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The Politico has the story that Barack Obama has appealed to the Department of Justice in his efforts to fight a Republican billionare's ads that connect the Democratic candidate to foreign and domestic terrorists:
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 - are pressuring television networks and affiliates to reject the ads with some success: CNN and Fox News are not airing the attacks, and some local affiliates have also refused.
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.
The Huffington Post's Seth Colter Walls had previously reported on this ad's questionable legal status.
The Ayers ad mentions Obama's name, uses the word "elect" (in the form of a question), and mentions not a single legislative issue, and quite obviously takes a position on his character and fitness for office. Thus, if an incorporated 501c(4) produced the ad and paid for its broadcast with corporate funds, it should be filing FEC disclosure reports.
Obama has also rolled out a new ad that denounces the McCain attack. Click here to watch Obama's ad.
Simmons, who put out the ad, is an economic powerhouse for Republicans.
The spokesman for the American Issues Project, the independent group whose ad is the most negative of the cycle and links Obama to terrorism, says the group just filed a report naming its sole donor.
The donor, spokesman Christian Pinkston said, is Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, who made his first fortune in chain pharmacies and is now listed as the 73rd richest person in the world, with a net worth estimated by Forbes at $2.1 billion.
Simmons, a major Republican donor, gave maximum $2,300 contributions to Senator John McCain last year, as well as to former Governor Mitt Romney and to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.