It's scary." ~ John Kerry
Before the U.S. Family Network folded in 2001 under pressure from an FEC probe, it became involved in other controversial political matters.
In 1998, the group lobbied Congress against new regulations on cigarettes and collected a $100,000 donation from the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. It also spent $75,863 that year on radio ads that called for President Clinton's resignation and attacked Democrats, according to the group's ledger and transcripts of the ads.
The following year, the National Republican Congressional Committee gave the USFN a $500,000 check to finance additional radio ads in the districts of vulnerable Democrats. Buckham told the FEC he solicited the check, and others told FEC investigators it was paid over the objections of the NRCC's director and chief counsel.
Of the $500,000, USFN gave just $300,000 to another nonprofit group for the ads. In his deposition, Buckham explained that he retained a portion of the Republican Party's check as a commission. "If I raise money, I get a portion," Buckham said. "It is in my contract."
The NRCC in 2004 paid the eighth-highest fine in FEC history to settle allegations that some of its officials colluded with USFN on the ads in violation of campaign finance laws.