Lawyers Behind California Ballot Proposal Tied To Swift Boat Episode

LOS ANGELES— LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Lawyers behind a California ballot proposal that could benefit the 2008 Republican presidential nominee have ties to a Texas homebuilder who financed attacks on Democrat John Kerry’s Vietnam War record in the 2004 presidential campaign.

Charles H. Bell and Thomas Hiltachk’s law firm banked nearly $65,000 in fees from a California-based political committee funded almost solely by Bob J. Perry that targeted Democrats in 2006. Perry, a major Republican donor, contributed nearly $4.5 million to the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that made unsubstantiated but damaging attacks on Kerry three years ago.

The Perry-financed committee in California, the Economic Freedom Fund, continued to spend money this year, mostly on legal expenses tied to an ongoing legal dispute in Indiana over phone calls made to voters in 2006. It lists the Sacramento law office’s address as its home and its Web site directs contributions to the firm, Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk. In addition, Bell serves as the committee’s treasurer.

Hiltachk has been pushing a proposal to revamp the way California awards its electoral votes, a change Democrats claim would rig the 2008 race. He and Bell are the sole officers of a new political committee, Californians for Equal Representation, that is raising money to place the plan on the ballot in June.

Their success could hinge on whether they get the financial backing to collect more than 400,000 petition signatures

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