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. Jenny, TX

    Obama will not get elected anyway.

    Hillary '08

    April 30, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. what a joke

    McCain is going to win if the DEMS don't wake up.

    April 30, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Blaising

    Hillary voted FOR THE WAR in Iraq.

    Rodham rhymes with SADDAM.

    April 30, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. A Proud Typical Ordinary American

    Barry – not too worry! Your left winged (almost falling off the edge) Move-on organization will win the day for you if you are still around in November. In the meantime – be sure and get long nails and completely shut all your closets before those 527's get in their to see your and Michelle's baggage.

    April 30, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. maya

    waa waa waa

    Obama Obama- Nothing Wright said was new to spark your so called outrage- your staged performance.

    Whining is not presidential.

    April 30, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. is he going to sue everyone

    what a joke

    April 30, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. Adam - TX

    Duh, Barack, we can't let you sink the Democratic party in November? You're toast against John McCain. Thanks for the change we can count on...another 4 years of Republican rule...

    April 30, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. rusty

    whah-whah-whah (crying baby). This is just a campaign period (against Hillary). How is he going to act when he gets to fight against McCain???

    Hillary2008

    April 30, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. Tom

    Hillary is destroying the demoncrate party, Obama is trying to reunite the party how can he do that without Hillary attacking him when this mess going to stop. Hillary is acting like she a republican she need to focus on McCain.

    April 30, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. Kay

    I am so ashamed that of Hill and all of her supporters. Why can't she just run a respectful campaign? I am so tired of all the negativity.

    OBAMA 2008

    April 30, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. Sylvia

    cry baby...CANNOT STAND THE HEAT!!!!!

    April 30, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. john williams san diego, ca.

    you people must respect the Clinton war/slime machine or your ears will hear the "CACKLE' again..

    April 30, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. Alonzo Demetrius

    I don't think Obama will be able to get the 297 delegates needed for the majority during primaries. This fight will end at the dem convention in Sep. One-half of dems are going to be angry then.

    April 30, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. DoneWithDems

    To What a Joke.......it's all but done. Yall keep on a fightin now.

    April 30, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. Mike

    Can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen!!!

    Obama you used the same group and now complain that they are going to run ads for Clinton...

    April 30, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. AMG

    Telling the truth is not negative and serves the interest of the American people. Obama supporters please understand this, to criticize is not negative on the contrary offers the opportunity to compare.
    20 years to figure out Rev Wright? Incredible!!

    April 30, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. teri

    It is time that Hilary Clinton and her supportes get back the fact they do attire to racism in America. She would be a better candidate if she wasn't so pathetic in trying to run another democrate down, If she concentrated on the bigger issues and the needs for this country, she would do much better. How about all the negative comments and brainwashing to stop and just campaign as an intellegent FEMALE!! You don't need to down grade others to get your votes. By the way, You don't have my vote, based on the principle of treat others as you would want to be treated. I wouldn't want all your negativity of others in my lifestyle. Clean Out Your Closets, before slamming others!!!!

    April 30, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. therealist

    They obviously missed this morning +.06 GDP report..

    What will the dems talk down now??

    April 30, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. bigben

    I think Obama should start wearing a dress

    April 30, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  20. Pam

    To PA For Obama...the Clinton's don't sleep at night. They're vampires.

    April 30, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  21. obama lover

    PA
    i agree with you all the way

    April 30, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. Shannon from Washington

    Are you kidding me Clinton supporters? Have you all no regard for the law? Obama can run laps around Clinton on money, this is not the issue. The issue is that she is once again engaging in dirty, unethical, and frankly illegal activity. If she has nothing to worry about than why are you all crying because he filed a lawsuit. You all need to be in jail together.

    April 30, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. Anonymous

    This comment is directed to "Working Girl in Big D". What an ignorant thing for anyone in this day and time to say about anyone, regardless of their race or gender. Grow up ,or just dont comment at all. Obama is leading in the polls, so why should he go home and call it quits. At least he hasn't flat out lied to the American people.

    April 30, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  24. Audrey in North Carolina

    This comment is directed to "Working Girl in Big D". What an ignorant thing for anyone in this day and time to say about anyone, regardless of their race or gender. Grow up ,or just dont comment at all. Obama is leading in the polls, so why should he go home and call it quits. At least he hasn't flat out lied to the American people.

    April 30, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  25. Alex H

    When Hillary is on a dollar crunch, it's important that she doesn't cheat the system. Groups like that are allowed to bash a candidate, but the commercials were promoting a candidate also, and that is a campaign ad. As a campaign ad, it needs to be counted towards campaign expenses.

    April 30, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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