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

Obama campaign files FEC complaint against pro-Clinton group

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/30/art.alpad1.cnn.jpg caption="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. Sharon, SC

    Two Nobel Prize Winners in Economics have both said that Obama has the only plan that can restore our ecomony. They have said that Hillary's plan to re-do the 90's would destroy our economy as the conditions we are currently in are not close to where we were in the 90's. They said Obama's plan reflects an understanding of the big picture and would work for our country. They said Clinton's plan will destroy our economy and we wouldn't be able to recover. They said McCain's plan just reflects that he knows nothing about the economy. Since the economy is our number one issue, please vote with the people who know and educate yourselves on the real issues. We need Obama if we want to have a country to call home. Obama '08 the Intelligent Choice.

    April 30, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. The Real Story

    The problem is that religion can only do religious things well. And when a Rev. Wright speaks at the National Press Club, or when a Billy Graham endorses a Nixon or when the adulterous Bill Clinton invited ministers to the White House to airbrush his squalid affair, or when McCain sucks up to the worst of the Religious Right that he once called "agents of intolerance" so he can get elected by religious nut-jobs, or when Hillary Clinton speaks of her faith and of carrying her Bible everywhere, so she will make good with those blue collar voters, it's hard to tell who's abusing whom - the preachers or the politicians. One thing is certain; the relationship of religion and politics does America no more good than the Oracle of Delphi did the ancient Greeks

    April 30, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. Cheryl

    Hillary Clinton is the lowest of the low. She and Bill will do anything to get back their Thrown and Royal life. Lie, Cheat, Steal, pander. They are disgracefull people. I cannot believe anyone out there is so stupid as to believe them. Bill Richardson knows them very well and they called him a Judas becuase they think they are GODS. Why are you Clinton supporters so blind?
    Vote Obama our last hope.

    April 30, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Obama for Emperor of the World

    He can do no wrong!!

    April 30, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Not Obama

    He really can't take any criticism can he? Cannot win in the general election either. Wake unit people.

    April 30, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. Deb

    The complete nerve of the Obama Camp amazes me!

    Last night on the Lou Dobbs show one of BO’s supporters said "Shame on America!" Referring to our shock over Rev. Wright.!

    I will not feel shame over our Outrage!

    This Creep needs to go away…..he is distracting us from the issues and has nothing to offer the Party because he can't win in a general election!

    Is his camp going to sue all of America for not electing him?

    April 30, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. Sharon Craft

    Obama needs to man up! If he can't take critizing and negative campaigning, especially from a woman, what will he do with the world leaders? Whine again? Also, how gullibile are people to even think this man went to a church for 20 years and never heard Rev. Wright speak this way. I am from the state of Indiana and I will vote for Hillary, but NEVER for Obama!
    Sharon Craft

    April 30, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. bill in Oklahoma

    Why is obama so upset with this? He will get a great more of this type advertisng in the fall. If he can not withstand it now what makes him think he can then. I wish the clintons would stop this advertisng.

    April 30, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. kat1park

    jj, I think you misunderstood. They are not allowed to endorse a candidate. By shooting an anti-Obama ad, it's clear that they have endorsed her. Also, the article didn't say he used this group. The article said he spoke against groups like these in an ad that he released. He was actually denouncing them, not using them. He basically made his supporters aware of these groups and how they work when he was doing a fundraiser. Just wanted to clear that up for you. The article isn't saying he used this group. Just that he mentioned them "swift boat type groups" during a fundraiser. What can you say about Hillary? More of the same. Please do not vote for her.

    April 30, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. Anna

    Its funny that Clinton supporters keep calling Obama a cry baby. I have never seen him cry in this campaign. I have seen Hillary cry-when she lost Iowa.
    Also CHANGE is a campaign slogan, for the specifics of Obamas proposed policies visit his campaign site or speak with one of those Nobel Winnning economists who support his policies.
    What was the campaign slogan of the Clinton campaign.

    April 30, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. TEXAN

    60% of American people do not trust, belive or like Hillary Clinton....She wont be the next Presidents ....Sorry Clintonians!

    She cannot be more negative that she has already been.


    OBAMA 08'

    April 30, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. An American in Canada

    Ah poor Baby Obama, whining again, can't stand the heat..........

    Maybe you can explain that Great Farce you and Rev. Wright perpetrated on America this weekend.

    It was all in the game plan according to an interview with New York Times by Rev. Wright.
    Wright suggested to the New York Times last year that he and Obama might have to do something of a distancing act in the run up to the election.
    “If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me,” Wright was quoted by The New York Times. “I said it to Barack personally, and he said, ‘Yeah, that might have to happen.’”
    Poor baby Obama, maybe one of your surogates can answer Rev. Wright implication in his interview, for you...

    April 30, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. JOSH

    Obama's personal pastor did more than anyone else to take the glow off his campaign by dismissing the Illinois senator as just "a politician."

    "He goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician," Wright said in his interview Friday night with PBS journalist Bill Moyers. "I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God."

    April 30, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. all American

    Whats with you Obama? You claim to have raised more money then Hillary and you out spend her three to one on television. And yet you get upset becouse someone supports Hillary. You can't seem to stand a level playing field becouse you know you will loose. I do wish you would grow up. Cry me a river Obama and we will name it after you.

    April 30, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. Barack the Vote in RI

    Hillary's at it again....

    April 30, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. NObama

    How in the world, someone please tell me, is Sen. Clinton being divisive???

    Obama has run false ads about her, but you don't hear her 'whining'.

    She is not monetarily supporting this group that is financing those ads.

    C'mon, Barack, come out of the shadows, show us who you are, provide solid plans, have debates, quit hiding!

    HILLARY 2008~

    April 30, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. susants

    Since Clinton doesn't have much money left for her hate/fear/smear ads, she has to rely on her elitist ultra rich friends to lie for her. Too bad there are consequences for supporters of 527's; they are liable.
    Did they have AP and WP permission to use headlines out of context?
    When Kerry was swiftboated, 527's were new. Now we know they cannot be used to destroy people or support specific candidates by collusion.
    Hope Clinton's advisor Mark Penn's employee and the contributors have fun defending themselves and paying the price.
    Clinton won't have to be deposed until she is no longer a candidate in the CA trial or in this FCC investigation.

    April 30, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. tracker

    Neutral.. you are just plain STUPID..You Obama supporters will do just about anything to make Hillary look bad..Now you want to go after her for t.v. ads..It was o.k. when Obama was running them ..You can't handle the truth...To Bad..The truth is he supported his friend and pastor Wright when this first came out...NOW...he is trying to get out of it...FLIP FLOP..He said "Wright has been a friend and pastor for 20 yrs.he even married us" Well like Hillary said "you can't pick your family BUT YOU can pick your friends"...And what a friend and pastor Wright is..I'll bet you just can't wait to send your children to that church after all he is anti-american..Obama is finally shown to be the LIAR he is..You can't do much more to the Clintons their dirty laundry has been aired out for years..GET OVER IT..The facts are Hillary will be the best president..Obama knows nothing about the issues...Obama has played the race card against the Clintons to get the black vote..He will not debate Hillary because his supporters and campaign won't let him...GEE WONDER WHY???T....What is Obama cooking??Americans...Rocky he is not ..His run will end soon and not at the steps of the white house long before that....One more thing...What part of neurtal don't you understand????GO HILLARY

    April 30, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
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