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Swiftboat Lawyer, Willie Horton Strategist Team Up for 2008 « The Washington Independent

Jason Hancock at our sister site Iowa Independent has a great revolving-door catch today. Hancock reports that two all-stars in attack dog campaigning are on board at American Future Fund — a conservative advocacy group running ads in tight Congressional races across the country.

AFF’s legal counsel is none other than Ben Ginsberg, a Washington-based power lawyer who stepped down as chief outside counsel to the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004 after news broke that he had represented the Swift Boat Veteran’s for Truth — the group that ultimately harpooned the Kerry campaign.

On the strategy side of the organization we find Larry McCarthy, who created the infamous soft-on-crime Willie Horton ad, credited with sinking Michael Dukakis in 1988.

AFF is expected to be a major player in this election cycle, spending an arm and a leg on TV and radio ads in battleground states, like Minnesota and Colorado. (Iowa Independent has a selection of some of the group’s ads here.) How much will they spend, exactly? We don’t know:

Because of the way the group is organized under Internal Revenue Service guidelines for nonprofit organizations it does not have to disclose its donors and is not governed by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

In 2004, such groups spent an estimated $430 million, free from federal election disclosure rules. According to Hancock’s reporting, that number could be even higher this year.

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