FEC chairman defends Swift Boat ads

By WND Staff

The chairman of the Federal Elections Commission, a Clinton appointee, defended the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in the face of a complaint filed with the agency by Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

Kerry claims the television ads, in which Vietnam veterans question the senator’s veracity and slam him for his anti-war activities, have been illegally coordinated with the Bush-Cheney campaign. Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth is a 527 political group that says it is acting independently. The group’s two television ads have been released in conjunction with a book by two of its members, John O’Neill and Jerome Corsi, “Unfit for Command.”

Though Chairman Bradley Smith is a Republican, he was appointed to the FEC by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

“I think it’s great we live in a country where 260 average guys can go out and put their point of view out there before the public and influence a major presidential race,” Smith said in an interview with Bloomberg television. “I am not one who agrees it is illegitimate for citizens to take a stand on these kind of issues and only the politicians should be able to say what they want about the issues they want to talk about.”

Smith said it is unlikely the FEC will rule on Kerry’s complaint before the Nov. 2 presidential election.

In May, Bloomberg reported, Smith voted with the majority in a 4-2 vote to put off a decision on regulations that would make it more difficult for groups such as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to solicit unlimited donations.

The first ad quotes John Kerry’s Vietnam comrades calling him a liar, questioning his honor, accusing him of misrepresenting his actions for medals and attacking his character.

The second ad, released Friday, charges Kerry with betrayal for accusing Vietnam veterans of war crimes in 1971 Senate testimony.

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“Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry”