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Obama asks Justice probe of 'Issues' ads

Obama asks Justice probe of 'Issues' ads
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) introduces Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) as his Vice-Presidential running mate during a rally at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, IL., on August 23, 2008. (UPI Photo/Darrell Hoemann) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate an ad campaign against him, Politico reported.

The Obama campaign wants federal prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into the American Issues Project, which a Texas Republican is using to air TV ads intended to link the Illinois senator to terrorists, Politico said Monday.

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The ads, financed by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, have been aired in the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Michigan. The Obama campaign, with help from tens of thousands of supporters, has lobbied TV networks and affiliates to refrain from airing the ads, and CNN and Fox News Channel have said they will not air them, the report said.

An attorney for the Obama camp, in a letter to the Justice Department obtained by Politico, called the ad campaign "a knowing and willful attempt to violate the strictures of federal election law" because it advocates the defeat of a particular candidate. The letter says the ad should be subject to contribution limits provided for under federal campaign law.

The American Issues Project said through a spokesman the complaint "is a sad ploy to circumvent the First Amendment by a campaign who has no arguments with the merits of our ad."

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