Barack Obama has sent out his attack lawyers to shut down some swift boat style ads. Obama’s general counsel, Bob Bauer, has sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking them to prosecute non-profit conservative group American Issues Project and Texas billionaire Harold Simmons for an ad they have run in some markets. The ad in question is a spot that links Obama to William Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground, a terrorist group that admits bombings of the US Capital building and the Pentagon. The ad is so controversial that even Fox News refused to air it, but it has run in several local markets in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Michigan. According to the letter sent by Bauer, “We reiterate our request that the Department of Justice fulfill its commitment to take prompt action to investigate and to prosecute the American issues Project, and we further request that the Department of Justice investigate and prosecute Howard Simmons for a knowing and willful violation of the individual aggregate contribution limits.” Bauer claims the group has collected all it’s money from one source, Simmons, and has spent it all for one purpose, to attack Obama, which is a violation of a nonprofit charter. The group has responded by saying, “Having failed in its attempts to get our legal, factual and fully-supported ad off the air, Barack Obama’s campaign now wants to put our donors in prison for exercising their right to free speech. These over-the-top bullying tactics are reminiscent of the kind of censorship one would see in a Stalinist dictatorship, with the only difference being that those guys generally had to wait until they were in power to throw people who disagreed with them into jail.” The Obama legal team has also encouraged supporters to write emails to any of the stations that are airing the ad. Bauer wrote a letter to station managers stating, “Your station is committed to operating in the public interest, an objective that cannot be satisfied by accepting for compensation material of such malicious falsity.” Simmons was also one of the main contributors to the famous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth who targeted John Kerry during the last presidential election.
Here is the American Issues Project ad that is causing so much trouble;
Update: Although John McCain has no ties to the group American Issues Project, Obama has responded to this ad by attacking and linking McCain to this group. So McCain spokesman Brian Rogers has responded to Obama’s response by saying, “The fact that Barack Obama chose to launch his political career at the home of an unrepentant terrorist raises more questions about Senator Obama’s judgment than any TV ad ever could. And the fact that he’s launching his own Convention by defending his long association with a man who says he didn’t bomb enough U.S. targets tells us more about Barack Obama than any of tonight’s speeches will.”
Here is Barack Obama’s response ad;