Kerry Files Complaint With FEC Against Swift Boat Veterans

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - Claiming that TV ads from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) are untrue and illegally coordinated with the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, the Kerry campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission late Friday.

The complaint states that, "based on recent press reports and SBVT's own statements, there is overwhelming evidence that SBVT is coordinating its expenditures on advertising and other activities designed to influence the presidential election with the Bush-Cheney campaign."

"This Republican front group for Bush is out of credibility after being caught in lie after lie day after day," Kerry campaign Press Secretary David Wade told CNN.

The membership of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was the subject of conflicting reporting by newspapers on Friday.

While the New York Times ran a front-page article declaring "a web of connections to the Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures and President Bush's chief political aid, Karl Rove," the Washington Post stated: "There is no evidence the president's campaign has direct connections to the anti-Kerry veterans group."

The Post also pointed out that Kerry had struck back at the veterans -- without addressing some of the accusations. "Instead of rebutting each charge, Kerry blamed Bush for sanctioning such highly personal attacks." the Post said. "Many of the veterans affiliated with the anti-Kerry effort do not have obvious relationships with the Bush campaign, nor do some of its donors."

Members of the veterans' group have denied any coordination with the Republican campaign, as have members of the Bush-Cheney team.

"This is a frivolous complaint that even John Kerry's chief strategist has said they have no evidence to support," said Bush-Cheney '04 spokesman Steve Schmidt. "Real coordination is what John Kerry's campaign has been engaged in with the Media Fund, America Coming Together and

"The revolving door of personnel, coordinated strategies and overlapping fundraising between the Democrat 527s and the Kerry campaign is a flagrant disregard of the spirit and letter of the campaign finance reform law," Schmidt added.

Kerry's complaint came the same day the veterans' group released a new ad, which takes issue with some of the senator's comments while an anti-war activist. The ad is part of a $600,000 ad buy in three battleground states.

The new ad uses quotes from Kerry's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 about fellow soldiers. He is seen saying: "They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads," "randomly shot at civilians" and "razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Kahn."

Also on Friday, the Kerry campaign and a liberal watchdog group issued attacks on the sale of Unfit for Command, a best-selling book disputing John Kerry's Vietnam War record that was co-authored by John O'Neill, a member of the veterans' group.

See Related Stories:
Kerry Campaign, Liberal Group Attack Anti-Kerry Book (Aug. 20, 2004)
MoveOn Ads OK; Swift Boat Ads Not OK, Kerry Campaign Says (Aug. 20, 2004)

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