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. Concerned Democrat

    Of course Obama will complain because he doesn't want anyone pointing out that he lacks experience and has no real stand on the issues. If it isn't a quick sound bite designed to appease/deceive the voters and gain him some media attention then by all means this is negative politics and the politics that the American public does not want in Washington. I think he needs to wake up and realize that what the American public want's in Washington is a serious leader who has the experience to hand the tought issues facing this country today. He can attack Clinton all he wants but she has a record and people know what she stands for. The same for McCain. All Obama can say he stands for is hope, yet he can't tell you how he will deliver on that.

    April 30, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Antoinette

    Obama just got another superdelegate

    Rep. Baron Hill of Indiana

    The 4th in 24 hours

    and his 9th

    April 30, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. P.Y

    To all Obama supporters writing here.
    THE DEMOCRATIC party will never unite to vote in November,especially not for Obama and it's not because of HIM or Reverend or something else that will come .
    It is because of YOU.

    April 30, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Joanne

    Way to go girl!!!!!!!!!!!!Tell Obama to stop his negative ads and lies such as running ads in Florida but, he didn't campaign RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!to pun intended.

    I have a heart and felt sorry for him yesterday but he did bring all this on himself.

    HILLARY GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Rise Rise Rise Rise

    April 30, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. jimmy vekmen


    April 30, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Jed in Texas

    You want to see $20.00 a barrel Gas?Tell them you will Nationalize the Oil Companies and see how fast they run for cover.

    April 30, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Omar

    My fellow citizens,
    Can someone please explain to me why we should put a liar and a cheater back in the White house to lead the American people? I think America deserves a new leader in Washington, and Senator Obama's leadership and sound judgment is what we need.

    April 30, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. scdem

    wow plain jane, racist much? Would you mind if I told Hillary to act like a woman and make me a sandwich or do my laundry?

    April 30, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. egos

    Obama and Wright are two narcisistic egomaniacs demanding center stage.

    Both flippant, cocky, arrogant, mocking and jeering spinners of words.

    Do we really want the presidency of the United States to be the stage for their battle of egos?

    April 30, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Frank, San Diego

    This report is kind of annoying. What's the basis of Obama's complaint? Anybody can file a complaint, but what is his actual argument? Does it have merit, or is it just whining? Come on CNN, give us some substance!

    April 30, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. Kim Johnson of Va.

    You Clinton Supporters are demonic. You say things that only the devil is prompting you to say it is certainly not from God. Thanks Obama for keeping yourself planted in the word of God. Let them attack no weapon formed against you shall prosper. You have plenty of people praying for you.

    Obama forever!

    April 30, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Shirley, Silicon Valley, CA

    Looks like there are TWO REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES Clinton and McCain!

    Hillary Clinton makes Republicans SMILE EAR-TO-EAR in her drag down and drag on race.

    April 30, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. freddycoyote

    The Clintonistas will do anything to win. Actually, they will do anything to hide the truth (that vast, right wing conspiracy again!) about their support for NAFTA and, most importantly, the war. The war is YOUR responsiblity, Mrs. Clinton. YOU gave Bush/Cheney the power and legitimacy to wage this illegal, destructive, incredibly expensive war. Answer that one...and don't tell us you didn't know: How many Democrats voted against BOTH resolutions? How come they weren't so easily misled? As far as I'm concerned, these ads just continue the only campaign the Clintonistas can win: tear down everything in sight and maybe, just maybe, she'll be left standing. And for what? The party, the nation will be ill-served. Shame on you, Mrs. Clinton! Take responsibility for your horrible mistakes and quietly leave the stage to one with ideals and hopes.

    April 30, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Matthew, Philadelphia, PA

    Obama, you want some cheese to go along with that WHINE?

    April 30, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Alice

    Fromt he comments on this board, it sounds like Hillary's supporters think an attempt to enforce the election laws is "cry baby whining" ?

    Vintage Clinton. Laws are meant to be broken (by them), and heaven forbid there should be a consequence.

    April 30, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. Bitter Woman in NYC

    GO OBAMA!!!!


    SHE WILL TRY ANYTHING. FABRICATIONS, EXAGGERATIONS, AND LIES. WHY CAN'T AMERICANS SEE THROUGH THIS? I guess that's what American's love. They feed off of lies and untruths. This is such a sad society. This is why Obama supporters are so loyal because he's a sincere, fair person. Hillary is a vulture!!

    Her campaigning is becoming so disgusting. Obama should make a commerical about the "Clinton Lies." How would she feel about that!

    April 30, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. lewc

    Topics of Interest:

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

    Peter Paul vs. Clintons-17 Million Dollar Law Suit

    These topics are current. So why aren't they being discussed on CNN?

    April 30, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. SGS

    Plain Jane–

    Be careful with your words. It reads as if you are threatening Mr. Obama. NOT SMART.

    April 30, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. unfair

    The unfairness of this primary has been against Clinton.

    Clinton should sue over the flawed caucus format that allowed Obama to stron arm his way to victories in a forum that is not democratic.

    Not to mention Fl. and Mi.

    Obama can not win on merit. He always brings out the high cost lawyers.

    April 30, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. Ana in L.A.

    What's he so afraid of.... the truth?! Please. He's bleeding credibility these days.

    April 30, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. Peter in Canada

    Hillary Clinton is unelectable.

    If Hillary is given the nomination by superdelegates, she will be seen as illegitimate and the Democratic party will lose election after election for a very long time!
    Obama will be the nominee because of this and Hillary supporters had better get used to it or else they should start their own party.

    April 30, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. SPQR753

    As proven repeatedly and the late, feeble denounciation of pastor Wright nonsense is a further proof thta Sen. Obama's has NO FIRE IN THE BELLY.

    The job of President of the United States REQUIRES someone with plenty of guts, stamina and FIRE IN THE BELLY.

    So far, Sen. Obama has failed to demonstrate possessing any of these 3 qualities!

    April 30, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. Shirley, Silicon Valley, CA

    A KNIFE FIGHTER'S plan is DOOMED TO FAIL just like HER health care plan in the 90's!

    April 30, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. tom

    alas, CNN wont print this but....
    I love the "democrates" that seem to have conveniently forgotten just how moveon.org came into being. They were founded to help Bubba fight his IMPEACHMENT for "not having sexual relations" remember?
    Obviously the Queen of Lies has no problems with an organization helping her, but as soon as they arent, well what was her advice to Bubba, "the hell with them".......
    They're being sued for fraud, he's taking money from Colombia with both hands, they're BOTH proven liars, and consumate Washington insiders. Oh, and she's got 2.3 BILLION in requested pork barrel spending already lined up to cushion her fall.....

    there is no one LESS "ready" to be President than Mrs. Clinton.

    April 30, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. last laugh

    Obama had no problem when these same groups were running ads and campaigning against Hillary. This is yet another example of how Obama doesn't walk the talk. I am so sick of how biased the news is towards Obama and even sicker about how Obama supporters are so blind.

    April 30, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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