Election officials weigh in on filmmaking future

Federal election officials will have a hand in writing the script on Sen. John Kerry’s plans to become a movie producer.

The Federal Election Commission meets Thursday to consider Kerry’s request to use $300,000 from his campaign funds to invest in a documentary about injured Iraq war veterans.

The 2004 Democratic presidential nominee wants to be an executive producer for a movie tentatively titled, “Keeping Faith,” by White Mountain Films. Kerry would not be paid, but he could get up to a 120 percent return on his $300,000 investment, 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 has long been a champion of veterans causes. Friends who are involved in veterans issues had 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 Bush. The movie chronicled Kerry’s military career as well as his efforts leading veterans protesting the war after coming home.

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

The Massachusetts Democrat has also asked the Senate ethics panel for permission to use campaign funds to invest in the documentary.

Kerry aides have said once federal election officials and the Senate ethics panel rule on his requests, the senator 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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