Top Bush Campaign Lawyer Providing Legal Advice To Swift Veterans Group
A top lawyer for President Bush's campaign, Benjamin L. Ginsberg, said yesterday he has given legal advice to Swift Veterans for Truth, the group running ads critical of Sen. Kerry's war record. The Washington Post reports that the Kerry camp said Ginsberg's statement "is evidence the president's campaign is orchestrating a 'smear' by the private group." Election lawyers "agreed that the fact that Ginsberg. . .has been giving legal advice to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth does not violate campaign finance law prohibiting collusion between campaigns and independent groups. But Ginsberg's dual roles complicate the Bush campaign's effort to rebut as 'frivolous' Kerry's complaint that it is behind the Swift boat ads." The New York Times adds "Ginsberg said that he had yet to work out payment details with the group and that he might consider doing the work pro bono." Reuters, meanwhile, says the Bush campaign "declined to comment on the disclosure that Ginsberg is tied to the Swift Boat group, which has run a series of television commercials assailing Kerry and accusing him of lying about his service during the Vietnam war."
The New York Times says Ginsberg "had been at the forefront of pressing the legal case against Democratic 527's, which have spent more than $60 million on advertisements against Mr. Bush. In complaints against the groups, Republican lawyers have noted that Harold M. Ickes, who has helped raise money for and organize America Coming Together and the Media Fund, both 527 groups, is also on the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee. The chairman of the Democratic convention, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, has been an adviser to another 527 group, the New Democrat Network. And Jim Jordan, a spokesman for the Media Fund, was Mr. Kerry's campaign manager until he resigned in November." Ginsberg "said he decided to help Republican groups after the Federal Election Commission declined to impose strict rules on the 527 groups in May."
Kerry, DNC Lawyers Also Advising Outside Groups.
According to the Washington Post, Ginsberg noted "two prominent Democratic lawyers are doing the same thing" he is. He said "Robert Bauer, the top legal counsel for the Kerry campaign, also is the attorney for an independent group, America Coming Together, that has been mobilizing voters in support of Kerry. In addition, Ginsberg said, Joseph Sandler is a lawyer for both the Democratic National Committee and for the independent group MoveOn.org, which has run advertisements attacking Bush."
NYTimes Says Bush Allowing Anti-Kerry Ads To Continue.
In an editorial this morning, the New York Times says President Bush "should stop evading responsibility and unequivocally condemn the attacks on Senator John Kerry's Vietnam War service that are being orchestrated by negative-campaign specialists deep in the heart of the Texas Republican machine. Mr. Bush says that Mr. Kerry's record is admirable and something to be proud of. Yet he allows these politically useful ads to continue spreading unfounded charges that Mr. Kerry fabricated his medal-winning experience as a Swift boat commander."