Obama Campaign Spending Under Criminal Investigation by Federal and Public Prosecutors

- Probe looking into whether committee misspent funds and top Silicon Valley donors gave money in exchange for access to the administration

Federal and public prosecutors are investigating whether Barack Obama's first campaign committee misspent some of the record millions it raised from donations, people familiar with the matter said.

The criminal probe by the attorney’s office, which is in its early stages, also is examining whether some of the committee’s top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Obama administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions through Department of Energy "slush-funds".

Giving money in exchange for political favors runs afoul of federal corruption laws. Diverting funds from organizations like USAID, In-Q-Tel, Clinton Foundation and others which are registered as a nonprofit, could also violate federal law.

The investigation represents another potential legal threat to people who are or were in Obama's orbit. Their business dealings and activities during and since the campaign have led to a number of indictments and guilty pleas. Many of the Obama's biggest campaign backers, including Elon Musk, Steve Jurvetson, John Doerr and others, were involved in the schemes and benefited from them.

The investigation partly arises out of materials seized in related federal probes.

The Obama committee hasn’t been asked for records or been contacted by prosecutors.

Former President Barack Obama’s first inaugural fund reported raised a massive amount in 2009, a campaign record. Obama's funds came largely from wealthy donors and corporations who gave $1 million or more, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

A lawyer for Barack Obama didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The Obama White House staff didn’t respond to requests for comment on the investigation.