Friday, August 8

10,000 donors warned not to attempt "swift boat" attacks

There is no question that scurrilous attacks by the infamous 527 group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth helped sink Senator John Kerry’s presidential bid in 2004. However, this year a new group is warning conservative donors that any attempt to use the same "Swift Boat" tactics will be meet with an aggressive response.

Led by Tom Matzzie (pictured here), the group Accountable America is planning to send 10,000 top conservative donors a warning letter next week. According to the New York Times:

“We want to stop the Swift Boating before it gets off the ground,” said Mr. Matzzie, who described his effort as “going for the jugular.”

The warning letter is intended as a first step, alerting donors who might be considering giving to right-wing groups to a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives.

The group is also hoping to be able to respond if an outside conservative group broadcasts a television advertisement attacking Senator Barack Obama, or another Democratic candidate, by running commercials exposing the donors behind the advertisements.
Of particular interest are major GOP donors "including Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino mogul, and Mel Sembler, a former ambassador and real estate magnate, both major donors to Freedom’s Watch, a conservative group.

It remains to be seen how successful Accountable America will be since outside political groups organized as 501(c)4 entities do not have to disclose the names of their donors.

In fact, Ed Patru, a spokesman for Freedom’s Watch told the New York Times that if donors feel too scared to fund deceptive or slanderous attack ads - his group is more than willing to continue shielding them from public scrutiny.


Jeff Steele said...

What is "scurrilous" about the Swift Boat veterans' "attacks" on a cowardly, lying, arrogant, condescending, anti-American, phony war hero?

Anonymous said...

What is "scurrilous" is that you fell for it -- hook, line and sinker!

Anonymous said...

What is really "scurrilous" is that Kerry's supporters and donors fell for Kerry -- hook, line and sinker!

Tom Matzzie said...

I think this article leaves people with the impression that the names of donors to 501c4 organizations might never be disclosed.

In fact, these conservative 501c4 organizations are engaged almost exclusively in politics which should make them 527s--not 501c4s. That is why people are contributing to them and why they've hired people like Karl Rove.

If, in the future, the IRS agrees with me then the names of these donors would be disclosed as all 527 donors are. Also, the names are not publicly disclosed but they are provided to the IRS as part of the 990 form.

Finally, donors to 501c4s are often revealed as part of a legal action including a government investigation or a lawsuit.