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Organizing your community to bring public attention to builder’s bad deeds and seeking assistance from local, state and federal elected officials has proven to be more effective and much quicker for thousands of families. You do have choices and alternatives.  Janet Ahmad

Texas Homebuilder Perry spends influential wealth on national political smear campaign ads again
Saturday, 16 September 2006

Former Swift Boat attack-ad backer takes on House Democrats
Perry's $5 million donation, made in two payments on Aug. 18 and Sept. 5, is among the largest, if not the largest, donation from an individual to any 527 group this year, although contribution records are still being filed. It exceeds the nearly $4.5 million that Perry gave the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004, when he provided the seed money to help launch the group and was its biggest donor. And it's more than double the amount that billionaire Democratic donor George Soros has given to 527 groups this year, according to the Web site Political MoneyLine, which tracks campaign finances.

Former Swift Boat attack-ad backer takes on House Democrats


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Texas homebuilder who helped bankroll the attack on Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's war record in 2004 is setting his sights on Democrats seeking re-election to Congress, including W.Va. Rep. Alan Mollohan.

Bob J. Perry, a major Republican donor with close ties to White House adviser Karl Rove and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, has donated $5 million since Aug. 18 to a newly formed California group called the Economic Freedom Fund. Like the anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the fund is a so-called 527 group that is not subject to conventional campaign finance restrictions and can spend unlimited amounts on election advocacy.

So far, the new group - which was formed last month and lists Perry as its sole donor - has spent slightly more than $500,000 on television ads and mailers criticizing Mollohan and Democratic House Rep. Jim Marshall of Georgia, according to a disclosure form filed last week with the Federal Election Commission.

According to its Web site, the group also is distributing mailers supporting Republican Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's re-election campaign and Jim Nussle of Iowa, a Republican congressman running for governor.

Anthony Holm, a spokesman for Perry, declined to comment on the contribution or on further plans for using the group's money. Charles H. Bell Jr., a Sacramento attorney listed as the fund's contact, did not return phone calls Wednesday or Thursday. On its FEC filings, the group lists as its address the same Sacramento office as Bell's law firm, Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk.

The West Virginia and Georgia congressional races that the group is targeting are considered among the GOP's best shots at picking up seats in an election year where some experts believe the party is in danger of losing its majority in Congress.

The amount of money involved is significant.

Perry's $5 million donation, made in two payments on Aug. 18 and Sept. 5, is among the largest, if not the largest, donation from an individual to any 527 group this year, although contribution records are still being filed. It exceeds the nearly $4.5 million that Perry gave the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004, when he provided the seed money to help launch the group and was its biggest donor. And it's more than double the amount that billionaire Democratic donor George Soros has given to 527 groups this year, according to the Web site Political MoneyLine, which tracks campaign finances.

Soros has given about $2.3 million this year to several outside groups.

According to its Sept. 8 disclosure, the Economic Freedom Fund has spent $337,753 on the West Virginia race, where Mollohan, a 12-term Democrat, faces Republican state delegate Chris Wakim. The group has spent $163,599 in Georgia, where two-term incumbent Marshall is being challenged by former Republican congressman Mac Collins.

The fund's West Virginia ads address recent allegations regarding Mollohan's ethics, citing news reports that he is the subject of a federal investigation into whether he steered government money to nonprofit groups that donated to his campaigns.

Wakim's spokesman Will Holley said the group is helping to inform voters about Mollohan.

"The voters have a right to know Alan Mollohan's dismal voting record on issues like child safety," said Holley, who noted that Wakim's campaign has had no contact with the Economic Freedom Fund, which would be illegal.

One of the direct mailings paid for by the group accuses Mollohan of voting "against additional protection for children from sexual predators," which Mollohan's campaign denies.

Mollohan campaign spokesman Gerry Griffith said he thinks the advertising is turning people off.

"The influx of negative campaigning from Sacramento is unprecedented, certainly in my 25 years of West Virginia politics," Griffith said.

The Georgia ads portray Marshall, a conservative Democrat from Macon, as a liberal, associating him with the policies of Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, as well as Georgia Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who lost her seat in a Democratic primary this year after a highly-publicized scuffle with a Capitol Hill police officer.

Marshall spokesman Doug Moore said voters in the district are familiar enough with Marshall's record to know the ads are off base.

"Getting out there and calling Jim Marshall a liberal in the Macon media market isn't going to be effective," Moore said. "Everybody here knows Jim, and they know he's conservative."

Unlike with Kerry and the Swift Boat group, the Economic Freedom Fund has not questioned Marshall's Vietnam War service. A former Army Ranger platoon sergeant and recent inductee into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame, Marshall was awarded two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam.

"Jim Marshall has a great military record, and I hope they bring that up because we would love to make that an issue in this campaign," Moore said.

The group also made automated phone calls supporting Republican Rep. Mike Sodrel and criticizing his Indiana rival, but the effort may have done more harm than good. A spokeswoman for the Indiana Attorney General's office said Thursday it will investigate a complaint that the calls violate the state's law against automated phone calls.

According to its filing, the Economic Freedom Fund was formed to "promote policies and issues favoring economic freedom, growth and prosperity of the economy."

The group's "527" status refers to a section of the tax law. Such groups can accept unlimited donations for voter mobilization and issue advertisements aimed at influencing federal elections.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/W/WV_CAMPAIGN_MONEY_WVOL-?SITE=WVHUN&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

 
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Outsized Ambition, Greed and
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