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. sky

    We already know that Clinton, and anyone in any way connected to Clinton will do anything, bend any rules, overlook any regulations in order to get her what she wants. These guys are just another example of her doing whatever she has to do...including not respecting laws and regulations in order to further herself. That is why the Democratic party is divided right now....the people who believe that anything is fair in love and war....the people who believe that end justifies means....support Clinton....and here they are again....breaking, bending and undermining.....voters need to really look at the example she is setting before them and wake up.

    April 30, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. checkpoint


    April 30, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Barbara GA

    The American people are starting to see what Hillary and her groups are all about! It's Ok for her to LIE I mean mis spoke ! RIGHT!! This kind of stuff is tearing the party apart. Paving the way for McCAIN because at this point if she wins I will vote for McCain. I can see attacking the Republican but your own party. PLEASE STICK TO THE ISSUE AND NOT EACH OTHER.!!!

    April 30, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. 20 years

    Where is Obama's good judgement if he was unable to discern Wright's character, see his political views, know his agenda after a close relationship of 20 years?

    It took Americans and the media (usually a little blind) just 5 days at the most to see Wright for the reckless Bombastic egomaniac that he is.

    If Obama missed it- not good.

    If he saw it- even less good, because that means he is now guilty of political posturing as charged.

    April 30, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. Ken in Michigan

    Here's and ad to run:

    Do we want a President who can't tell the difference between Sniper fire and flowers?

    Do we want a President controlling a nation's economy who can't even finance a campaign?

    Do we need a President keeping tabs on the World when she can't even keep tabs on her husband?

    Vote Tuesday for Change, Vote for a New Way of doing things in Washinton.............................

    April 30, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. xtina, chicago IL

    plain jane summed it up, Obama is acting like a lawyer. Not good.

    April 30, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |

    What is ALL these major supporters of Hillary lawbreakers and CROOKS & LOW DOWNERS?

    They are not to be advocating for any particular party? Then WHY are they?

    You want to talk about birds of a feather flocking together!

    Hillary don't bother with no one that is not willing to be just as low down as she is!

    April 30, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. mirrors

    I see Obama being cocky, arrogant,flippant, jeering, mocking and egotistical... just like Wright.

    They are more similar than we areled to believe.

    How could Obama miss the REAL Wright over twenty years of close relating?

    Maybe Obama IS denouncing Wright just for political expediency.

    April 30, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. checkthisout

    it has taken OBAMA over 20 years to realise he had made a bad judgement call regarding JEREMIAH WRIGHT.

    Only a couple of weeks ago he defended WRIGHT by saying he was like an UNCLE to him.

    WOW !!!!

    He has the AUDACITY to now want me to believe that JEREMIAH is not the SAME JEREMIAH of 20 years ago.

    I an not a Fool !!!!

    What else will he do or say just to get elected ???????

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

    Obama, you're done! Veering away from your recent Wright mess, he is a time bomb, he will come to haunt you again! Do you think he's done, he said, he will come to get you! You're in a big mess with the people around you, wait til Rezco & Bill Ayers speak up!

    In HILLARY, we trust!

    April 30, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. Linda, KY

    What is that about all talk and no action? When Obama sees something wrong, he doesn't make speeches complaining and criticizing. He does something.

    April 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Delaware

    Obama 08. Superdelegates you need to remember that we the people are the one who will elect the next president. Superdalegate better come the way the popular votes are going are democrats will lose the coming election. Superdelagates can support Hillary and all her lies but we the people will have the last say in the polls.

    April 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. hypocrisy

    Question for Obama supporters:

    If Rev Wright can say what he says- and it is freedom of speech (and I do agree with that)...even if it is hateful and divisive...

    Then why was it racism and NOT freedom of speech when Clinton and Ferraro made their truthful and not hateful observations?

    Obama and his supporters cling to hypocrisy.

    THAT is what bothers me, and will lose Obama my vote.

    April 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. candical

    CNN take off the gloves on the Clintons. Be journalists not gossipers. If you need drama then stop being afraid of Clintos and review the famous 90s she wants to go back to.

    April 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. Jerry

    Now that Rev. Wright is old news can't we get back
    to talking about Monica again?


    April 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Independent

    Why can the Clinton supporters JUST WAKE UP???? I am all for democracy and all BUT it's toooooooo late in the game for all theis divisive tactics.......the math is on Obama's side....the pledged delegate....the popular vote....& soon the superdelegate count....why didn't she work this hard prior to Super Tuesday when it really counted and would've meant something for her to win???? The superdelegates WONT overturn the people's vote....all she is doing now is hurting Obama's chances to win in the general election....WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!

    April 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. kitee

    Hillaryclitin is so annoying. It was because of her and Mccain's vote that thousands of soldiers DIED in the Iraq, thousands of innocent people DIED who had nothing to do with any terrorist attacks, thousands of women widowed and thousands of parents were left hopeless and devasted. If I had made such a wrong choice I'd have traumatic nightmares forever, and here we have Hillary saying"oops I'd made the wrong decision, my bad" how can you people forget that. Try to relate to those who lost thier loved ones.
    How can YOU STILL WANT to VOTE FOR SOMEONE LIKE THAT. She just wants pleasure of being in power and making decisions that would cost so many lives. Only recently she said " i woud obliterate iran" this shows how deeply she regrets the last time she made decision like that. She does not care!!!!

    April 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |


    April 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Veterans Against McCain

    How is she going to pay for these ads...looks like her campaign will go broke again soon. Interesting to see the April numbers come in .

    April 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. Proud American

    Poor Poor Obama, keep going and you will see McCain in office. He's at least a man and Hillary is a Woman and now we all see a Little Spoiled Baby.... Which this country Does Not need another. Obama sound more and more like Bush doesn't he????? Don't pick on me I will show you typical people I will have my bully's get you. He is getting to be a joke at Americans expense.

    April 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Maggie

    As I read this and many other blogs regarding Obama and Clinton, all I see is hate....This man is supposed to be bring us closer. Closer to what? Another civil war?

    April 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. Casy

    To- Obatala for obama

    While you feel the need to bring up Paul versus Clinton..PLEASE make sure you mention Larry Sinclair versus Obama!!

    April 30, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. ?merit

    Win at any cost Obama is lawyerin up once again.

    The slickest politician of them all.

    Try running on your own merits.

    April 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. Canadian observer

    I'd like to finally see some CNN coverage of the Paul vs. Clinton trial, the Clinton's pastor being involved with child molesting, some investigative reporting of where the Clinton Library donor money is coming from, etc.
    Is CNN afraid of the Clintons ?

    April 30, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Priscilla for Obama

    Don't worry about it Obama. You don't have to roll in dirt to win!

    America for Obama – Yes We Can!!!

    April 30, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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