Pro-Obama Group Threatens Republican Donors

Friday, 08 Aug 2008 11:08 AM

By Jim Meyers

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A new left-wing organization that wants to help elect Barack Obama president is sending letters to nearly 10,000 major donors who contribute to Republican causes, threatening them with potential legal problems if they finance conservative groups.

The nonprofit organization, Accountable America, is even offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the criminal conviction or fines of at least $10,000 for violations of campaign finance laws or other statutes by a conservative group, according to The New York Times.

Accountable America is led by Tom Matzzie, former Washington director of the liberal activist group MoveOn.org, and its research director is Judd Legum, who served that role in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Matzzie called the organization’s effort “going for the jugular.” He told The Times, "We want to stop the Swift Boating before it gets off the ground.”

The warning letter being sent to potential donors “is intended as a first step, alerting donors who might be considering giving to right-wing groups to a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives,” The Times reports.

If a conservative group do run ads attacking Obama, Matzzie says his group plans to run ads countering it exposing the donors behind the anti-Obama message.

Matzzie’s group has so far raised only $200,000, but he said he hopes to raise more than $500,000 by next week and $2 million overall.

Republican strategist Chris LaCivita doubts the group will succeed in scaring off donors, saying “they’re not going to be intimidated by some pipsqueak on the kooky left.”

Matzzie previously headed the Campaign to Defend America, which has run ads against Republican presidential candidate John McCain in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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