“Surely we have not come to a point where the government and its agencies are used to protect presidential candidates from citizens’ speech, …destroying the purpose meaning and historical essence of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
AIP produced and aired a video ad to which Obama ’08 is objecting. The ad may be viewed here.
Obama ’08 responded with an ad, the letter to the DOJ and letters to television station managers asking that the AIP video not be aired – along with this suggestion that they:
“arrange a time ….to address…accept[ing] AIP as a paying customer for your advertising time.
The Obama campaign plans to punish the stations that air the ad financially, an Obama aide said, organizing his supporters to target the stations that air it and their advertisers.
Obama’s attorneys, through a letter to the DOJ, claim the following:
* AIP’s actions are “knowing and and willful violation.
* AIP is “expressly advocating the defeat of Barack Obama for the position of President of the United States.”
* AIP is illegally claiming tax-exempt status under IRS Section 501(c)(4).
* AIP solicits contributions as a political committee.
The same letter accused AIP of using a “magic word” in an AIP video ad for McCain. The magic word was “elect.”
Obama attorney, Robert Bauer, reminded the DOJ’s John Keeney of a previous “assurance” made to Fred Wertheimer, President of Democracy21:
“You assured Mr. Wertheimer that you “intend to vigorously pursue instances where individuals or organizations knowingly and intentionally violate the clear commands of this important statute.”
AIP responded with their own letter to the DOJ. Here are snippets, presented out-of-order, but not out-of-text:
Let me be very clear: AIP is not in violation of any federal statute, regulation or other applicable law…
Surely we have not come to a point where the government and its agencies are used to protect presidential candidates from citizens’ speech, essentially destroying the purpose meaning and historical essence of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
…Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign has now purchased paid television advertising directly related to the AIP advertising. Surely, the citizens of America are not in a situation in 2008 where a candidate for President of the United States is permitted to purchase paid advertising on a topic about which a citizens organization, following all applicable laws and regulations, is not allowed to sponsor advertising or if they do will find themselves subject to prosecution by your department.
AIP is organized as a qualified nonprofit corporation as that term is defined in the regulations of the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”)…. As such AIP enjoys the protections of the provisions of the Supreme Court’s decision more than twenty years ago…
AIP complies with each and every one of the provisions outlined by the Supreme Court…,as well as the regulations of the FEC…
Counsel for the Obama Campaign is undoubtedly fully knowledgeable of the reporting and compliance responsibilities of qualified nonprofit corporations, such as NARAL-Pro Choice America (“NARAL”), an organiztion that ironically, also claims protection as an entity described in Massachsetts Citizens for Life v. FEC….
The accusations in the Obama Letter against AIP are wholly inaccurate.
H/T to Wake up America