[Guest post by DRJ]
The Politico reports Barack Obama has requested the Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation of the American Issues Project, its officers and directors, and its anonymous donors, presumably including its financier Harold Simmons (who was also a donor to the Swift Boat Vets), for airing negative ads about him:
“Sen. Barack Obama has launched an all-out effort to block a Republican billionaire’s efforts to tie him to domestic and foreign terrorists in a wave of negative television ads.
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 — also is pressuring television networks and affiliates to reject the ads.
The ad focuses on Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, a Hyde Park acquaintance at whose home Obama attended a gathering early in his political career. Ayers is a complicated figure: professor and adviser to the mayor of Chicago despite not having repented his past as a domestic terrorist with the Weather Underground.
“How much do your really know about Barack Obama? What does he really believe?” asks the ad, which also uses imagery from the Al-Qaeda terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Why would Barack Obama be friends with someone who bombed the Capitol and is proud of it?” asks the ad’s narrator.”
CNN, Fox News, and at least one local channel have refused to air the ad after receiving pressure from the Obama campaign.
As the Instapundit says, they said there would be efforts to quash speech after George W. Bush was elected President. They were right.
UPDATE 8/26/2008: Counsel for the American Issues Project has issued a firm response to the Obama campaign’s request for an investigation. (H/T Rick Ballard.)