Sunday, December 23, 2007

Democratic Candidates squabble over the role of a 527 in Iowa campaign

An article in today's LA Times headlines that "Obama slams Edwards over nonprofits' use: The ex-N.C. senator, who had earlier decried their spending, then urges a '527' group to cancel its ads for him in Iowa."  Obama is charging that John Edwards, a rival for the Democratic nomination for president, committed campaign hypocrisy by deriding political organizations called 527s at the same time he allegedly will benefit from their spending. (The Federal Election Commission explains that "Entities organized under section 527 of the tax code are considered "political organizations," defined generally as a party, committee or association that is organized and operated primarily for the purpose of influencing the selection, nomination or appointment of any individual to any federal, state or local public office, or office in a political organization.")  In Iowa, a group called "The Alliance for a New America," seemingly funded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), appears poised to spend $750,000 on television ads in support of Edward's campaign.  Edwards subsequently called on the group "not to run the ads," and stated that "I would prefer if all the 527s, not just this one, that all 527s stay out of Iowa."

According to web-blog Campaign Diaries, Obama's attack on 527 support for Edwards may be related to the fact that no 527 has jumped in on Obama's behalf. This fact, says the blog,

"has led Obama to boast that he is pure and unhelped by opaque 527 money. But this is a very weak argument from Barack: The main 527s that are helping Hillary and Edwards are not shady organizations (like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were) -- they are some of the most important unions and core constituencies of the Democratic Party. Hillary and Edwards receiving so much help because they were endorsed by big unions like the AFSCME, AFT, and SEIU. You bet that Obama would have loved to receive any of their endorsement and the 527 help that would have gone with it. Obama failed to clinch endorsements from big Iowa players, and he is thus left out of the independent expenditure ground game. And in a contest in which everything is based on turnout, that could very well cost Obama a few points."


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