April 30th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
7 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. Nanc, MN

    Psssst, here\y look over there, now! Because if we can turn your head that way may you'll forget about my old Uncle Wright. Come on now, something new and a cheap shot. Please people read, it states clearly that Obama has used this group too. Bamboolzed are you?

    April 30, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. Maggie

    Let's get ready for change? He and his pastor of 20 years have turned off many people. I was heading to voting for Obama, but I cannot see him having enough experience or the ability to handle a situation without his speech writer behind him. He is young, he should take the VP for Hillary and get some real experience and come back in 4 years. Hillary and Obama should agree that she takes the President Nomination he gets the VP and she agrees not to run in 4 years. He will be ready then. It is the best thing for our party, but more importantly our country.

    April 30, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. max

    Chris you are so right!!!!! I give you President Barack Obama.... lets all say it together................... He will clobber McCain HRC maybe if we stop talking about her she will go away

    April 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. venkat venkatasamy

    The leaders who made real CHANGES are Moses, Jesus, Gandhi, Mandela, …….. and they all started their JOURNEY from AFRICA. Who is next ? Is Obama the next?

    April 30, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. tim in carroll ia

    Voters in Indiana:
    You have an historic opportunity to reject negative politics by supporting Barak Obama! For months now, the Clintons have employed the negative tactics that Richard Nixon used to rise to national prominence. While Barak Obama offers hope for ALL of America, Clinton's only hope, to fulfill her personal ambition, has been to attack and try to tear him down. If you're really tired of negative campaigns and politicians – now is the time to reject the negatve Clinton campaign and send the most negative campaigner of 2008 – Hillary Clinton – home! Step up, Indiana! Reject negative politics!

    April 30, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Ha ha Obama

    "They're using the facts against me? How dare they."
    Give me a break. Almost as funny as Obama's lemmings accusing the Clinton campaign of somehow orchestration the crash and burn insanity of Rev Wright (who was a major Obama advisor until very recently. How does that speak to Obama's judgement if he were to choose a presidential cabinet?)

    April 30, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. mary cleveland, ohio

    Yes, Obama supporters are educated. They are educated enough to spot a disingenuous piece of work like Hillary Clinton.

    April 30, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Tom

    Why is this group attacking Obama they need to attack McCain this is what I am talking about how Hillary is destroying the demoncrate party, Pelosi, Gore, Reid, need to step in quick before Hillary really make the demoncrate lose in the general election. Hillary stop attacking Obama

    Obama 08

    April 30, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. the real deal cheryl

    sorry hill
    i really love obama better

    April 30, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. Cindy from Oregon

    IT'S TIME FOR OBAMA TO DO THE HONORABLE THING AND DROP OUT NOW! THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE Sooooo WEARY OF YOU EXPLAINING YOURSELF.You are DAMAGED GOODS. So many of us have even stopped watching CNN because of you.

    April 30, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    What's with you guys calling BO a wimp! Is it because you can't come up with something substantive!

    Shouting or throwing stones is not what real toughness is about......Sometimes weak people use those strategies to hide their own insecurities....Real toughness is reflected through integrity and honesty...As the saying goes, “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes and strong enough to correct them.”

    April 30, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. M.S. Indiana

    jo and ike, remember they are in the same party ?? why give RNC anything to use in the general election, they should stay on course with issues.... It would have been smarter to attack McCain or Bush...

    We have enough problems as it is... we need to fix the economy, work on getting away from foreign oil raise education, keep jobs and create jobs in America... we need to work on crime, we need to bring our soldiers home, we need to help the veterans and the list goes on and on

    April 30, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. Ken

    Obama is trying any way he can to try and beat Hillary Clinton! What is he afraid of, let the people have their free speech and own opinion. Just because they do not agree nor support Obama, he has to send his attorney's to try and shut up anyone that does not agree with him.

    The "blind" people that are following the "Pied Piper" need to wake up and smell the truth! Obama belonged to a church for 20 years, listening to the hate speech, and whatever else that the Rev. Wright had spoken. How can anyone belong to a church for 20 years and not have it rub off on them?

    We all have seen the picture, where as the National Anthem was playing, and where Obama DID NOT place his hand over his heart, like proud Americans do!

    DO WE REALLY WANT SUCH A PRESIDENT? I for one DO NOT!

    Hillary Clinton is the right choice to become our next President. She IS a proud American and always has been. Hillary is proud of our great country, She is the one that wants to lead us out of this mess that George Bush has gotten us into.

    April 30, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Lisa

    Somehow some way…she alwyas gets away with it.
    To those mentioning Paul vs Clinton…I think there must be a news blackout or something as all MSM are afraid to touch it.

    Could it be the MSM has a blackout on news on both?
    Paul vs Clinton?
    Sinclair vs Obama?

    What is good for the goose is good for the gander I guess!

    April 30, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. Sammy

    Really the only point is whether these 527 groups and ads are a good or bad thing. If we think they are bad, who cares when the candidates make their complaint or which ads they are complaining about. So long as they do.

    April 30, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. v.ananthan

    I wonder why OBAMA needs to be looked after all the time...
    Can¨t Obama take part in debates and defend himself and present his future plans....

    April 30, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. WHATTHEPEOPLEWANT

    Hillary Clinton is a disgrace to all good women.

    April 30, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Billery&Chillery - Sad games for loosers to play.

    So sad to see Hillary Clinton again – utilizing THE KITCHEN SINK to slam Barack Obama because – well ..you know...well...YOU KNOW....

    Senator Obama has played a fair Political Game. Senator Clinton with her former President (uncontrollable) Bill Clinton has played about the nastiest game I've ever seen.

    YOU KNOW?

    Oh yes, btw. Go ahead and VOTE for her and her HOLIDAY GAS TAX which will put over 300,000 people out of work for GOOD....(her way of making more jobs for everyone....) Ultimately RAISE the cost for gas again (Great way to fix ECONOMY) and give the GasMan more $$$PROFITS. Yep..I'll do it the way Barack Obama has planned.

    OH WHY doesn't he state his plans so clearly? BECAUSE HILLARY STEALS EVERYTHING she HEARS and makes it HER IDEA. McCain origionally stated the Holiday Gas Tax reprieve on April 15, 2008..now Republican..oh excuse me...(D???) Hillary Clinton JUMPED right on the REPUBLICAN BANDWAGON and is pushing it as of APRIL 26,2008. Give me a break!

    Don't try to save me a lousy $30.00 inclusive over a 3 month period and have me PAY for it through LOST JOBS which ultimately means NO STREET REPAIRS..which ultimately means FRONT END ALLIGNMENTS and BROKEN FRONT END PARTS $300-1000 for my car repairs...etc..

    THIS is just a PLOY from Hillary to get VOTES.....it won't work....it will cause more damage than good!

    April 30, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. alberto

    We don know you well Obama, We know well Clinton!
    You???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    April 30, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. AJ

    Oh no!! Someone order a truckload of tissues. Obama and his supporters are crying again! Does that moron never get tired of whining?

    April 30, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. California Girl

    If he can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen!

    Hillary the Real Deal!

    April 30, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Sharon Minnesota

    Again, Obama, what are you expecting from the republicans sweet talk?

    April 30, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Paul

    Obama is a crying baby. lol

    Obama is no longer electable. He has negative stereotypes about people's values and faith. He received mentoring from Rev Wright for 20 years…

    The next President is getting the support of those who truly love and value our nation and that individual is Hillary.

    Hillary 08!

    April 30, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  24. WD

    ALL I WANT IS A PRESIDENT WHO CAN PUT AMERICA BACK ON TRACK! I don't care about all this BS. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. 'Nuf said.

    April 30, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. Alex

    Oh Brother!!!
    Trying to distract whats really going on!!!! smart move...but too late!!!
    WRIGHT IS NOW TOTALLY WRONG FOR OBAMA!!!! TOO LATE..
    KEEP THOSE SUPERDELEGATES A COMING FOR HILLARY!!!!
    GO HILLARY...WE GOT YOUR BACK!!!!

    April 30, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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