Senate Majority Project

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Swift Boat Veterans for Republicans

It took more than a year, but the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth finally admitted it. They were an organization founded and designed to defeat fellow Vietnam combat veteran Senator John Kerry and reelect George Bush.

In an e-mail to subscribers SBVT founder John O’Neill wrote:
“As you know, I helped start the 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' during the 2004 election for one reason...;I knew from three decades of personal experience that John Kerry was a liar and a fraud who had betrayed the men he served with. And there was no way I was going sit idly by as John Kerry tried to become our "Commander-in-Chief". … But just like I knew I had to act when John Kerry was running for President, now we all must act to stop Bernie Sanders.”
Surprise! … John O’Neill wanted to elect George Bush.

It has been well-documented that O’Neill was a committed and long-time partisan with a personal grudge against Kerry. O’Neill and his allies made repeated allegations that were treated as credible by the mains€tream news media, despite the fact that they failed to provide a single scrap of documentary evidence for their claims. The United States Navy investigated and determined that there was no basis for their charges. Even after Kerry released his entire military record during the campaign, and re-released after the campaign, they stuck to their warped version of reality.

Incredibly, both the Bush campaign and O’Neill denied that they were a front for the president’s election campaign. O’Neill hired Republican consultants with ties to Bush and Rove, funded their organization with huge contributions from long-time Bush allies and leading Republican donors and even shared lawyers with the Bush campaign. However, O’Neill steadfastly insisted that he merely wanted to “get the truth out.” Like so much else about their organization, it was a lie, and now they’ve admitted it. In O’Neill’s own words, it was founded for “one reason” to stop John Kerry from becoming Commander in Chief.

“Duh!” should be the initial reaction. However, this has serious potential legal problems for O’Neill and company:

This means that the entire operation was illegal from the start, and that they raised and spent over $20 million illegally in support of George W. Bush. Since 1974, any group whose “major purpose” is to influence federal elections, and spends $1,000 or more to do so, must register with the FEC as a political committee and be subject to the contribution limits, source prohibitions and reporting requirements that apply to all political committees.

O'Neill still has complaints pending before the FEC, so maybe his frank admission will lead to a serious look at this group and exactly how involved the Bush White House and Republican party were in setting up, supporting and running this Bush front group.