Stephen Braun at the L.A. Times writes:
The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth raised more than $25 million for media buys. Some of the money was donated in multimillion-dollar installments from reliable Republican fundraisers, including Texas businessmen T. Boone Pickens Jr. and Bob J. Perry. But last December, the group was fined almost $300,000 by the Federal Election Commission for exceeding spending limits and acting in concert with GOP campaign efforts.
Here is the December 13, 2006 Conciliation Agreement that sets forth the FEC’s findings (.pdf). In it, the FEC explicitly found that the Swift Vets did not act in concert with GOP campaign efforts, and they were not fined for any unlawful coordination with the GOP, because they did not engage in any such activities. Rather, the group was fined for failing to properly register as a PAC and follow rules applicable to PACs:
The Federal Election Commission (“Commission”) found reason to believe that Swiftboat Veterans and POWs for Truth (“SwiftVets”) violated 2 U.S.C. sections 433, 434, 441a(f), and 441b(a) of the Federal Election Campaign Act, as amended, (“the Act”) by failing to register as a political committee with the Commission, by failing to report contributions and expenditures as a political committee to the Commission, by knowingly accepting individual contributions in excess of $5,000, and by knowingly accepting corporate and/or union contributions. Following an investigation, the Commission concluded that Swiftvets did not unlawfully coordinate its activities with, or make excessive in-kind contributions to, any federal candidate or political party committee.
(Emphasis added.) That seems pretty clear.
Time for a correction.
Off goes the letter to the Readers’ Rep.
P.S. Not that it’s particularly relevant to the error, but the document also states that
the Commission has never alleged that the Swiftvets acted in knowing defiance of the law, or with the conscious recognition that their actions were prohibited by law, made no findings or conclusions that there were any knowing and willful violations of the law in connection with this matter, and, thus, does not challenge SwiftVets’ assertion of its good faith reliance on its understanding of the law.
I thought it important to include that finding in the post, lest someone come to the wrong conclusion about the meaning of the FEC’s findings.