The version used is Cinema 4d Lite with Adobe AE 2014.
I prep my illustrator text vector by merging the layers and saving it as an illustrator 8 file, which is then brought in with "merge" and given an extrude nub, followed by checking the "hierarchical" box. However, when extruded, holes within characters such as O, A, or D are not present. How can I solve this mystery?
the two splines which make up your letters with a hole need to be joined into one spline - the quickest way is to select both splines (the letter and it's hole) in the object manager and right-click and choose Connect Objects and Delete - that gets rid of the originals and leaves you with one spline which will work. If you want to keep the original splines just choose Connect Objects it leaves the originals and you use the new spline.
Another alternate to keep the originals is to put the letter and hole in a Connect Object and extrude that...