August 26, 2004 letter from Mary Beth Cahill to Ken
Dear Mr. Mehlman:
three weeks now, your campaign has been saying there are no ties
between the Bush campaign and “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.”
But the web of connections grows wider and wider every day.
Yesterday we saw confirmation of another connection when your general
counsel, Benjamin Ginsberg, was forced to resign for providing legal
advice for this group.
you will find a chart that makes clear the web of connections between
President Bush and the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.” Now that
you have this chart and the accompanying fact sheet to back it up, I
wanted to ask you several specific questions that deserve your prompt
Ken Cordier served on the Bush Veterans
Steering Committee and also stars in the latest “Swift Boat Veterans
for Truth” smear ad. As a member of the steering committee
presumably he was involved in policy development. What
information about the Bush campaign’s veterans policy did he share with
the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth?” Did he ever discuss his
activities with this smear group with anyone in the Bush
campaign? How many times did “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth”
activities come up at Bush Veterans Steering Committee meetings?
Yesterday on Fox News Karl Rove confirmed
that he and Bob Perry are longtime friends. Bob Perry is the
largest contributor to the Texas Republican Party and a longtime
supporter of President Bush. When was the last time Karl Rove and
Bob Perry spoke, and did they discuss the “Swift Boat Veterans for
Based on newspaper accounts, we know Merrie
Spaeth was involved in the underhanded shadow campaign against John
McCain in 2000. She also helped organize the “Swift Boat Veterans
for Truth” and did the debate prep for President H. W. Bush. She
has also admitted that she advised Bush Administration officials in the
White House as recently as last year. Was Merrie Spaeth ever contacted
by anyone from the Bush campaign, including you, about “Swift Boat
Veterans for Truth?”
John O’Neill’s law firm, Clements, O’Neill,
Pierce, Wilson & Fulkerson, has many connections to President
Bush. In fact, Margaret Wilson, Mr. O’Neill’s law partner, served
as General Counsel to Governor Bush and followed him to Washington,
where she worked as Deputy Counsel for the Department of
Commerce. Did she ever discuss “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth”
with President Bush, members of his administration or any Bush-Cheney
If you say there’s no connection, why did
the Bush-Cheney campaign office in Florida pass out “Swift Boat
Veterans for Truth” flyers to promote a joint anti-John Kerry rally in
Gainsville, Florida last weekend?
According to news reports, you have worked
with “Progress for America,” a newly formed 527 group that has
announced it’s going to spend $35 million to attack John Kerry and
whose executive director is a top advisor to the “Swift Boat Veterans
for Truth.” Have you had any additional contact with this
group? Have Karl Rove or other Bush officials – either in the
White House or on the Bush-Cheney campaign – had contacts with this
How many times did Karl Rove and Benjamin
Ginsberg meet? Did they ever discuss the “Swift Boat Veterans for
questions go to the heart of why so many people now believe that “Swift
Boat Veterans for Truth” is nothing more than a front group for the
Bush-Cheney campaign. The longer President Bush waits to
specifically condemn this smear, the more it looks like he’s behind it.
time for the President to stand up and specifically condemn “Swift Boat
Veterans for Truth.” Not only is this a smear on John Kerry’s
distinguished military service; it’s an insult to all veterans who’ve
served their country.
American people want to hear an honest discussion of the issues.
They’re concerned about the economy and the troubling situation in Iraq.
Today, as we enter week four of this smear campaign, I’m asking you to
talk to the President and ask him to heed Senator McCain’s call and
condemn this smear. The American people deserve better.