April 30th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama campaign files FEC complaint against pro-Clinton group

A new Indiana ad hits Obama on economic issues.
A new Indiana ad hits Obama on economic issues.

(CNN) – Barack Obama’s campaign has filed a formal complaint over a pro-Hillary Clinton group running ads attacking the Illinois senator on jobs and the economy in the critical primary state of Indiana.

The American Leadership Project, which includes veterans of the Clinton administration and longtime supporters, is a “527,” which means it is not bound by federal campaign finance laws as long as it does not directly advocate on behalf of a particular candidate.

The group announced earlier this week that it was planning to buy $700,000 worth of airtime in the state leading up to Tuesday’s vote. It has aired other spots in support of Clinton in key primary states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.

The Obama campaign planned a conference call this morning with general counsel Bob Bauer to discuss the specifics of the complaint filed Wednesday with the Federal Elections Commission.

(updated with ALP response after the jump)

Several weeks ago, the Obama campaign used the group in its own fundraising appeals, sending supporters a plea for donations that pointed to actions by “Swift Boat-style groups and smear campaigns.”

“News broke yesterday that a few wealthy Clinton supporters are gearing up for a massive spending campaign to boost her chances in the big upcoming contests in Texas and Ohio on March 4th,” wrote David Plouffe in an e-mail message.

“The so-called ‘American Leadership Project’ will take unlimited contributions from individuals and is organized the same way as the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” he added.

The move marks at least the third time this week that representatives of a presidential candidate or national party campaign committee have filed - or threatened to file - FEC complaints over attack ads.

UPDATE: ALP released a response from their lawyers Wednesday afternoon. They said that the group did not fall under the legal definition of a "political committee" as defined by federal election laws because its stated goal was not to elect or defeat a specific candidate, but "to raise public awareness of vital public policy issues affecting America's middle class."

soundoff (343 Responses)
  1. Alice

    I can't wait until Reverend Wright is back on TV to get even with Obama for dissing him. Who knows what revelations he'll have about Obama if he gets REALLY mad. He's known Obama for 20 years, and I'm sure he knows about any skeletons in Barack's closet – I can't WAIT to hear all about them!

    April 30, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. Enough

    Thanks for doing this Hillary – you just added another item to my list of reasons why I would never vote for another Clinton – you in particular. My list is getting longer by the day. I guess the clinton moto is...If you can't win honestly go dirty. Unfortunately for you it backfires. There's no smoke so thick that people can't see you for what you truly are. Hey, stick to your gas tax holiday schtick...it's great for laughs!

    April 30, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. faker

    Obama's house of race-cards needs to fall.

    This guy is demanding the white house be given to him.

    Obama and Wright both are egotistical and reckless narcisists that demand the public stage of the presidency to as to proceed with their divisive agenda.

    We need to govern the country... not have these two slug it out ego on ego, lie on lie, insult on insult.

    If we want that- all we need to do is read all the pro-Obama bloggers. Nothing but hatred, divisiveness, namecalling, mocking and demeaning insults.

    Some America we can look forward to.

    April 30, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Eddie

    I think Hillary misspoke,instead of saying she would run better against McCain she meant to say she would be the best candidate to run with or for McCain.

    April 30, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. 58 old white wemen for OBAMA

    OUR SON BARACK NEEDS TO STOP DEFENDING

    HIMSELF. THERE IS NO DEFENSE TO A LIE.OTHER

    THAN "I DIDN'T DO IT. THAT'S WEEK. SOME ONE

    TAKES OUT A HAMMER, YOU CAN TAKE OUT A BIGGER

    HAMMER, BETTER NOT TO PLAY THEIR GAME & TAKE

    OUT A FAR BETTER WEAPON THAN A HAMMER.

    GET OUT THE ECONOMIC FACTS, SIMPLIFY THEM

    & GO AFTER HER. THE IRAQ WAR AND PRICE OF

    GASOLINE & OTHER COMMODITIES ALL LINKED.

    SHE & BILL HAVE BEEN AS COMPLICIT IN GIVING

    AMERICA AWAY WITH POLICY AS THE REPUBLICANS.

    IT'S A BECOME THE KISS OF DEATH TO A POLITICAL

    CAREER TO PROPOSE ANYTHING TO HELP THE

    CITIZEN, BUT PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TO GIVE OUR

    HARD EARNED CASH TO THE RICH, AS OBAMA SAID.

    AND SHOULD SAY SOME MORE.

    April 30, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. kate, NM

    Hey Mae,

    Does change mean better?

    April 30, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. FP

    Obama is a traitor to us Black Americans. We supported him all the way and now he throws us under the bus by rejecting the great Rev Wright for stating publicly what Barack has agreed to for many, many years. Obama you lost many black Americans with your unloyal attitude. Shame on you.

    April 30, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Jimmy O

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has requested nearly $2.3 billion in federal earmarks for 2009, almost three times the largest amount received by a single senator this year.

    CNN why are you scared of my anti-Clinton posting? You cannot report Paul v Clinton, that's ok, I understand. Your bosses are compromised.

    But this one is not so bad, it is just about earmarks..

    April 30, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. Letha, Sioux Falls, SD

    28 year old White MAN in FLORIDA

    It was a city called Clinton and not Hillary Clinton you idiot. You keep posting the same stuff with no real facts just like Obama is doing. Are you Wright brained also?

    April 30, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. chris

    Anyone else notice 50% of Hillary's "stump" speech are things Obama first said? Corporate Execs, bringing troops home "safe" way (she first just said pull them out asap), NAFTA, Fixing gas (her solution of $40 savings in everyone's pocket is useless)

    This lady wants to nuke Iran – way to bring people together!

    April 30, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Neutral

    Obambi do you want pork rind with your WHINE? You whine too much like a spoiled brat. It was okay with you when a group supporting you ran a negative campaign against Hillary, you also whine when a group supporting Edwards ran an ad against you in Iowa.

    Go call Wright Obambi, you need private prayer with him in the basement of your HQ. You throw Wright under the bus, not all blacks appreciate what you've done to Wright, they called you TYPICAL POLITICIAN. Yeah! I'm typical white person and bitter too!

    April 30, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. Stop your lies

    My God...

    Obama and Wright are just the same.

    Egos are too big and they wll recklessly destroy everyone who simply doesn't agree with them.

    Both strut, and swagger and mock and jeer and demean.

    Both are flippant and cocky.

    Both are divisive and will stop at nothing.

    April 30, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Maggie

    Thanks for finally posting me.

    I would rather have a President that will stand up for themselves and our country, not claim to be taking the high road. We need someone with balls to get things done and it is not just a good speech giver, I get my inspirational speaking from Church and feel good for a few hours later, just like the Obama speeches. At the end of the day a speech of inspiration will not put food on the table for our children, fill our gas tanks and find us a place to live, as we lost our home to foreclosure.

    April 30, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. Vig

    The Obama campaign is turning out to resemble the boy who cried wolf one too many times. What a bunch of whining wimps.

    April 30, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Angel B

    Anyone who has been following this Democratic Primary must know by now that Barrack Obama is the biggest cry baby & wimp to come along in quite a while. Here is a guy that does exactly the same thing he is complaining about & then has the nerve to cry. Why did it take him 20 years to finally complain about Reverend Wright?

    I am really fed up with this fake of a candidate already.....We need someone with a spine and grit to get America through these tough times. For a guy that says he came up through the rough & tough Chicago political scene, he is nothing but a little cry baby.

    Go Hillary all the way in 08!!!

    April 30, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Lets Get Ready for Change!

    Maggie,
    Does Hillary even go to church?

    April 30, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. Raoul

    If the law was broken the law was broken. If the Obama campaign wants to file a complaint that is their right. I suppose Clinton supporters don't believe in such rights? Does the law only exist for their benefit? If Clinton or McCain were being attacked and found evidence of the law being broken by a 527 don't you think their campaign would have the same reaction?

    April 30, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. chris

    HRC's (current) pastor—-Molestation of 7 year old
    HRC's (current) pastor—-Molestation of 7 year old
    HRC's (current) pastor—-Molestation of 7 year old
    HRC's (current) pastor—-Molestation of 7 year old

    Anyone else notice 50% of Hillary's "stump" speech are things Obama first said? Corporate Execs, bringing troops home "safe" way (she first just said pull them out asap), NAFTA, Fixing gas (her solution of $40 savings in everyone's pocket is useless)

    This lady wants to nuke Iran and isn't really willing to meet with Cuba or N. Korea – way to bring peace or people together!

    April 30, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Sharon

    Hello, CNN by moderating my comments out, which ar estrying to answer the people who claim certain stories to be fact, you are showing TREMENDOUS bias against Hillary.....POST THIS!
    CNN….why not moderate OUT posts that are based on nothing but lies?????
    Can the people with the peter paul and former clinton pastor sories get a grip and do some research please??????? The VILLAGE where the story about the pastor lives is called CLINTON, NY in Oneida County….peter paul has been thrown out 2 times already….he's a nut-job…..

    PLEASE LOOK UP YOUR POSTS! You all sound so desperate for anything to make yourselves feel better about your own candidate! :) At least make your posts based on fact, not what you chose to believe…..really pitiful.
    "Paul's claims have not found traction. An audit by the Federal Elections Commission found that neither Senator Clinton nor her Senate campaign had accepted any illegal funds in connection with the Hollywood fundraiser[40], though the campaign was asked to pay $35,000 in fines for having underreported the cost of the party.[41] Paul's suit against the FEC was thrown out; his attempt to bring ethics charges against Clinton were rejected,[42] and his fraud charges against Senator Clinton were tossed out in April 2006.[43] Paul continued to press civil charges against Senator Clinton and former President Clinton for "looting"[44] his business, but the courts refused to allow him to sue Senator Clinton, with the appellate court specifying that her behavior had been "perfectly legal," and allowing her to recoup her legal fees from Paul.[40]

    Finding no luck in the courts, in 2007 Paul sponsored and promoted a thirteen and a half minute video titled "Hillary Exposed: The Case of Paul v. Clinton," attacking Senator Clinton. Her office responded "Peter Paul is a professional liar who has four separate criminal convictions, two for fraud. His video repackages a series of seven-year-old false claims about Senator Clinton that have already been rejected by the California state courts, the Justice Department, the Federal Election Commission, and the Senate Ethics Committee."[45] In January 2008, he also re-filed his complaint with the FEC"

    April 30, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Illinois

    This is typical Obama. He always gets his lawyers involved in order for him to try to swing things his way. It's the same thing he's done in many other states in order to keep the precincts open longer in the predominately black districts so that he would get more votes. And it's the same thing he did in Illinois when he get a bunch of his crooked lawyers involved so that he could get his challengers off the ballot so that he could (and did) win his seat. Of course he won....there was no one else on the ballot. This guy is so whiny he makes women look like they have more cajones than him.

    April 30, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Neutral

    Obambi!!!! Yo bro! call Louis Farrakhan! Remember you were with him and Wright during million man march! Don't tell us you don't know anything about Farrakhan. Darn it! Hamas is paging you! Their volunteers in Gaza strip calling on your behalf needs more phone number from the US to call! C'mon Obambi! Start crackin!

    April 30, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Jimmy O

    FP, you were there when Barack agreed to it, right? We can see through your divisive lies... It is not working, cut it out

    April 30, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Sharon

    Can people get a grip on the NY pastor (Onieda County in the VILLAGE of Clinton, NY) and the foolish claims of peter paul......please do yourselves a favor and RESEARCH!

    April 30, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. ch

    This is ridiculous. 527 groups ran pro Obama ads in Iowa – and John Edwards complained about them.

    Probably just a lame attempt to distract from his loony Reverend Wright and his “outrage” that was about 20 years too late.

    April 30, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Lets Get Ready for Change!

    FP,
    I am an African American and I don't see Obama as being unloyal. Rev Wright should not have tried to take center stage. Point blank! Some of us truly agree with how Obama handled it. If you a true leader and someone attacks (whether a team member, former team member or opponent), you must respond and respond sharply. Exactly what Obama did!

    April 30, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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