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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Obama '08 Urges DOJ to Quash McCain Ad - McCain Comes Back Strong

Cross-posted by Maggie at Maggie's Notebook

Professor William Ayers, former Weather Underground Member
Chicago Magazine

Barack Obama is asking TV stations and the DOJ to stop a recent ad campaign produced by the American Issues Project. A McCain spokesperson fired-back with some choice tough talk: " many of us are friends with unrepentant former terrorist bombers?"

Barack Obama's campaign is urging the U.S. Department of Justice to take legal action against a recent ad tying Obama to Weather Underground Organization (WUO) terrorist William Ayers - currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The American Issues Project video titled "Know Enough?" highlights Obama's friendship and business relationship with Ayers, along with the WUO's 1971 bombing of the U.S. Capitol and the 1972 bombing of The Pentagon. The Organization is also credited with the 1975 bombing of the U.S. State Department, then housed in the Harry S. Truman Building. A WUO bomb intended for an Army Non-Commissioned Officer's club, detonated prematurely and killed three Weatherman members.

In addition to urging action by the DOJ, the Obama campaign has produced their own ad rebutting the "Know Enough" video. The short video can be seen at Huffington Post.

Obama Ayers Ad Text:

Barack Obama: I’m Barack Obama and I approved this message.

ANNCR: With all our problems, why is John McCain talking about the sixties, trying to link Barack Obama to radical Bill Ayers?

McCain knows Obama denounced Ayers’ crimes, committed when Obama was just eight years old.

Let’s talk about standing up for America today.
John McCain wants to spend $10 Billion a month in Iraq, tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas, selling out American workers.

John McCain, just more of the same.
The letter from Obama's General Counsel, Robert Bauer, to John C. Kenney, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, DOJ Criminal Division was followed with letters to selected television station managers, written on Barack Obama letterhead, and signed by Bauer. Addressed to "Dear Station Manager," the letters accuse AIP of
"attempts to associate Barack Obama...with terrorism and acts of terror."
According to [follow the links to pdf files of the letters] Barack Obama is also threatening to "punish the stations" that run the AIP ads by organizing Obama activists to boycott the station's advertisers.

In the DOJ communication, Counsel Bauer states that a "magic word" is used in the McCain ad - the word "elect," which Bauer argues is purposed to "question the qualifications and merits" of Obama's candidacy, as well as asserting that AIP violates Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations:

...this "Project" is not following that Act [Federal Election Campaign Act]: it is flouting it. It has not registered as a political committee with the Federal Election Commission; it is not complying with limits on funds donated; and it is not reporting in the manner and on the schedule required of a political committee.

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary Magazine, reports the following reaction from a McCain spokesman:
Obama’s lame defense of the relationship–that he was eight when Ayers committed his crimes–is, of course, entirely irrelevant. His association with Ayers, as Hillary Clinton pointed out in the Philadelphia debate, ran deeper than he has tried to present it and it began and continued when both men were adults, long after Obama had become acquainted with Ayers’s past.

Soon enough everyone will learn that Ayers donated money to Obama, held a fundraiser to launch his first political race in his home, served on the board of the Woods Foundation with Obama, and headed the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (the records of which Stanley Kurtz will gain access to tomorrow), an organization which Obama supported and for which he may have approved grant money.
Legal actions have also been taken against the Obama campaign, the DNC and the Federal Election Board on the issue of Barack Obama's citizenship.

A quote from the McCain campaign sums it up for both sides: "We're off to the races on this."

Article end

My thanks to Susan at Wake up America.

[Update from Susan-] First, my pleasure Maggie, thanks for cross posting it and second-

AIP sends their own letter to the DOJ: (PDF found here)

Key points:

AIP is organized as a qualified nonprofit corporation as that term is defined in the regulations of the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) 11 C.F.R. §114.10. As such, AIP enjoys the protections of the provisions of the Supreme Court’s decision more than twenty years ago in FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Inc., 589 F. Supp. 646 (D. Mass. 1984), aff’d, 769 F.2d 13 (1st Cir. 1985), aff’d, 479 U.S. 238 (1986)…

AIP complies with each and every one of the provisions outlined by the Supreme Court in the MCFL case, as well as the regulations of the FEC promulgated subsequently…

Counsel for the Obama Campaign is undoubtedly fully knowledgeable of the reporting and compliance responsibilities of qualified nonprofit corporations, such as NARAL-Pro Choice America (“NARAL”), an organization that, ironically, also claims protection as an entity described in Massachusetts Citizens for Life v. FEC…

AIP functions in exactly the same manner as NARAL and any other qualified nonprofit corporation. NARAL has made substantial independent expenditures in opposition to Sen. McCain’s presidential candidacy during the 2008 election cycle and continuing through the present time. Yet, no objection to those expenditures has been raised by the Obama campaign…

Surely we have not come to a point where the government and its agencies are used to protect presidential candidates from citizens’ speech, essentially destroying the very purpose, meaning and historical essence of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Cleta Mitchell, Esq.
Counsel, American Issues Project, Inc.

H/T Malkin.

[End Update]