Texans for Truth
Texans for Truth was established in late August 2004 by Glenn Smith, a Texas Democratic political consultant and the former managing director at the consulting firm Public Strategies, as a response to a fellow so-called "527 group". According to the Chicago Tribune, "Smith, an Austin resident who ran Democrat Tony Sanchez's unsuccessful 2002 campaign for Texas governor, said he created Texans for Truth in reply to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group of Vietnam veterans backed by prominent Texas Republican donors who launched a TV commercial in early August alleging that Kerry lied about his decorated Vietnam service."
Texans for Truth enjoyed an extremely rapid start-up, thanks to its affiliation with and fundraising support from the 20,000-member Texas online activist group, DriveDemocracy and roughly 2 million-member online group, MoveOn.org. It was registered with the IRS on August 31, 2004 and began airing a 30-second television advertisement questioning George W. Bush's National Guard service, "AWOL," on September 8, 2004.
The Texans for Truth ad features Robert Mintz, who served in Alabama's 187th Air National Guard, who says "neither he nor his friends saw George W. Bush when the future president was supposed to be with their unit in 1972." The group claims that Bush failed to fulfill his military duty while others were dying in Vietnam.
On September 13, 2004, as George W. Bush was addressing the National Guard Association's convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, Glenn Smith offered a $50,000 prize to anyone who could prove that Bush had fulfilled his National Guard service requirements. "Today would be a fine day for him to finally answer all the questions that have dogged him since he entered public life," said Smith.
Smith also dismissed the controversy over documents obtained by CBS News that many have claimed are forgeries. The documents - allegedly from Col. Jerry Killian, Bush's squadron commander - contain charges that failed to obey an order to undergo a physical exam and failed to complete his service in the Alabama Air National Guard. Smith said, "Authentic or not, they don't really answer the question about where Mr. Bush was when he was supposed to be doing his duty in the National Guard."
- "Group offers $50,000 for proof of Bush service," CNN, September 14, 2004.
- Howard Witt and John McCormick, "Agile '527' groups lead well-funded hit-run war," Chicago Tribune, September 10, 2004.
- Mark Memmott, "'Texans for Truth' ad challenges Bush on Guard service," USA Today, September 7, 2004.
- Glen Justice and Jim Rutenberg, "Advocacy Groups and Campaigns: An Uneasy Shuttle," New York Times, September 8, 2004.