Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Last week, the Kerry campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission arguing that the Bush campaign illegally coordinated with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in developing their TV ads attacking John Kerry’s Vietnam record. To help them in their efforts, the New York Times devoted a Page 1 story revealing the “the web of connections” between the swift boat donors and the Bush campaign.

We reminded our readers yesterday that the swift boat veterans’ initial stake of $500,000, which the New York Times dissected brilliantly, was mere peanuts compared to the $60 million worth of “independent” TV ads attacking President Bush. Today we would like to add to the Times story and show similar “connections” between pro-Kerry 527 organizations, named for the IRS section that governs them, and the Kerry campaign.

As Newsmax.com reported yesterday, MoveOn.org, one of the leading anti-Bush “independent” organizations, has a letter up on its Web site from Mr. Kerry dated June 17, 2003, commending the organization for its efforts in helping to stop the “Bush right-wing juggernaut.” Also, on July 22, MoveOn.org’s founder and campaign director, Eli Pariser, sent an e-mail to its members explaining how they can host their own pro-Kerry party and included links to JohnKerry.com, the official campaign Web site. Attached in the e-mail was a letter from Mary Beth Cahill, Mr. Kerry’s campaign manager, though the MoveOn.org e-mail had a disclaimer at the bottom that said, “Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.”

As with money, so have many Democratic 527 organizations far surpassed the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in terms of former campaign or party employees in their ranks and vice versa. In April, the Kerry campaign hired MoveOn.org’s director of special projects, Zack Exley, to run the campaign’s online communications. Though the Bush campaign recently fired Ken Cordier for his involvement with the swift boat veterans, the Kerry campaign still employs Mr. Exley.

As we noted yesterday, Jim Jordan, Mr. Kerry’s former campaign manager, is the chief spokesman for both the Media Fund and American Coming Together (ACT), two pro-Kerry 527s that have a combined total receipt of $54.1 million. Moreover, the Media Fund is run by Harold Ickes, former Clinton deputy chief of staff, who also sits on the Democratic National Committee’s executive board and was in attendance at the Democratic Convention last month. ACT’s CEO, Steve Rosenthal, spent three years in the Clinton administration as an associate deputy secretary of the Department of Labor and before that was deputy political director for the DNC. And, finally, Sam Kaplan, an honorary co-chairman of the Minnesota branch of the Kerry-Edwards campaign, is a fund-raiser for ACT.

What does any of this prove? Just this: If the Kerry campaign would like to make an issue of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’s “connections” to the Bush campaign, perhaps they should reconsider their own ranks.

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