I'm with Ryan Sager—this story really makes a mockery of campaign finance regimes.

"Californians for Obama" boasted an official-looking Web site (www.californiansforobama.com) that was graced by a smiling photo of the candidate. The site pitched a star-studded Obama "Women of Power" cruise for 2,000 to Mexico that attracted donors like a 65-year-old woman from Compton (Los Angeles County), who said she has paid the $2,423 cruise fee believing the funds would help support her candidate.

But a Chronicle examination of the latest Federal Election Commission records on file for the organization for the reporting period ending June 30 shows that while [Emmett Cash III] has raised nearly $10,000 this year, not one dollar has gone to the Obama campaign—or any other political candidate.

The group's founder is a shameless con artist:

His colorful ventures—reported in a variety of newspapers over the decades—have included boasts in 2002 of establishing a new, Hollywood-style movie mecca in Jackson, Miss., and an official announcement in 2000 that his movie firm had signed a historic 12-film deal with the Chinese government.

Identified alternately as a boxing promoter, an Olympics booster and the head of a minority contractor's association, Cash also was identified as director of a 1979 "Miss Black America" contest deserted by judges and lambasted by contestants who complained of living conditions that included cockroaches and meals of salami sandwiches.

On the political front, Los Angeles County voter registration records show that until just last month, Cash was a registered Republican. He has been previously identified as national chair of "Citizens for Powell," to draft former Secretary of State Colin Powell for president, and as the "national coordinator" for Perot Voters, a group supporting the presidential campaign of Ross Perot.

Too bad John McCain won't get elected and fix all this.