Major Obama Donor Accused of Fraud

Abake Assongba has a troubled past, 'Washington Post' discovers
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2012 1:32 PM CDT
Major Obama Donor Accused of Fraud
President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign fundraiser at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., Friday, March, 30, 2012.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Another donor-related headache for President Obama: Abake Assongba, a "bundler" who has contributed more than $50,000 to his re-election campaign, has troubles in her past including accusations of fraud to the tune of $657,000. The Obama campaign says it is reviewing the accusations against Assongba, which she disputes, but the Washington Post notes that the situation underscores the difficulty of recruiting and vetting volunteer fundraisers.

Assongba, who also gave generously to Democratic House and Senate campaign committees, has a collection agency after her for more than $10,000 in unpaid rent, and the AP notes that she was also evicted in 2004 due to unpaid rent. A Swiss businessman accuses her of scamming him via email, and even impersonating a bank official, in order to take his money; that case is still ongoing. With her husband, Assongba runs a charity that carries out humanitarian campaigns in Africa, although the Post's investigation raises quite a few questions as to whether the charity actually exists. An Obama spokesman notes that the campaign responds quickly to such allegations, but that 1.3 million people have given so far to the campaign. (More Abake Assongba stories.)

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