Did Obama’s Campaign Outsource Work Overseas?

Jun 26, 2012 9:48pm

Mitt Romney’s election campaign today circulated a Washington Free Beacon report purporting to show that the Obama campaign operation has outsourced call center work abroad, despite criticizing Romney for supporting the same practice.

The Beacon points to expenditures in the Obama campaign’s most recent Federal Election Commission filing that showed $4,600 spent on telemarketing services from British Columbia-based Pacific East and $49,600 with the Los Angeles-based Donor Services Group (DSG).  Both operate call centers, according to their websites.

The online news site calls Pacific East an “overseas telemarketing firm” and alleges that the president’s campaign also “paid a call center in Manila, Philippines,” presumably referring to DSG, which was highlighted in a Weekly Standard report earlier this year.  The headline on the Beacon piece reads: “O is for Outsourcing.”

Closer examination of the facts, however, finds the Beacon’s claims are not fully substantiated.

First, Pacific East, while based in Canada, has a division headquartered Beaverton, Ore., to oversee U.S. business operations. There is also no indication from FEC filings of where Pacific East call centers possibly employed by Obama’s campaign may have been based. The Beacon does not cite any evidence.

As for DSG, the picture is much the same. The U.S.-based company specializes in call centers and donor outreach, according to its website. However, there is no mention of foreign operations there, or in FEC filings.

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So where does “Manila” come from?

The bit appears in a 2009 services contract between DSG and a Maryland charity (Foundation Fighting Blindness, Inc.) that was obtained and posted by the Weekly Standard. The document outlines four different types of DSG call centers — one of which was based in Manila “to make inexpensive calls designed to reinstate older lapsed donors more affordably.”

It’s unclear whether those call centers still exist or whether the Obama campaign benefited from their services.  The FEC filing, again, shows no direct evidence to support the Beacon’s claim that Team Obama “paid a call center in Manila.”

Neither the Obama Campaign, Pacific East nor Donor Services Group responded to ABC News’ requests for comment.

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