No wrap yet on Sen. Kerry's bid to produce movie

June 25, 2009 7:26:43 PM PDT
It's not a wrap yet on John Kerry's plans to become a movie producer. The Federal Election Commission failed to reach a decision Thursday on the Massachusetts Democrat's request to use $300,000 from his campaign funds to invest in a documentary about injured Iraq war veterans.

The panel will not issue an advisory opinion on Kerry's request.

"The FEC is now done considering this request," said FEC spokeswoman Judith Ingram.

A major issue was whether Kerry's proposal should be considered as an investment of campaign money, which is allowed, or else as his campaign operating a business. Campaigns cannot operate businesses.

Kerry attorney Marc Elias said he didn't know whether Kerry would proceed with his movie plans without an FEC advisory opinion to guide him.

The 2004 presidential nominee wants to be an executive producer for a movie tentatively titled "Keeping Faith," by White Mountain Films. Kerry's campaign committee could get back its entire $300,000 investment plus as much as 20 percent, according to a March 16 letter he sent to the FEC outlining his plans.

Kerry's efforts would include helping line up investors and obtaining interview subjects for the film.

A decorated Vietnam War veteran who served as a Navy swift boat commander, Kerry long has championed veterans' causes. Friends who are involved in veterans' issues approached Kerry several months ago and asked him to become an executive producer of the movie.

The film's director and producer is George Butler, a longtime Kerry friend. Butler had success with his 1977 documentary "Pumping Iron" about a then-unknown bodybuilder named Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Butler also made "Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry," which was released during Kerry's White House run against President George W. Bush. The movie chronicled Kerry's military career as well as his efforts leading veterans who protested the Vietnam War after coming home.

Kerry's presidential hopes were hurt during the 2004 race by attacks on his military service.

The lawmaker also has asked the Senate ethics committee for permission to use campaign funds to invest in the documentary.

Kerry aides have said once federal election officials and the ethics committee rule on his requests, he will decide whether to pursue his ambitions to become a movie producer.

Kerry has $3.5 million in his campaign account and does not face re-election until 2014.

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