In 2004, McCain condemned the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's advertising as "dishonest and dishonorable" when ads attacked 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, on his military service. But a USA Today analysis of campaign financial records indicates McCain has accepted $69,100 from nine of the organization's big backers and their families.
Campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said in an e-mail to USA Today that McCain accepted the money because the donors are "interested in supporting (his) agenda of reform, prosperity and peace."
Bounds said McCain has criticized the so-called 527 groups -- named for the tax code section that governs their operations -- arguing that "virtually every attack-style 527 group on the airwaves" is to aid his likely Democrat contender Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
Obama said 527 groups are one of the reasons he declined public funding for his presidential run.
Outside groups have spent nearly $10 million to aid Obama, data compiled by the non-partisan CQMoneyLine show. Independent groups invested less than $50,000 on McCain's behalf.