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Independent Groups Dole Out Lumps of Coal

Clinton has the AFSCME endorsement--and now the union's fighting for her, against Obama. (Getty).

By Matthew Mosk
If you thought the Christmas spirit had overtaken the independent expenditure groups that have been paying for millions of dollars' worth of radio and television ads in Iowa, think again. Thus far the ads have been aimed at promoting candidates, not tearing them down.

But that's about to change.

The American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees yesterday filed papers with the Federal Election Commission reporting that it will spend $40,755 on a mailing that opposes Sen. Barack Obama. Most of the union's money in Iowa has been directed to promoting the candidacy of Sen. Hillary Clinton. Also yesterday, the group Democratic Courage, which is run by a supporter of Democrat John Edwards, reported it will spend about $20,000 on a television ad opposing Clinton. And this morning a political action committee affiliated with Republican Alan L. Keyes reported it will spend $39,000 on telephone and mailing efforts to oppose Clinton.

Other papers filed with the FEC over the weekend were for positive mailings that promote Democrat Bill Richardson. Whether they help Richardson's campaign, though, will depend on what the Democrats who receive the mailers think about the group that footed the $9,000 bill: the National Rifle Association.

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 24, 2007; 12:30 PM ET
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