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Kerry Isn't Giving Up

It's looking more likely that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) could get an ounce of revenge against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group that helped ruin his 2006 presidential quest. Sources tell the Sleuth that Swift Boat donor Sam Fox's nomination to be ambassador to Belgium is in real jeopardy.

As readers may recall, Kerry got a rare opportunity to tussle with Fox during the nominee's confirmation hearing last month in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Fox is a major Republican contributor who qualified as a "Bush Ranger." In 2000 and 2002, back in the day when soft money was still allowed, he gave $495,000 to the Republican National Committee in soft money alone.

Fox, who donated $50,000 toward the Swifties' ad campaign to smear Kerry's Vietnam record, has now submitted answers to several written questions Kerry posed to the nominee to follow up on last month's hearing at which Kerry was visibly seething with frustration. The written questions and answers were obtained by the Sleuth.

Even after receiving Fox's written responses, Kerry feels he still hasn't gotten many answers. Take, for example, question No. 3.

Kerry asked Fox: "Please identify any individual or organization who contacted you, or whom you contacted, with respect to making a donation to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth."

Fox's answer: "I don't recall."

Or take Question No. 5. Kerry asked Fox, "Did you receive any acknowledgement or thank you for your contribution to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? If so, from whom?"

Fox replied, "To the best of my knowledge I have never received any acknowledgement or thank you for my contribution to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth."

But Fox re-submitted his answer later stating that "after my assistant checked my records, we found the attached acknowledgement of my contribution." The thank-you letter, from the treasurer of the Swift Boat campaign, said, "The only way we can get the truth out about John Kerry is with the help of Americans such as you."

Fox continued to insist in his written answers, as in his answers before the Foreign Relations Committee, that he had no clue that his money would be used specifically to trash Kerry. When asked if he knew his money would go toward attack ads, he said, "I was aware that SBVT aired TV ads and that the content of such ads dealt with Senator Kerry."

Suffice it to say, Kerry still feels dissed by Fox. As Kerry spokesman Vince Morris told us, "During the hearing Senator Kerry asked Sam Fox a handful of pretty basic questions about his actions and judgment and is looking forward to hearing his replies."

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee still has not scheduled a vote on Fox's nomination. A senior Democratic aide on the committee tells the Sleuth that the nomination is in real trouble and suggested Democrats may sink it both to show support for Kerry and teach a moral lesson about the personal destruction wrought by of independent 527 groups such as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

"I can tell you people are going to be very sensitive to Senator Kerry," the aide said, adding that killing Fox's ambassadorial nomination may be the strong lesson that's needed in order to get "this level of shame" out of politics. "This is not a bad remedy," the aide said.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  March 15, 2007; 9:00 PM ET
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