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August 10, 2004
Silencing The Swifties

Apparently unable to respond substantively to the charges outlines by the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth, the Left has instead decided to run with the Kerry/Edwards strategy of suing them into silence. The AP reports that three so-called "watchdog" organizations have filed a complaint with the FEC, attempting to get an injunction against any further ad buys:

Three campaign finance watchdog groups filed a complaint Tuesday accusing a group of Vietnam veterans of violating the campaign finance law by airing an ad that challenges Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's military record.

Democracy 21, the Center for Responsive Politics and the Campaign Legal Center argue that the ad by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth violates a federal ban on the use of unlimited donations, often referred to as "soft money," to influence federal elections.

In the ad, the group accuses Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, of lying about his war record and betraying fellow veterans by later protesting the conflict.

They are being deliberately disingenuous and obstructionist. The "soft money" regulation applied to money spent on behalf of a candidate, not on individual advocacy -- and it's clear in their ad that the Swiftvets are focused on John Kerry's representation of his service in Viet Nam. They aren't sponsoring a candidate at all -- but the liberal activist groups want the feds to shut them down while supporting groups that have expressly made getting rid of George Bush their goal, like MoveOn.

Is this how low the Kerry campaign and its supporters are willing to go? They think nothing of suppressing the rights to free speech for those who fought for them, all the while besmirching their reputations and avoiding the issues they raise. Maybe the 200+ Swiftvets are wrong and Kerry is right, but if so, Kerry's supporters have a funny way of going about proving it.

Silencing the veterans may not be entirely equivalent of attempting to squelch the votes of servicemen and servicewomen overseas during the last election, but it's in the same ballpark, and demonstrates an unfortunate predilection towards the wholesale discounting of the veterans' input into our political process.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 10, 2004 12:15 PM

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