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. Illinois for Hillary

    Thanks Letha from SD. I have posted that a dozen times but CNN will not show my post.

    April 30, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Neutral

    chris April 30th, 2008 12:55 pm ET

    HRC's (current) pastor—-Molestation of 7 year old
    HRC's (current) pastor—-Molestation of 7 year old
    HRC's (current) pastor—-Molestation of 7 year old
    HRC's (current) pastor—-Molestation of 7 year old

    You're dense huh? The pastor that was convicted for child molestation was from a town named CLINTON, NEW YORK! Not a pastor of Hillary. I thought Obambi supporters are educated....hmmmmmmm....NOT!

    April 30, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Illinois for Hillary

    It was the town of CLINTON NOT HILLARY CLINTON

    April 30, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Sharon

    Chris.....can you even READ? look up your claims......you just made yourself a fool......

    April 30, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. Snowcat

    Thank God. Finally someone is getting the truth out about Obama. Oh no I forgot ..it is ok for Obama's group to get surrogates but tha's right why it is just horrible when Hillary supportoers do it...End the drama-stop Obama

    April 30, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Debbie

    Hillary is just like the witch on the Wizard of Oz. God is watching her and she will not prevail.

    April 30, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Alice

    I can't wait until Reverend Wright is back on TV to get even with Obama for dissing him. Who knows what revelations he'll have about Obama if he gets REALLY mad. He's known Obama for 20 years, and I'm sure he knows about any skeletons in Barack's closet – I can't WAIT to hear all about them!

    April 30, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. 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 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. Kathleen

    Hey, out there! Obama deciples! Quit your crying! You're in the Big Leagues now. If you can't stand to get a little dirty, don't suit up.

    April 30, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. Geri

    Moveon.org can put out horrible ads against other candidates for Obama but no one else is supposed to do it. He whines and cries and carries on. No one really cares what color he is, although I"d like him to admit that he is biracial in his speeches. That is a direct injustice to his white family. I just want the Obama supporters to stop being so nasty. The terrible things they say about Clinton & McCain are something he should deal with.

    April 30, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. Nick

    Do people honestly believe Hillary has ANY chance of getting the nomination? –this is a completely serious question. She can't catch up in pledged delegates no matter what so the only way would be if the superdelegates rule over the people's vote. Let me tell you something.. superdelegates are not idiots! They wont turn over the will of the voters, it would completely divide the party and you could kiss all the african american and young votes and new voters goodbye. Clintonites NEED to come to grips with this.

    April 30, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. Joe

    Wow. Just another example of folks in the Clinton camp so desperate to win an election that is un-winnable at this point that they'll play by whatever rules are necessary. Didn't we as Democrats decide that "swift-boating" was deplorable? Oh, but I guess those rules went out the window the same as the ones that the Clinton campaign agreed to regarding the fact that the delegates in FL and MI would not count. I'm sorry, but being this desperate is not pretty ... it's petty.

    April 30, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. Neutral



    April 30, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Susie

    Why you little cry baby if you think this is bad–wait for the right-wing 527s in October.

    April 30, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Neutral

    A simple maggot has MORE credibility than Obama, OBAMA IS A HABITUAL LIAR! He uses his SPIRITUAL MENTOR REVEREND WRIGHT TO CLIMB THE POLITICAL LADDER. Now, he threw WRIGHT under the BUS! We may not agree everything Reverend Wright said, but I respect his right to FREE SPEECH, he was HONEST with his views and STAND by it; Obama is a flipflopper!

    BLOWBACK IS A BIATCH OMBAMBI! What you sow is what you reap!

    April 30, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. Real Change

    "If one candidate's trying to scare you and the other one's trying to get you to think, if one candidate's appealing to your fears and the other one's appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope."

    Bill Clinton in 2004

    April 30, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Tricia

    Clinton endorses political corruption. As she says she knows how Washington works and is an old hand. We need change. I just hope there are enough intelligent, honest people out there to get Obama the nomination.

    April 30, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. cnn be fair!!!

    report on the peter paul v. clinton lawsuit, and how hillary will be testifying after november 5th, that means a possible president elect will have to take the stand and testify to save her husband in a fraud case? if this was obama, CNN would run 24 hour coverage like they did with rev wright!!

    April 30, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. gin

    As I read these comments it makes me realize how disrespectful many of you are. We need to act like intelligent adults and stand behind whoever receives the nomination. Please step back for a moment and read your words and realize how you sound. Nothing ever good results with such attitudes. Are any of you parents and if so do you teach your children to behave this way?

    April 30, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. kathy in ohio

    Audrey in North Carolina

    you dont think obama flat out lied ........................
    the whole story with his pastor is a lie he has changed his story so many times on this
    Rezko is going to be the next thing he is lieing about this too

    April 30, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Kay-Arizona

    I think there was an excellent suggestion submitted to CNN.

    Instead of letting people "let it all hang out" and say anything that comes out of their mouths as fact, why don't you check the charges being made and quote your research. Isn't that what News agencies do? Check sources and deal with facts?

    I've seen so much junk spewed in these blogs as facts, they are sometimes like reading a fairy tale.

    April 30, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. James

    2.2 Billion in Earmarks.

    Where are her 2007 taxes?

    Where is the Clinton Foundation donor list?

    Will she pay $800000 back to the Colombians for Bill's free trade lobbying?

    April 30, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. Trev

    Break out the cheese to go with the Obama camp whine. 527s are not illegal. If Obama wanted to keep things positive, he should not have:

    1. Said Hillary supporters will automatically back him in the general
    2. Not said that faith is tied to bitterness
    3. Not attacked Hillary's universal healthcare plan.

    April 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Jessica

    Clinton would do anything to win. No matter how unethical. Right now she's got someone robo-calling black people in NC telling them FALSE information about poll closing times.

    April 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. Sante

    Fox, I still do not know who is that guy Obama and why he deserves sooo much attention?
    What he has done sooo out standing for the country? Controversies one after others!
    Is that the best that we can have out of 300 000 000?

    And one more question: Why Hillary Clinton is not good enough for us? Oh, yaaa, she is not that cool and entertaining!!!
    We do not need serious and heard working President and beside she is a woman! That is not cool at all!!

    Love you Hillary!

    April 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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