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. Mae

    I believe the 527's cannot attack a a candidate by name or endorse a candidate by name. Clearly there is a name in this ad. Therefore if I am correct it is clearly illegal. 527's can only use issue oriented ads.
    This ad is about the word "specifics".
    Specifics does not mean better. Hillary's specifics are not better.
    Obamas plans are clearly more progressive and well thought out.
    I specifically refer to DR's comment for specfics that are true on Hillary Clinton.

    April 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. merit


    Can not win without lawyering up.

    This is the way this senator has gotten ahead.

    He can not win on his own merit.

    April 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. dem gone ind NOT For Obama

    I think this is the biggest joke I have ever heard. gender has not been pulled out here as much as race has but this is the time it should. She isn't complaining that your getting all the air time in the news because you paid off people. she isn't complaining that her peers that she respects are proving to not respect her even though they write books of praise. I will not vote this year if it keeps going in this direction. What a joke this election year has turned out to be.

    April 30, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. Robert

    Wine, Wine, Wine,Wine...what's good for the goose is good for the gander...This is a prime example of the RACE card being pulled and point blank Obama is right behind it...this is what 4-8 years of Obama in the WhiteHouse would be. Hillary 08

    April 30, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. john

    Fools for Hillary....you deserve her lies, America does not.

    April 30, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Brandon

    jj – He didn't do it... Read the story again, its says he used it (it being the Pro-Clinton 527) to raise funds (via an email which I received as an Obama supporter)

    April 30, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. Brendan D, Niles, IL

    Listen, y'all, if you want to back Bush/McCain/Clinton policies and Bush/Rove/Clinton politics, go right ahead. Me, I'm going for something new.

    April 30, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Lee WV

    Don't you just wish that they would stick with what they are going to do and not what the other person is not going to do?

    April 30, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. Donna

    Obama is on shakey ground, and so will our country be (even more so) if he is elected. He is not bringing anyone together, but he is a catalyst for division as we are seeing throughout this primary campaign.

    April 30, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. BOB








    HILLARY OR MCCAIN 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 30, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. Suzanna Linthrom

    Obama clearly loves this country more than any of the other candidates. It's a shame that people are still using smear tactics against him. As a former Clinton supporter, I'm appalled at what she's become (or maybe what she always was). Her policies are short-sighted and pandering, and the argument that Obama has no plans is just pathetic at this point. Nearly every economist backs Obama's policies on war and the economy. Clearly, he can't be that bad. I think we know more about Obama than we do about McCain, but for some reason Obama is an easier target. Go figure.

    April 30, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. no more Hill-Billys

    hill billy is a lier and a thief. stop her before she steals all your money.

    vote sensibly.

    vote Obama 08, 12

    April 30, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Dal

    OBAMA Take the High Road. Let HILL take the LOW ROAD as always.

    April 30, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. raymond

    Again what a liar she is. Hillary the superdelegates should ship you out, before it's too late for the democrat party.

    April 30, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. Diing

    All the best experts in the nation agree that both Sens. Clinton and Obama plans are somewhat the same. What does it mean "his plan lacks specific when there is no much difference? These are same individuals who go behind doors and say "He is un electable while the guy has won most of everything" You can fool few at a time, but not all well inform citizens this time. This is a smear sort a like foxnews.

    April 30, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Debbie

    There she goes breaking the rules again. The woman is a crook.
    Senator Hillary Clinton has taken over $800,000 from lobbyists, more money than any other candidate — Republican or Democrat:
    Over $130,000 from energy lobbyists
    Over $130,000 from drug company lobbyists
    Over $125,000 from health care and insurance lobbyists.”
    Energy: $442,800
    Pharmaceuticals/health products: $450,450
    Hospitals, health services/HMOs and insurance companies: $552,050
    Health professionals: $114,755.

    April 30, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. SPQR753

    If Sen. Obama can't stand the heath, he should GET OFF the kitchen.

    Pure and simple.....

    April 30, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  18. grace

    I wonder how many people that are commenting on this blog are paid by the Clinton campaign to do, as has been reported. This 527 group are Hillary's rich supporters who can not give any more money to her campaign. I wonder what Hillary and Bill have promised them? It is well noted that she has called in all the favors people owe her to steal this election. This is purely a power play by the Clinton's to get back in the White House. They will do anything they can. They don't care about the Democratic Party. If the Clinton's that run it then noone will.

    April 30, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. Marty

    Obama is so whinny. ICK

    April 30, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. Lily

    Hillary makes me sick!

    April 30, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |


    WHAT A WIMP!!!!!


    GO HILLARY!!!!!!

    April 30, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. jr

    The reason she is trying to get the nomination so bad and eventually the presidency is because she knows that the good people of New York state have finally caught onto her phony act.

    If Obama knocks her out of this race then New Yorkers will do the same the next time she runs for the senate in that state. She's frightened to death that Bill might then want to move her back to Arkansas to smoke hams or raise chickens.

    April 30, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Toni

    Obama is not going to just sit there and let these 527s, that are financed by the "fat cats," swift-boat him. Shut them down. Moreover, the Gas tax idea by the twin $109-million candidates, McCain and Clinton, reminds me of the bejeweled, well-fed Marie Antoinette, who in response to the people's fundamental suffering and discontent said, "let them eat cake." Their "quick-fix, finger-in-the dike" solutions (i.e., mortgage moratorium) that excacerbate problems in the long-run and do not attack the root causes of problems will have us in worse shape in the long run. We must think about not just today's needs for change, but also our future, our children's future and the nation's standing in the world. We need REAL and fundamental change to make that happen, and OBAMA is the only choice we have.

    April 30, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. Peter in Canada

    Order of preference for Democrats:
    1. Obama
    2. Any idiot without the name "Clinton".
    3. Karl Rove.
    4. Hillary Clinton.

    April 30, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Alison, FL

    The phone number in this ad is a complete fraud also! A voicemail answers and it's a female voice saying "Barack Obama" like she isn't sure how to pronounce the name. Also, it says the voicemail is full. Such fraud should not be allowed. Americans need to rise above all of this and expect more!

    April 30, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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