November 26th, 2007
05:00 PM ET
7 years ago

Clinton, Obama spar over campaign donations

The Obama and Clinton campaigns are locked in a war of words.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The campaigns of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, began a new war of words Monday over reports that the Illinois senator’s PAC may have directed a majority of its campaign contributions to politicians in the key early nominating states.

"On the campaign trail, Senator Obama is outspoken about his desire to reform the campaign finance system so it was surprising to learn that he has been using his PAC in a manner that appears to be inconsistent with the prevailing election laws," Clinton's campaign said in a statement.

Clinton's campaign said 68 percent of the donations from Obama’s PAC, Hopefund, were given to officials in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. But Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the majority of the funds were given to candidates outside the early primary states, and to Democrats nationwide facing tough re-election fights.

"The latest personal attack from Hillary Clinton is a completely false attempt to misrepresent Barack Obama’s full disclosure of his campaign finances," Burton said in a statement.

Burton also took aim at Clinton’s reluctance to release financial, fundraising and White House records in full. "Senator Obama's commitment to disclosure is one that Hillary Clinton does not share, and until Senator Clinton is willing to make this commitment… she’s not really in a position to point fingers at others," Burton added.

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer immediately fired back, calling on Obama to respond to questions raised by an analysis of Hopefund donations published in today’s Washington Post. “The Obama campaign's failure to deny that it committed campaign finance violations speaks volumes," said Singer in a statement. "Instead of launching irrelevant attacks, Senator Obama should answer a simple question: Did Obama campaign officials direct the Hopefund to make contributions to officials and entities in states holding nominating contests? If the answer is no, they should just be direct and say so."

–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Lance in Monrovia

    Can the kettle really be calling the pot black?

    For Hillary Clinton, of all people, to be bringing up anything with regard to campaign finance is just beyond reason. She's the person who took money from Chinese illegal aliens, from Norman Hu, from the board of Wall Mart.

    Here is the most corporate politician in possibly modern day history, part of the duo responsible for bringing us NAFTA and Monica, with a reputation for shading the truth and outright lying with regards to scandal, someone who only a few weeks ago was busted planting questions in the audience of a question and answer in Iowa, now shaking her unsteady finger at Barack Obama?

    Obama has been the most transparent politician in recent memory. He disclosed his tax returns and his one earmark, something no other politician has done in the race. He's passed meaningful oversight in ethics in the Senate, the first reform in a generation. His finances have been scrutinized and re scrutinized.

    His PAC money was used up BEFORE the Presidential race officially wound up. He doesn't take money from corporate lobbies.

    Yet, he's still matching Hillary Clinton for money. Why?

    because America trusts Barack Obama, and they haven't trusted the Clinton's for a long time.

    That pot is looking blacker every day Mrs. Clinton. Have fun serving the rest of your term in the Senate.

    Obama 08!!!

    November 26, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Taran, San Diego, CA

    From the Washington Post:

    Scott Thomas, a Democrat and a former FEC chairman, said "there's probably no doubt" the PAC donations were aimed at increasing support for Obama's presidential race. "But in my experience, the commission has not had the stomach to reach out and characterize those kinds of contributions as impermissible," Thomas said.

    Kent Cooper, the FEC's retired chief of public disclosure, said the commission, if it chose, could declare that Obama's presidential campaign and PAC were "affiliated," meaning some activities involving the PAC could be declared in-kind contributions to the presidential campaign that would exceed current donation limits.

    "At this stage of the race, for a presidential candidate, it is a brazen effort to use every avenue to influence an election," Cooper said. "I can't believe the Obama people can keep a straight face and claim these aren't part of the presidential race."

    The bulk of donations from Obama's PAC to state and local candidates this year went to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. In addition, there were more than $60,000 in donations to national candidates in those same states, including $9,000 for Rep. Paul W. Hodes, the first member of Congress from New Hampshire to endorse Obama earlier this year.

    In addition to donating to individuals, Hopefund donated to several key Democratic groups in the battleground states, including $30,000 each to the Iowa House Truman Fund and the Iowa Senate Majority Fund and $15,000 to New Hampshire's Friends of a Democratic Senate.

    November 26, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. David, Manchester New Hampshire

    now, overall i do support hillary (actually im caucusing for Biden but i doubt he will be viable)

    however, i have be slightly turned off by her straight out negative attacks on obama and other democrats.

    obama isn't giving contributions to officials to gain support, i doubt if any of the democratic candidates are doing so.

    plus i dont think its strategically beneficial for her to step in these waters since it will just help to bring back the fact that she takes lobbyist money

    i do not think she takes them to be like any other corrupt politician, but i do think she takets them because its the only way she can raise money

    hillary should dial down the attacks just a noch. its leaving a bad taste. i cant help to notice she looks a little shrill

    November 26, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  4. Dwayne Mesa AZ

    I would like to see HRC explaination regarding the Chinatown fundraising scandal as well as the felon collecting money for her campaign. Full disclosure Senator Clinton starts at home!

    November 26, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. JD, des moines, ia

    Obama is buying votes in Iowa, New Hampshires and South Carolina. Obama might learn this questionable nomination tactics during his foreign relationship experience at age 6-10 in Indonesia. On the other hand, considering his personal character flaws when young, it does not surprise me at his current behavior all.

    When Obama launched his presidential campaign in January, he stopped raising money for his Hopefund, the political action committee (PAC) he used to raise millions for fellow Democrats in previous campaigns. But in recent months, Obama has handed out more than $180,000 from the nearly dormant PAC to local Democratic groups and candidates in the key early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, campaign reports show.

    Some of the recipients of Hopefund's largess are state and local politicians who have recently endorsed Obama's presidential bid. Obama's PAC reported giving a $1,000 contribution, for instance, to New Hampshire state Sen. Jacalyn Cilley on July 25, six days before she announced she was endorsing Obama for president. Likewise, state Rep. J. Todd Rutherford, a lawmaker from South Carolina, received a $1,000 contribution from Obama's PAC on Sept. 24, a few months after he endorsed Obama.

    Scott Thomas, a Democrat and a former FEC chairman, said "there's probably no doubt" the PAC donations were aimed at increasing support for Obama's presidential race. Kent Cooper, the FEC's retired chief of public disclosure, said the commission, if it chose, could declare that Obama's presidential campaign and PAC were "affiliated," meaning some activities involving the PAC could be declared in-kind contributions to the presidential campaign that would exceed current donation limits. Cooper said. "I can't believe the Obama people can keep a straight face and claim these aren't part of the presidential race."

    November 26, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. Harry,Iowa

    wow, this looks like trying to attack Senator Obama the same way he asked if Clinton campaign about scandal that was published by Novak. Unfortunately, that was personal and this is not!. We know Obama is careful enough. Don't fool us Hillary!

    November 26, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. James,Nashua,nh

    Any educated person would see this as reframing political attack to personal attack so that we can think this is like Hillary previous mess when she said she has a scandal for Barack and she doesn't want to use it.
    Whatever Hillary!

    November 26, 2007 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. Hanna,andover,ma

    what an ugly picture!

    November 26, 2007 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  9. TD, Garland, TX

    Just another Hillary Clinton smearjob.

    You and your attack machine's days are numbered Hillary, her shrill attacks are more desperate by the day.

    November 26, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. connie floyd, crockett,texas

    maybe Mr obama should not of opened up the sparring in the first place. if he can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. this whole thing has been brought up by obama and edwards, now they can't take it. how will they handle the republicans. hillary's remarks are nothing compared to where the the republican smut machine can manufacture. if you win obama, don't cry about the crap you'll have to bear.

    November 26, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  11. Len, sparks Nv

    Yes, I wonder what Hillary is hiding? Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Where is her money going? And why don't we have a reporter going through her checkbooks to see what she does with it?

    November 26, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  12. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    It would be nice to know what the policy of this important blog is with respect to publication of comments.

    I have provided numerous comments over time and, until recently, have seen them regularly published. In the past several weeks, however, I have found that the disclaimer that "not all comments" will be posted - stays on the comment for many hours, and then the comment just disappears.

    A lot of thought goes into these comments and I would like to know what standards are used to censor or limit them. I would also like to know what percentage of all appropriate comments (because my comments are never immoderate or in bad taste) are not posted.

    I have enjoyed participating in CNN's ticker blog, but I do not want to waste my time if it is no longer tailored to be a free flowing platform for political discussion.

    Is there some way these questions can be answered for me and all of the other participants who must be experiencing the same frustration?

    November 26, 2007 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  13. Markie Bee, Sacramento, Calif.

    Did Hillary pay off Iowa Gov. Vilsack's $400,000 campaign debt after he endorsed her? Yes or no? Obama's lawyers and a former FEC lawyer have said what Obama has done is NOT in violation of FEC rules. Keep bringing up the campaign money issue Hillary, that's fine with us. Is it time to hit up those dishwashers in Chinatown for another $1,000?

    November 26, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  14. Ryan, New Jersey

    Thanks CNN, for you know, doing your job and getting to bottom of this finger pointing and telling us which campaign is correct in its accusations....oh...wait..

    November 26, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  15. Jim in Orlando, FL

    Hillary is concerned about the integrity of the fundraising and campaign finances of the other candidates. Is this a joke ?

    November 26, 2007 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  16. Tex Mex, NYC, NY

    HIlary Rodham Clinton shamelessly showing her true colors attacking fellow democrats contrary to what she earlier professed. Is there any promise that this woman can keep?

    November 26, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  17. JFK

    Please report ehat is truth. I know the headlines will changee to make it more explosive. Go CNN, carry water for Clinton

    November 26, 2007 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  18. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Obama, his spokesman and supporters are dishonest and uncultured. Obama's campaign is below the level of Presidential Campaign.

    November 26, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. Brent Kansas City, MO

    Looks like Obama was to good to be true. I knew no politician could really be above money and politics.

    November 26, 2007 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  20. Adam, Plano, TX

    "The latest personal attack from Hillary Clinton is a completely false attempt to misrepresent Barack Obama’s full disclosure of his campaign finances," Burton said in a statement.
    what part of "completely false attempt to misrepresent" does the clinton campaign not understand? do they need a definition of false?

    false [fawls] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation adjective, fals·er, fals·est, adverb
    –adjective 1. not true or correct; erroneous: a false statement.
    2. uttering or declaring what is untrue: a false witness.
    3. not faithful or loyal; treacherous: a false friend.
    4. tending to deceive or mislead; deceptive: a false impression.
    5. not genuine; counterfeit

    November 26, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  21. Ivelisse

    ssssooooooooooooooo.....

    where are ALL those DIE HARD Obama supporters...... How are you going to ignore this now?????

    this guy is so full of AIR!!!, I'm hoping this is the last straw and he will finally GO AWAY!!!!!!

    November 26, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  22. Aaron Smithsburg, Maryland

    there once was two running for president
    neither could back there words and it was evident
    before too long they sang the same sad song
    that america was truly unpleasant
    no check could be written that a lobbist had given
    that much they couldn't agree
    But here are the facts from both side of the tracks
    Barely black is a tom, with more in common with Osam
    while the other is homely and gay

    November 26, 2007 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  23. Danny Beaulieu, Gainesville, FL

    Listening to Hillary Clinton's bogus attacks is like listening to nails relentlessly grinding on a chalkboard. It's like she thinks everybody in America is an idiot. The same goes for Romney and Giuliani. The three of them should lock themselves in a closet and spew their rhetorical vomit on each other until they realize how childish they are.

    November 26, 2007 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  24. Rodney Dallas, TX

    Obama is a crook....

    Clinton 08

    November 26, 2007 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  25. Alexander, Washington, D.C. USA

    Hillary calling someone out on campaign contributions is absolutely ridiculous. Just ask Mr. Peter Paul

    http://www.peterfpaul.com/

    November 26, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
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