From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
The Obama camp held a conference call Wednesday morning to publicize a 64-page complaint it has filed with the Federal Election Commission against the American Leadership Project, which is running an anti-Obama ad in Indiana and which Obama's lawyer called Swift Boat wannabes.
Obama's Chief Counsel Bob Bauer said the complaint alleged the group was violating the law by failing to register with the FEC as a political committee in order to collect money from anyone and in whatever amount without having to disclose that information.
Bauer said this type of group had been made famous by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which targeted Sen. John Kerry in 2004, and said the FEC complaint aimed to curtail the actions of such groups, calling it the first shot in the continuing "Swift Boat saga."
He said ALP was violating the law in exactly the same way as the Swift Boaters' group and that he hoped the FEC would enforce the law "to send the ultimate message" to other organizations that this kind of action wouldn't be tolerated.
Bauer said any legal defense of the organization would require a great deal of creativity and said there was nothing in the record to show the group's purpose was not to raise money for pro-Clinton efforts. He suggested the group was leaving a "documentary trail" to show this was its purpose.
Bauer did not offer hard evidence that the group was coordinating with the Clinton campaign, saying an investigation would determine whether or to what extent that was taking place.
He said if the FEC was unable to investigate the allegations, the campaign hoped it would refer the matter to the Department of Justice, which also has jurisdiction.
The ALP, which the Obama camp calls a "so-called 527 political group led by Jason Kinney, the son of one of Hillary Clinton's Indiana state co-chairs" is airing an economy-focused ad that uses images of worried people with bills, houses with a "For Sale" sign in front and clippings from the Associated Press and Washington Post. The ad asks viewers to call the senator and tell him to "give Hoosiers a real plan to fix our economy."
Indiana State Rep. Matt Pierce was also on the call.