Has anyone ever questioned the continued success of Mitt Romney’s last 4 year reign and if so, where’s the supportive facts that can actually persuade independent voters such as myself? What challenges and contributions can Romney actually prove to the American public today that, will be his success as a presidential candidate for tomorrow?

    I want proof of Mitt Romney’s true success and not rhetoric bullshit! I want to see him produce his leadership capabilities and Christianity beliefs to the American public with facts! Prove to me he’s a true Christian and, why does mormonism is considered a cult? I’m not judging for, there’s too many written questions most Americans are asking me without Romney’s answer me, I don’t care .. just answer a direct question which deserves a direct answer! Be honest, respectful and honorable not hide or lie about it.

    We certainly have facts of President Obama’s success yet, its minimal to some and quite large to most for, he’s done a great job considering he did inherit GW Bush’s bullshit and is the blame for our economic situation, knowing our economic situation is progressively growing and, in a positive manner… I pray for Obama to continue in his succession for its certainly in a much better light opposed to Romney’s crap!

    • Diogenes67

      Are you the Nigerian guy who sends me all that email?

      • Well, I guess your response is appropriate for one who is incapable of an adequate response, Dogene67 🙂

        • Diogenes67

          Is that a like?

      • Kolenekeo C. Darwin Kaeo

        Do I appear as a Nigerian? Would the Nigerians even have a clue on what’s plaguing our economy today? I’ve traveled the world to understand what plagues other countries and, its certainly proven the conservative parties interest lies, only with and for themselves. It’s been this way for since Reagan, get a clue and wake up! Did someone miss class that day? I know you’re not being facetious your response is inappropriate and judgmental to, your short comings with your lack of facts just as any ignorant conservative fool bashing everyone and for what? Just, to savor the insignificance of what Scott Walker is protecting which is the 1%.

        Perhaps you ought to peruse the idiotic nature of the 3rd world countries and how their government plagues an entire nation with rhetoric and bullshit just, to protect themselves and not the middle class, the elderly, the poor, they have no health care, none of their taxes is towards relief of their society and economy, no education fund etc., they take what they want and write Laws to protect themselves and the hell with everyone else especially with those less fortunate.

        Theft from the people is becoming prevalent in 3rd world society as is the US should the conservative party win in any nomination. Again Wake up!

        Question is: “Why are we supporting governments around the world using the same tactics against main st America here on the homefront” That alone is a wasteful government spending yet, they’re capitalizing on profits generated and paid for by US tax payers. I work with numbers, facts and sometimes other government officials and, should they bring me bullshit I won’t listen til, they provide me facts for those facts is what closes my deals and those deals is what supports me and my family.

        Don’t talk trash, be civil we’re all Americans here and what’s plaguing our society today is the truth of who will best represent balance for the people and not a large number of the 1% but, for everyone.

  • EJScats

    I’m not surprised Scott Walker and other politicians are doing this. They are so desparate to get their way like a spoiled child they have been resorting to lying and witholding information. They just can’t believe they aren’t gods! Last I knew these “Chrisians” had a rule to follow–THOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME and that meant the one who made humans, not Scott or any current human. I believe the WI polling is skewed. I have received few calls and I’m a Democrat.

  • daffodilly

    Did Friends of Scott Walker refund Nellis’s $5.?

  • As an experiment, a ProPublica employee also made a $5 donation to Friends of Scott Walker on her Capital One card on May 10…(The employee is seeking refunds of all three donations)

    Why is she seeking refunds? I hope she doesn’t get them. The donations were made fair and square. Capital One’s actions are to protect themselves and their cardholders against fraudulent use. This wasn’t fraudulent, just rather slimy.

  • Is this like the ACORN Voter Fraud? Oh, you’re right – that was Obama’s deal.

    Sorry for the interruption.

  • Not at all surprized. Scott Walker is a liar and cheat like most Republicans. They preach jobs and a better America but practice supression of of people rights and freedom of choice. For example voter supression, a woman’s right to choose, papers please laws just to name a few.

  • joyscarbo

    This is exactly why BIG BUSINESS and CORPORATIONS have should not be allowed to contribute to politicians or political campaigns.

  • digoweli

    The problem here is that Scott Walker is winning. We can’t escape that fact. We are worried bout five bucks but we don’t support our side the way Republicans do. Until we arm ourselves and refuse to vote for anything the Republicans put forward under any conditions, we will be impotent and at the beck and call of the rich/poor idiot party.

    • If Scott Walker is winning, it may be because Wisconsin is a bastion of people who think like him. Every Man for himself.

  • bonnieparmenter

    I get flagged all the time for charges that I actually charged, especially if it is a charge that is out of the realm of normal. Capital One may flag all political contributions because that is an area of potential high fraud. It may have nothing in particular with the Scott Walker campaign. I just love how the media jumps on anything to destroy someone. There are a lot of political sites that are made up who may have nothing at all to do with the candidate’s approval. It would be extremely unlikely a legitimate campaign site would get peoples credit card numbers and make false charges. Definately watch your charges during campaign season.

  • And to think – the Republicans are the most vocal about voter fraud. DOESN’T THIS QUALIFY AS VOTER FRAUD? AS WELL AS CREDIT CARD FRAUD? WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE ON THE RIGHT?
    (Can you imagine the ranting and raving if this an Obama tactic?) JIM MYERS (For Karen)