Profile: Vets For Freedom

Vets for Freedom

Arizona Republican John McCain (right) arrives at a Vets for Freedom rally on Capitol Hill with Joe Lieberman (far left), the independent senator from Connecticut, April 8, 2008. Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images

Founded in 2006 by veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Vets For Freedom supports current U.S. policy in Iraq and promotes continuing the war until "victory."

It has a 501(c)4 organization and a political action committee that promotes mostly Republican veterans running for federal office. Until May, the group's honorary policy board of advisers included two prominent backers of John McCain's presidential bid: Connecticut independent Joe Lieberman of and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham. Both senators stepped down from the board after Vets for Freedom attacked Barack Obama in its ads.

In July, Vets for Freedom launched a national campaign that promises to include millions of dollars in TV advertising supporting the war in Iraq.

Funders: In 2007, Freedom's Watch contributed $623,000 to Vets for Freedom, according to Freedom's Watch's application to the IRS for tax-exempt status.

In 2006, Vets for Freedom recieved $50,000 from Bob Pence (former national finance co-chair for Mitt Romney) and $25,000 from Paul Singer (former fundraiser for Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign).

Leadership: Pete Hegseth, Joel Arends, Wade Zirkle, David Bellavia, Knox Nunnally, Mark Seavey, Joe Dan Worley. Read more about these leaders in The Secret Money Project's Who's Who Directory of Key Leaders of Independent Groups.

Will Evans is a reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting, NPR's partner in the Secret Money Project.

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