April 30th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
15 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. jj

    he can do it but she can't??? If it the truth, what's his problem.

    April 30, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  2. Obatala for obama

    we know the billary's will do anythijng to steal money and the nomination,
    cnn please report on the civil suit going on in CA agains the billarys both of them

    paul v clinton

    anyone care to report?

    April 30, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. Brian Ross, RI

    Why do we have to keep scrolling down past older news to get to newer news?

    April 30, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. Jenna, NY

    I say ban all the 527's.

    This is loop hole on the FEC that allows 3rd party to put false ads.

    April 30, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. Bill

    Obama what a cry baby. It is okay for Obama to use Moveon.org as Moveon is nothing but a radical left movement but Obama sure knowns how to cry if the table is turned.

    Obama the fraud.

    April 30, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. karen

    She will stoop to anything, even border line illegal activities JUST to be president. I have never seen a women sooooo consumed with power!!

    April 30, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Oh! The Irony

    All candidates at times have attacked. I'm just glad that Obama has kept it at a minimum and is conducting himself as a gentleman. I can say this much...if I had to deal with what he's dealing with I would have lashed out. I resepct his strength and desire to stay on the issues that matter to the American people.

    April 30, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Jay

    awww. poor Obama. What about the Group in Nevada that ran ads in Spanish lying about Hillary? Remember that?? Maybe not, you did not hear or remember the Hate that Wright was preaching over 20 years so why would you remember this. .

    April 30, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. jo

    Oh quite whining. The DNC is running horrible adds against McCain and I dont see you having much to say about those type of neg adds. Furthermore you are complaining about an organization that has nothing to do with clinton. they just dont like you! She has no control over a 527 so I hope people dont expect her to denounce it. Also I think it may be that the adds paint the facts in poor light but they are still facts. Obama face it you have more baggage then Clinton that matters this election cycle and that is hard to accomplish!

    April 30, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. ike

    Sissy if you can not take the heat now what are you gonna do durring the general election. Stop being a little girl, man up and debate.

    April 30, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. Indepenent Voter

    Clinton is out of ideas. She has reinvented herself, her message..
    solutions...etc. If you don't have anything positive to give then do the next thing. Attack with negative ads. Too bad she a has srewed up
    what was supposed to be a given. Starting out as the clear front-runner and this was supposed to be a walk in the park. I guess they
    forgot to tell Obama about the plan. Didn't he know it was her turn?
    Mismanaged campaign, lies and deceit. Bye-bye losers.....Obama
    will win the nomination and Clinton can pack her baggage laiden
    circus and go back to New York,,or PA..or AR..or wherever she claims
    to be from this week!

    April 30, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. mahya

    open your eyes OBAMA, hillary will not stop until she steals the nomination from you.

    April 30, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  13. Sam

    And the Paul vs. Clinton case violates campaign laws. Another case of the Clinton controversy and lies.

    April 30, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. Glenn

    Obama only needs 297 delegates! Tick Tock Tick Tock! Hillary is running out of time, money and delegates. So sad!

    April 30, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. PA for Obama

    Clinton, her family, her supporters and her campaign make me sick and ashamed to call myself an American. So nice to know that we may have a Democrat for president who will carry out a Bush 3rd term in office.

    How do these people sleep at night?

    April 30, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  16. Yes for Obama

    Why allow someone to go against the rules and lie and deceive? I think Obama has a right to file this complaint. Its like Nellie Olson all the time with Hillary. The rich brat who gets her way and fools everyone into doing terrible things. YOu do what is right Obama!!

    April 30, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. Unshrub

    Why are we promoting those who make bad decisions? Almost everyone agrees the Iraqi war was a bad decision; so now people want to promote McCain or Hillary so they can fix the problem. Remember, they are the reason we are in this war, they are part of the problem. I say kick them out and vote for the only person whom had the foresight not to go into Iraq in the first place. WAKE UP PEOPLE, BEFORE IT”S TOO LATE!

    April 30, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  18. Rob

    Obambi, you're such a poor little boy. lets find someone to help get you back your candy... please stop crying...

    April 30, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  19. ju IN

    Way to go Obama. Hillary is very negative. she will do anything to steal this normation. I will never vote for Hillary. Is time the party to tell Hillary she needs to stop this attack.

    April 30, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Blue


    Obama uses the the same campaign group previously and sees nothing wrong with his NEGATIVE ad, but now wants to file a complaint against the Clinton supporters for using the same campaign group for their upcoming ad.

    Cry me a river!

    April 30, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. Glenn

    "The party's over….Good night lady!" Obama is only 297 deleagates away from nomination!

    April 30, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. 28 year old White MAN in FLORIDA

    all i have to say is PETER paul vs. CLINOTN

    and HER pastor being convicted of child molestation

    April 30, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  23. Obama

    A government watchdog group that focuses on alleged Republican shenanigans is going after a 527 group for targeting Sen. John Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential candidate.

    This happened in 2004.

    April 30, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. Nick from Houston

    I read these comments and think to myself...are these people really Democrats? If so, you people are in for a rude awakening come November.

    Broken Democrat party leads to McCain as president and 4 more years of Republican rule.

    You ALL, ALL OF YOU, make me sick.

    April 30, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. Young African American Male for Hillary

    Obama is a wolf in sheep clothing. What's good for the goose is just as good for the gander. Obama uses Moveon.org and blogs like daily Kos to his advantage and when Clinton does the same Obama screams foul. WOW. He is such a cry baby.

    April 30, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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