Swift Boat Redux: Wealthy GOP Donor Drops $5 Mil for New Group

The man who bankrolled the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth just put $5 million behind a new 527 this campaign, according to new FEC filings.

Although only a month old, the "Economic Freedom Fund" has already been very active, dropping half a million bucks on negative TV ads against Democratic incumbents Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) and Jim Marshall (D-GA). You can see the ads here.

Bob Perry the millionaire homebuilder from Houston, Texas behind EFF, has some of the deepest pockets in the GOP. He dumped nearly $8.1 million into 527 organizations in the 2004 elections, most of which ($4.45 million) went to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, where he was the single largest donor. Perry also donated $3 million to Progress for America Voter Fund, a so-called "527" group that raised more than $38 million that cycle.

527 organizations, of course, are ideal for deploying negative ads, since they are are not officially allied with parties or candidates. The organizations are tax-exempt, and unlike parties or candidates, can accept unlimited soft money contributions.

EFF says its aim is just to "Promote policies and issues favoring economic freedom, growth and prosperity of the economy, to the benefit of the people of the United States." But its early activities show it's up to much more than that. And the group's relative anonymity -- only one person is officially allied with the group, Charles H. Bell Jr., a lawyer from California -- means they can attack with abandon. (Bell also happens to be the General Counsel for the California Republican Party.)

Perry's $5 million puts EFF securely in the top ten biggest 527s this cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics Massie Ritsch -- alongside biggies like The Club for Growth.

More soon....

Update: We'll have the FEC filings up soon in our document collection.

Late Update: Here they are.


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