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Next Generation Swift Boaters

In 2004, Harrold Simmons was the biggest funder of the manipulative smear group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. In 2008, Simmons is the sole donor funding a vicious attack ad in some battleground states that uses tortured logic and clumsy innuendo to invent a tie between Barack Obama and terrorism.

The ad goes completely beyond the pale by cynically exploiting the tragedy of 9/11 in an unfounded connection with Chicago academic William Ayers. Then it claims that Ayers somehow “launched” Barack Obama’s career -- an assertion so outlandish that not even Simmons’ fellow discredited Swift Boater Jerome Corsi included it in his smear book.

The ad may even be a criminal violation of campaign finance laws. Simmons has previously been fined tens of thousands of dollars for campaign finance violations – including forging the signatures of his own daughters to make political contributions from trust funds.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: There's one man behind ads linking Obama, Ayers

"Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, a major backer of Republican John McCain's presidential campaign and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth four years ago, is the sole donor to an advertisement attacking Democrat Barack Obama over his relationship with one-time radical activist William Ayers."

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National Journal: Spokesman and board member of American Issues Project Ed Failor was part of McCain “pay-to-play” endorsement scheme in Iowa

"When Ed Failor Jr., the executive vice president of Iowans for Tax Relief, signed on with 2008 White House hopeful John McCain this January, he professed fealty to the senator whom many viewed as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. "It is an honor to support a candidate who is committed to implementing commonsense conservative principles," Failor declared in a McCain campaign press release touting its recruitment of Failor and veteran Iowa GOP operative Karen Slifka. At the time, snagging Failor was widely viewed as a coup. He not only helps direct one of Iowa's largest political action committees, he also has ties to social conservatives as a board member of the Iowa Right to Life Committee. […] Not so obvious -- and not mentioned in the press release --was that Failor's enlistment carried a price tag: $10,000 a month. Failor contends that from the moment he began working for McCain, his role as a hired gun was widely understood. "I don't think anybody who knew Iowa politics would be surprised that I served as a consultant," Failor told National Journal. But Failor's paid status came as something of a shock to at least one veteran Iowa GOP activist, Dave Roederer, who happens to be McCain's Iowa campaign chairman. And it wasn't until months after Failor signed on that Roederer learned how much the campaign was paying him. "I did not have a clue. And, frankly, I think it's horrible [that] that's what's happening," Roederer said. "And it's going to turn the dynamics of the caucus." What worries Roederer is that Failor is just the latest example of "pay-to-play" in Iowa. [National Journal, 7/21/07]

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