Barack Obama’s Aunt Zeituni Onyango
Barack Obama‘s aunt, Zeituni Onyango (referred to as Auntie Zeituni in Obama’s memoir), could be a political embarrassment for the Obama campaign with just three days to go to the presidential election.
56-year-old Zeituni, the half-sister of Obama’s father, has been living in public housing in South Boston illegally after an immigration judge rejected her request for asylum four years ago.
It also appears that Onyango made an illegal contribution to her nephew’s presidential campaign. Records show that she gave a total of $260 to the Obama campaign during the third quarter of this year. US election rules require that individuals making presidential campaign contributions be US citizens, and political campaigns are required to make “best efforts” to verify that.
According to Bob Biersack, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission, “The responsibility is the campaign’s to ensure the funds they receive are from permissable sources in appropriate amounts.”
“In the process of collecting the contribution, they have to inform people what the rules and ask for some confirmation from the donor they are qualified to make the contribution,” he said.
Onyango’s case — coming to light just days before the presidential election — led to an unusual nationwide directive within Immigrations and Customs Enforcement requiring any deportations prior to Tuesday’s election to be approved at least at the level of ICE regional directors, the U.S. law enforcement official told the AP.
The unusual directive suggests that the Bush administration is sensitive to the political implications of Onyango’s case coming to light so close to the election.
It is unclear how Onyango qualified for public housing with a standing deportation order.