Swift Boat Vets, MoveOn.org to pay large settlement to FEC
Wednesday December 13, 2006
Updated: Since this article was first published, RAW STORY has received additional comments from parties to the settlements, which can be found below.
The Federal Election Commission has settled with three groups for a combined $630,000 over infractions of campaign finance law in the 2004 presidential election, RAW STORY has learned. The Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth is one of the groups.
In a press release today, the FEC announced that the Swift Boat Vets, the MoveOn.org Voter Fund, and the League of Conservation Voters 527 and 527II would pay a settlement in place of litigation which would "settle charges that they failed to register and file disclosure reports as federal political committees, and accepted contributions in violation of federal limits and source prohibitions."
According to the release, the Swift Boat Vets will pay the largest amount, settling for $299,500. Moveon.org's Voter Fund will pay approximately half that total, at $250,000. The groups also agreed to cease and desist from violating applicable laws and regulations and to file reports with the FEC for the relevant periods containing all of the information that must be disclosed.
The FEC outlined several specific allegations against the groups:
MoveOn.org Voter Fund produced television advertisements targeted to Presidential battleground states aimed at defeating George W. Bush, and its solicitations for funds clearly indicated that the funds received would be used to defeat President Bush in the 2004 general election. Swiftboat Veterans and POWs for Truth produced advertisements and sent out direct mail that attacked John Kerry and expressly advocated his defeat.
In comments supplied to RAW STORY, one of MoveOn.org's founder Wes Boyd remarked that the MoveOn.org Voter Fund ceased operations in 2004, and that "If this means that the FEC is really pushing big money out of elections, it's good for Democracy."
He added, "We welcome the FEC clamping down on pop-up 527s, set up just to influence elections and funded only by big money, since that would almost certainly put Swift Boat Veterans and similar groups out of business."
RAW STORY reported on Monday that the Swift Boat Vets and other groups would face major FEC fines. The fate of the remaining groups named in the FEC's complaints are not at this time known.
The full FEC press release can be accessed at their website.