Republican John McCain, who four years ago condemned independent ads challenging Democrat John Kerry's military record, has accepted nearly $70,000 for his presidential campaign from the top donors of the group behind the attack ads and their relatives, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
That's nearly four times the amount McCain received from those donors in the 14 years before launching his current campaign at the end of 2006, campaign finance records show.
In 2004, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (later called SwiftVets and POWS for Truth) bankrolled ads charging that Kerry had lied about the incidents in Vietnam that led to his military decorations. The group included former members of the Navy who served in the same kind of river patrol boats as Kerry. McCain, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, called the group's advertising "dishonest and dishonorable."