NEW YORK, Sept. 12, 2004 LAWFUEL – Best for law news, legal…

NEW YORK, Sept. 12, 2004 LAWFUEL – Best for law news, legal news, law, politics, legal research According to Bush campaign documents
obtained by Newsweek, the campaign is recruiting Christian evangelical pastors
to preach about the virtues of Bush to their flocks. In one appeal sent out
this summer, the campaign instructed volunteers to distribute pro-Bush voter
guides after services, and included a guide of legal do’s and don’ts, Newsweek
reports in the current issue. It was OK for the pastor to endorse Bush, but
the church itself couldn’t. A senior GOP source says there is nothing wrong
with the church campaign. He says they are only lifting a time-tested idea
from the Democrats, who have done the same thing in black churches for

While that may be a more traditional way to get out the vote, the
presidential campaign has been defined, and dominated, this year by three
numbers: 527. Run by political pros and accountable only to themselves, the
groups are loud, mean and devastatingly effective. They are also loaded, in
part from lavish donations from billionaires like George Soros and T. Boone
Pickens, who are blunt about their desire to influence the vote.

So far in this campaign, Democratic and Republican 527s like MoveOn and America Coming Together on the left, and the Swift Boat Veterans and Progress for America on
the right, have raised upwards of $300 million. Newsweek examines the impact
of the 527 groups in the September 20 cover, “The Slime Campaign” (on
newsstands Monday, September 13).

The TV ads are just the start, report Investigative Correspondents Mark
Hosenball and Michael Isikoff and Correspondent Holly Bailey. For the first
time, the parties, Democrats especially, are “outsourcing” many of their
traditional jobs to the 527s. The groups are spending millions on massive
registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns. That eager college kid who
knocked on your door and railed against Bush probably wasn’t a Kerry
volunteer, but a $10-an-hour employee of a pro-Kerry 527. There are hundreds
of them, enthusiastically walking neighborhoods in every contested state,
trying to win votes one person at a time.

Also in the cover package, Arizona Sen. John McCain writes in an essay
that the argument that the rise of the 527 groups are a downside of the
McCain-Feingold campaign-reform law, “is completely false.” He writes,
“There’s nothing wrong with 527s in themselves. The groups can play an
important role in elections. They can be used to fund get-out-the-vote efforts
and educate voters about issues…But more recently, unscrupulous operatives
on both sides have begun to use them to run political smear campaigns against

George Bush and John Kerry. This is illegal, plain and simple, because 527s
must comply with the same funding requirements that apply to candidates.”

McCain writes that though the groups claim they don’t explicitly throw
their support behind Bush or Kerry, you can figure out which candidate they
want elected just by watching the spots. “Their activities are so blatantly
partisan there is no doubt that they should be subject to the same rules as
any other organization trying to influence the election,” he writes.

McCain writes that the groups get away with breaking the law because of
the Federal Election Commission’s “despicable failure to do its job. Led by a
Democratic apparatchik on one side and a right-wing ideologue on the other,
the commission is politically hidebound, and has refused to take on those who
brazenly thumb their noses at the law. It’s hard to argue that McCain-Feingold
is responsible for that.”

He continues, “Let me be clear. I’m not for shutting down 527s. There’s
nothing corrupt about them in principle-what’s wrong is the way they are being
deliberately misused while indifferent bureaucrats look the other way. That’s
why, in the long run, we’ll need to take on the larger problem: fixing the

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