Updated: Swiftboaters to be fined
According to Raw Story, the Swift-Boaters who blindsided John Kerry with lies during the 2004 election season, may be fined by the FEC along with others.
Unless the fine is so high that these fools are eating Doritos chips on the sidewalk, it doesn't matter a whit. It'll turn out to be like any corporation (or certain computer manufacturers to be found in hipper cafes) who factor in the cost of lawsuits and liability when they peddle their products.
If this fine doesn't act to dissuade others, it may just be the cost of purchasing the presidency...
Update: The FEC issued a news release stating that three 527s have settled, including the Swift Boaters (and POWs) for Truth, League of Conservation Voters, and the MoveOn Voter Fund (a small portion of MoveOn's activities.
MoveOn issued a simultaneous statement, essentially approving of the FEC's direction, though it doesn't agree with some of the particulars. The Swift Boaters have yet to release any statement, at least according to their site whose last post appears to be about 3 weeks after the election.
If this means that the FEC is really pushing big money out of elections and putting Swift Boaters out of business, this is good for Democracy. This doesn't affect MoveOn at all going forward, because we abandoned the big donor approach years ago. We welcome the FEC taking a more aggressive posture in enforcement of campaign finance law, even if we got caught in the crossfire.
We strongly disagree with the FEC's position on our particular case, but we're settling to Move On. We maintain in the settlement that we operated in good faith and under the law in 2004, with the best legal advice. And the other choice was years of litigation and huge legal fees. We're sure that we'd have been vindicated, but we have to Move On.
Unlike a group like Swift Boats, restricting the use of big contributions doesn't affect MoveOn's current operations at all because all our contribution are small. Our PAC in the 2006 cycle raised $27M, all from more than 600,000 small contributions, averaging less than $50 per contribution. The MoveOn.org 527 in the 2004 cycle raised far less money, $20M, even with half of the money coming from big donors. This is also a great trend for Democracy.