What the hell?
Sen. Barack Obama has launched an all-out effort to block a Republican billionaire’s efforts to tie him to domestic and foreign terrorists in a wave of negative television ads.
Obama’s campaign has written the Department of Justice demanding a criminal investigation of the “American Issues Project” the vehicle through which Dallas investor Harold Simmons is financing the advertisements. The Obama campaign — and tens of thousands of supporters — also is pressuring television networks and affiliates to reject the ads. The effort has met with some success: CNN and Fox News are not airing the attacks.
Obama has also launched his own response ad, directly addressing Simmons’ attempt to link him to domestic terror.
The project is “a knowing and willful attempt to violate the strictures of federal election law” Obama general counsel Bob Bauer wrote to Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Keeney last week in a letter provided to Politico. Bauer argued that by advocating Obama’s defeat, the ad should be subject to the contribution limits of federal campaign law, not the anything-goes regime of issue advocacy.
Ok, legal beagles familiar with election laws, does Obama have a case here, or is this nothing more than a blatant attempt by the Obama campaign at trying to silence the free speech rights of a group that opposes his candidacy?