From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan and NBC's Mark Murray
DES MOINES , IA -- Today, on CBS, Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson called for Obama to shut down his Hopefund PAC, which, according to news accounts, has distributed a large chunk of contributions to politicians from early nominating states. "There's a lot that voters don't know about Barack Obama," he said. "And one thing they don't know -- we found out this week –- is that he has been using and operating a so-called leadership PAC, in apparent contravention of campaign finance laws, taking in money from lobbyists despite the fact he said he doesn't take money from lobbyists, taking in money from lobbyists and giving money out to candidates in New Hampshire and Iowa to support his presidential campaign."
In a press avail in Iowa today, Obama responded, "I think that folks from some of the other campaigns are reading the polls and starting to get stressed and issuing a whole range of outlandish accusations. Everything that we have done is in exact accordance with the law and unless they can show that it hasn't been. I suggest that they focus on trying to get their supporters to caucus in Iowa."
Obama also said this about the PAC: "I had not been planning to run for president... So by the time we announced that I was running, there was still money left over, which we used to contribute to candidates all across the country to help build a Democratic majority. That was the purpose of it... That is the purpose of all these leadership funds. That is the reason Clinton's leadership fund was set up -- the same reason why multiple candidates have these leadership funds. We just simply didn't have the ability to get all that money out. And I would point out that we have made contributions to many people who are endorsing Sen. Clinton instead of me. Again, I think what people need to focus on is that all these accusations that are starting to come out seem to correspond to shifts in political fortune."