FBI probing figure linked to 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth; Accused of forging campaign audit
Michael Roston
Published: Wednesday February 6, 2008

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The Politico revealed on Wednesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had initiated a probe of a former treasurer of the National Republican Congressional Committee over the forging of a 2006 election audit. But it left out an important detail: the official in question served as a partner at a firm that was retained by the Swift Boat Veterans and Prioners of War for Truth in 2004 to perform legal compliance work.

A report in Wednesday's Politico from Patrick O'Connor and John Bresnahan reveals that the NRCC, which raises funds for the political campaigns of House Republicans, is auditing its own books due to what may be an FBI fraud investigation of Christopher J. Ward, who served as NRCC treasurer until Aug. 2007.

While the Politico report noted that Ward had been serving the NRCC as a private contractor since last year, it failed to note that he was also at one time a partner with the Fairfax, Virginia-based Political Compliance Services, Inc., a firm that specializes in filing reports with the Federal Election Commission on behalf of political candidates and campaigns.

PCS, Inc., according to earlier reports, was retained by the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election.

"Since the spring of 2004, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth paid Ward’s firm nearly $230,000 for services ranging from database management to website consulting, according to disbursements archived at PoliticalMoneyLine, a nonpartisan website that tracks fundraising," according to a July 2007 report in The Hill.

Reporter Alexander Bolton also noted that Ward did not directly handle the Swift Boat Vets' work which was carried out by another Political Compliance Services, Inc. partner.

The Swift Boat Vets played a powerful role in the 2004 presidential election. The group raised tens of millions of dollars, much of it from major Republican Party donors, and paid for commercials and mailings questioning Democratic Senator John Kerry's military service record, as well as his anti-war activities after his return from Vietnam.

The group was led by John O'Neill, who had been tasked by figures close to President Richard Nixon in 1971 to publicly challenge peace advocates like Kerry in public settings in the form of the group "Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace." The Swift Boat Vets relied on claims of Vietnam veterans who claimed they knew Kerry and that he was exaggerating his service record, many of which did not hold up to truth.

In Dec. 2006, the Federal Election Commission levied an almost $300,000 fine against the group for breaking federal election laws.

A call to PCS on Wednesday morning confirmed that Ward recently left the firm. RAW STORY was awaiting further comment from the company.