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. Gerald F.

    To Senator Obama: I find that this complaint of yours sound too much like hypocracy. Senator Clinton has a 527 group suddenly supporting her and you have Moveon.org......................
    How is it okay for one and not the other?

    April 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. THE REAL CHERYL FOR HILLARY!

    WAH WAH WAH!!!!!!
    SOMEONE GET THE KLEENEX OUT FOR OBAMA!!!!!!!!

    April 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. kate

    The Clinton pastor you people keep bringing up is from Clinton NY
    he is not HiIlarys pastor
    The Rev Wright is back out there again today :yes he can! ruin Obamas chances.
    Obama will not win the election vote for Hillary

    Can't take the heat Obama? Wait till the repubs really get going

    April 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Monte

    Crying like a baby again! Obama used the same group and lost...No one controls the 527's. They are free to do what they want and when it is in Obama's favor, he likes them. When they go against him, he cries. Grow up!!!!! Presidential material you are not.

    April 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Mike

    I didn't believe a word of NObamas sympathy apology in regards to Rev. Wright.

    Amazing, a month ago, "tight as ever," NOW, FINALLY putting distance between Wright!

    The two are probably planning a cook out this weekend.

    Phony!

    Just not convincing!

    Go Hillary!!!!

    April 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    A house divided cannot stand. Do the right thing in respect for the democrat party and voters.

    April 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. Chriss

    MOVEON.ORG was organized to support Bill during MonicaGate.

    Being who they turned out to really be, belying their stated personas, moveon.org members voted OVERWHELMINGLY (70%-30%) to support Obama.

    HRC needs some coverage of her latest criminal activities indicating severe character flaws.

    We do not need another president in court for criminal behavoir.

    SURRENDER DOROTHY!

    With Obama continually being pounded by:

    McInsane,
    Her Royal Clintoness,
    Billy Clinton,
    Chelsea Clinton,
    A host of establishment Clintonistas,
    as well as the full brunt of the right wing attack machine (they're supporting HRC because there is all the old dirt plus piles more recently they can clobber her with in the GE),

    it is clear that since he is still able to stay ahead and pull ahead of HRC, he has proven he will prevail in the GE.

    Obama '08

    April 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. candical

    I have heard nothing but the line Clinton is a fighter for months now. The line following that is the Obama won't fight back. Now his campaign is fighting something that is illegal and the Clintonites are grabbing their panties and saying he is a crybaby. What kind of logic runs in a loosing campaign like this. Oh by the way those of you who say you would defect from the democrats if Hillary looses need to get moving and good ridence..

    April 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Mike

    NObama is a cry baby!

    What a Wimp!

    Go Hillary!!!!

    April 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. SHAME ON YOU!!!! OBAMA!!

    THIS WAS YOUR PASTOR FOR 20YRS!! HE MUST HAVE BEEN DOING SOMETHING RIGHT FOR YOU TO SIT IN THE PEWS FOR 20YRS!!! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO IF YOU DON'T WIN THE PRESIDENCY UH UH?? THIS IS YOUR CHURCH THAT HAS SEEN YOU HIGH & LOW. YOU ARE DISTANCING YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU NEED THE BLUE COLLAR WHITE VOTE. YES YOU ARE PLAYING POLITICS BIG TIME!!! YOU KNOW IT TOO!!

    April 30, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. Dulce

    And this is why I do not trust Hillary, for her this election is about her and it isn't, it's about us.

    April 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. shirley

    Hillary and Bill do not concern themselves with minor issues of legality. Remember, during Bill's impeachment trial he put his hand on the Bible, swore to tell the truth and then lied. Hillary had no problem with this and probably advised him that he could clear his name by lying.

    April 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. Neutral

    Why are you filing a complaint now Obama? You did the same thing to Hillary when a group supporting YOU run a NEGATIVE AD against her!!!!!

    OBAMA!!!!!!!!! WIMP! WIMP!

    CHICKEN! CHICKEN! CAN'T DEBATE!!!!!

    LYING SACK OF SHEIT!!!!!!!!!

    April 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Tim from Buffalo

    This "article" doesn't even say what the complaint the Obama campaign has registered is. Why do people already have strong opinions on it's validity?

    April 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. Tommy

    I think I now understand why Mr. Obama said he would not have voted for the war in Iran. After listening to his pastor week after week, go on about how we (the United States) deserved what we got and that are trying to rule the world and we are terrorist and so on. You get the picture. I also think his wife liked the church and he got dragged along
    to it. I would have some respect for him if he had not allowed his daughters to be exposed to this type of sermons week after week.

    April 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. Sharon

    Hello there!
    People who have the problems with 527's only complain when they are used against them….there are laws that regulate them…get a grip…..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 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. Smiley from Conyers, GA

    Obama has been as honest as I've ever seen ANY politician get. He hasn't lied to the American people. Any issues that arises he faces it head on. He doesn't say that he "MISSPOKE" or have his spouse come out and say "he was tired". He deals with it immediately and conscientiously.

    If news reports and videos of Hillary actual trip to Bosnia never surfaced, she'd still be repeating the same story.

    You people need to learn to start thinking for yourselves and stop letting the media and talk radio make your decisions for you.

    ELEVATE YOUR MINDS AND THINK FOR YOURSELVES!!!

    Obama '08

    April 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. goblai67

    Obama oppenent can manipulate anything.
    They have the media that do not know what is write from what is wrong.
    Obama has a lot of job to do but what can he do?
    Wright(pastor) will say anything he want and he is a free man.
    Throughout all this you can see how JESUS was crucify.

    THE ONE THING I CAN GARANTY YOU IS.

    HILLARY CLINTON HAS ALREADY DAMAGE HERSELF, HER PARTY, CHELSEA HER DAUGHTER, AND ALSO AMERICA REPUTATION.

    DON'T YOU KNOW THE WORLD IS WATCHING?

    April 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. Tony Z- MD

    Is this a primary or general election? At the end of the day, HRC needs supports for any of her ideas. She is using the crash and burn only to find out that her solutions for America cannot be delivered.

    She must remember that making enemies now will not heal before the general election. If it is not Obama than McCain. It will be her experience argument working against her.

    April 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. Tammy - KCMO

    How stupid are you Clinton supporters? Can't you read or do you just post anything anti-Obama without knowing the facts?

    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.

    IT'S A 527 – MEANING IT CAN'T ADVERTISE ON BEHALF OF A PARTICULAR CANDIDATE

    What part of that don't you understand???

    April 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. patty

    Barrack Hussien Omaba, stop your crying and return to your million dollar home that Tony R. helped you to get. Geez, you did the same thing, now that Clinton is able to do it, you start your crying jag, such a waste.

    April 30, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. Working Gal in Big D

    Oh poor, poor misled Audrey. Anyone aligning themselves with a "hate monger" that calls himself a reverand, needs to QUIT! What kind of leadership and respect would he get? and, I dont' recall saying anything about race!. I'm not the one bringing racism up but, guess who does? Go right on and vote for a loser – its called the democratic way.

    April 30, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. Dulce

    I just found out about the Clinton/Paul suit in CA yesterday by accident when I was surfing the web. How come there is nothing on tv about it?

    April 30, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. Meredith

    Go Obama!!! Hillary has cried twice during this campaign and complained about everything from "going first" to "being a woman." Who can forget her famous spectacle, "Shame on you Barack Obama." The woman complains like no other: when her opponent doesn't stoop to her level, she calls him weak, and when he defends himself, she and her supporters call him a crybaby. Puleez!! Give me a break.

    Obama/Casey 08 (Because America needs a president who WON'T "distort" reality and history for personal gain.

    April 30, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Emily

    What do you people want? First you say that Obama needs to be a fighter like the increasingly shameless Hillary, and then when he does fight on something you call him a wimp. I find it amazing how people can turn on him so frequently, and so easily.

    OBAMA 08

    April 30, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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