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. Susan MO

    Obama's real side is coming out, and that's not good.

    He keeps hurting himself.

    Not good for a presidential candidate.

    He's is getting 'too cocky'.

    April 30, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. DAN

    Shame on you Barrack Obama, this is a scam, as if he hasn't been getting bias attention from the media and Oprah. Just yesterday with his lies about his pastor aired on cnn for hours and hours ,talk about free advertisement. booh hoo hoo. It's so over for Obama and alot of people are getting tired of all this nonsense. The cult is comming to an end.

    April 30, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. Sylvia

    Desperate times calls for desperate measures. HRC last resort is swiftboating.

    OBAMA is our next President!

    April 30, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  4. Peter

    Hillary is broke so she tries to cheat. We all know from the FL and MI stories that Hillary doesn`t care about rules.

    April 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. Kathy Corey

    Whine, whine, whine....Good luck taking on the 527's. Wait to the general election. If Obama is the nominee this will be a full time job.

    April 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Daniel, PA

    Now that the shoe's on the other foot, Obama doesn't like it. Too bad! It was fine when he allowed his campaign to saturate Pennsylvania and other states with misleading and downright lying mailers about Sen. Clinton's policies and positions. Neither Hillary nor Obama can control the 527 ads. So, quit your belly-achin, Obama. You already have a reputation as a whiner and too weak to withstand a general campaign and you just proved it again.

    April 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. Roxanne

    Is this guy for real? He has the vast organising and fundraising machinery of Move-On.org behind him and now that his apponent has a supporting group behind her, just this once, he cries and whines all the way to the FEC?

    Give me a break! Again–if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen already!

    April 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. David, Kentucky

    Hillary Clinton is showing us why she is one of the most hated and devisive figures in America politics. This group would not be doing this without her campaigns approval and its another attempt to get around campaign financing rules, something she is under indictment for right now in california.

    April 30, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Holly, Chicago

    Sen. Obama and his campaign representatives are the biggest whiners that have ever conducted an election campaign. In addition, the Obama campaign is so hypocritical. They have have utilized the very same tactics in other states. I am so sorry, but it appears that the public has now finally seen thru his charade and can now see him for what he really is...which is not very nice, nor very presidential either.

    Re: Glenn (comments) You had better take a good, hard look before you go counting to many more Super delegates because with Sen. Clinton now winning & demonstrating that she leads McCain head-to-head by nearly 10 points its just a matter of time. The Super delegates want a candidate that is viable and electable and will re-position themselves to support the candidate that is going to carry all Democrats and win. That is... Sen. Hillary Clinton!!!

    April 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. mama4obama

    Obama did not file a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton...he filed a lawsuit against the 527 for illegal activity. There is a big differenc here and dont think even for a second that Billary would not have done the same thing if it were not benefiting her.

    Please people....be fair.

    April 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. Tim Stringer

    All but its ok move on .org can buy adds for Obama !!!Which they did in Penn and Ohio .Obama's campaign are a bunch of cry- babies .Talk about double standards .When you look up that word in the dictionary you see OBAMA !!CNN you are as low for posting such a dumn article .What is he going to do against all the GOP special interest groups .This ad is nothing like the one the GOP is running about his involvement with Mr.Wright in NC .This is a campaign I thought !!!

    April 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. Jesse - San Antonio TX

    Obama had 527 running ads for him in Texas.

    April 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. Still Shaking Head

    This is ridiculous... that group is in full compliance with the law. If you've actually seen the ad, which I'm guessing most of you who are whining about it haven't, it does NOT advocate for a candidate.

    It simply criticizes Obama's approach to our economic issues.

    Get over it. This is politics. You're the same people cheering "rules are rules" regarding MI and FL... well, fine. Rules are rules, and this 527 group isn't violating them.

    April 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. A CANUCK

    Yeh...why aren't we hearing about the PAUL VS CLINTON CASE in California ??

    April 30, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. After further review,Texas

    Hillary,the vengence filled Scorpio,will stop at nothing to get elected.She will throw the bath tub now.

    April 30, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. e

    Obama is well within his rights on this. No one who criticizes seems to realize that if they didn't seize on flimsy stuff like this for their general mockery, they wouldn't have anything else to talk about.

    OBAMA 08

    April 30, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. fred

    LMAO talk about cry baby!!

    Drop out now Obama!!!!

    April 30, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. THE REAL CHERYL FOR HILLARY!

    OBAMA CANNOT TAKE A DOSE OF HIS OWN MEDICINE?

    WHO IS HE TRYING TO KID?

    HE AND HIS CAMP HAVE DONE THIS FROM THE BEGINNING!!!!!!

    IF THE STORY'S WEREN'T THERE THEN THERE WOULD BE NOTHING TO WRITE ABOUT!!!!!

    THE FACT IS OBAMA IS INEXPERIENCED AND CANNOT HANDLE THE PRESSURE!

    WHAT DOES HE THINK THE REPUBLICANS WOULD DO TO HIM?
    HE HAS SHOWN TIME AND TIME AGAIN THAT HE DOES NOT BELONG IN POLITICS!
    YOU HAVE TO BE STRONG AND ABLE TO WITHSTAND SCRUTINY!
    HILLARY GETS ENOUGH OF IT!!!!!!!
    DO YOU SEE HER CRYING ABOUT IT!!!!!!
    WE NEED TO LOSE THIS ZERO AND ELECT A HERO!!!!!!!

    HILLARY CLINTON!!!!!!!!!!

    April 30, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. COLD HARD FACTS

    Her desperation is starting to show thats why the Superdelegates continue a steady flow to Sen OBAMA because they can read all the writting on the wall

    HRC supporters i understand that you all are very happy about HRC`s wins but the facts are as follows :

    OHIO = lied about NAFTA days before the primary
    TEXAS= 3AM ad preyed on people fears (lets not forget OBAMA won more delegates for TX)
    PA=HRC had a 20+ point lead going in and she came out with a 9 point win even with the Rev Wright blow up

    So i know its been a while for the HRC supporters to smile because Sen Obama won 11 states in a row REMEMBER (LOL) so I understand the enthusiasim, but lets just be realistic facts are facts he will have more pledged delegates, more of the popular vote, and more states won but lets not forget that HRC had a the support of 100 more SuperDELEGATES than Sen Obama but it has dwendelled to 19 it is impossible for HRC to win.

    PHILLIP in Monterey, CA via MEMEPHIS, TN

    April 30, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. cc for obama

    Wow, campaign fraud in the Clinton Campaign??? Nothing new, just google Peter Paul, and you'll see how good the Clintons are at getting away with illegal campaign financing.

    Quoted from an article on the Peter Paul website:

    In the landmark civil fraud case against Bill Clinton in Los Angeles, where the former President is charged with defrauding a Hollywood dot com millionaire to help Hillary Clinton obtain more than $1.2 million from him for her 2000 Senate campaign, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Aurelio Munoz ruled on Friday, April 25 that Hillary Clinton would not be required to testify in a sworn deposition as a material witness in the case until AFTER the November election!

    So, it may not matter if Hillary does get the nomination. She'll still have to testify, and that should put an end to her political future!!! BTW, Bill, Chelsea, and several of the staff members of her current campaign are also involved in this court case, and they will be required to appear as material witnesses very soon. Of course, Bill has been known to lie under oath before!!

    April 30, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. THE REAL CHERYL FOR HILLARY!

    HILLARY IS THE REAL DEAL AND OUR NEXT PRESIDENT!!!!!

    YEAH HILLARY!!!!!!!

    April 30, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  22. Rob

    What cry?

    The ad states Obama has no economic plan.

    His plan is ENDORSED by 2 nobel prize economists. ITs a blatant lie by a 527 that is ran by mark Penn.

    That is the Truth.

    April 30, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  23. Obama? No!

    This is super funny! cring baby keeps crying again!???

    Why can media or groups be pro-Obama not pro-Clinton? I think Clinton has every right to complain about some media like CNN!

    Go Hillary! You are the best forever!

    April 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. independent

    are you kidding me? barack had an ad asking for more money? you suckers fall for that??? nuts.

    April 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  25. Angel for Obama

    Here goes the Clinton's up to no good again in this primary season. Shame on Hilary up to dirty political tactics again. She's a joke. The people of IN and NC will see threw her and her games and support Obama. The Obama camp has the right to file and this is a good move by them. They also need to get some ads against Clinton the camp as over 30 million. YES WE CAN

    "Obama 08 enough said"

    April 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
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