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332 Landslide

332 Landslide

April 11, 2008

Nader behind in fund-raising - 2008 Presidential Campaign Blog - Political Intelligence -

"The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reported this afternoon that he had raised $321,700 by the end of February, including $40,200 from his own pocket and a quarter of his total take from California residents."

Seems like prudent planning to me as, the real fight isn't likely to get under way for a few months. It also is a useful statement that speaks to the OUTRAGEOUS amounts of money being spent by the R & D parties at a time when we are all looking to tighten our belts if not being forced to do so. One shouldn't need to spend that kind of money to be a part of the process. Speaking of that, one certainly shouldn't be required to prove voter support based on dollars raised. The fact that the word democracy has become somehow interchangeable with capitalism is perverse. How is it that people who can't afford to send money to a campaign no longer have the right to support a candidate and have it count? (speaking of minimum donations per state to qualify for matching funds)

I went
here for information on public funding of presidential elections, this is where the disappointment began. First is the fact that the only instances in which the word 'Independent' is used is when referring to expenditures not candidates. Each section stated time and again 'party candidate', 'major party candidates' as well a 'minor' and 'new' party candidates. No where is there a section for or direct information on 'Independent Candidates'. One small section titled 'Eligibility for Public Funds' finds itself parked fully halfway down this page titled 'Public Funding of Presidential Elections Brochure', carefully placed after 7 other sections that only refer to parties, committees and conventions. No where on this official government site for information does it make clear the standards and requirements for independent candidates. It does note that this page is intended for students, public information and reporters not candidates or committees, and that those groups should consult chapter 11 campaign laws. (no handy link provided)
This same government provided site finds
a page titled 'Chapter 1: Primary Matching Funds' that notes "18. The requirement that candidates be affiliated with a political party has raised constitutional questions. Some have argued that it discriminates against independent candidates. For a discussion of this issue, see Chapter 2." Again, this is the only remark on independent candidates.

This 'Chapter 2' finds that "eligible candidates" are, by definition, the nominees "of a political party for President and Vice President."11 and that '11' is noted as 26 U.S.C. Sec.9002(4). It goes on:

Thus, on its face, the statute would appear to preclude public funding for independent candidates. On the other hand, Title 26 does not define the term "political party." Consequently, the Commission has relied on the definition found at 2 U.S.C. Sec.431(16): a political party is "an association, committee, or organization which nominates a candidate for election to any Federal office whose name appears on the election ballot as the candidate of such association, committee, or organization."
Applying this definition in Advisory Opinion (AO) 1980-3, the Commission determined that the Citizens Party would qualify as a political party once it received verification from any state that a candidate would appear on the ballot as a nominee of the party. Subsequently, in AO 1980-56, the Commission concluded that Barry Commoner, the Citizens Party's Presidential nominee, could qualify for post-election funding as a new party candidate even if he was not listed as the party's nominee on some states' ballots. The Commission noted that Mr. Commoner was registered with the FEC as a candidate of the Citizens Party, and that the statute required only that the candidate (not the party) receive five percent of the vote to qualify for public funds. Similarly, in AO 1980-96, the Commission confirmed that the various organizations sponsoring John Anderson's candidacy would qualify as political parties for purposes of the public funding rules. Therefore, Mr. Anderson, as the nominee of these parties, could qualify for post-general election funding if he received more than five percent of the vote.12
Although the Anderson opinion did not address the issue, some Commissioners felt that he should have been declared eligible for funding as an independent candidate. Commissioners John Warren McGarry and Frank P. Reiche filed separate statements supporting such a finding. Mr. Reiche argued that the Anderson campaign was "dedicated to the election of an independent candidate" and should not have been required to "cloak [itself] with the appearance of political party formality" to qualify for public funding. Both Commissioners cited legislative history and the U.S. Circuit Court's opinion in Buckley v. Valeo to support their case. The Circuit Court stated that independent candidates should be subject to the same eligibility requirements as other candidates:
If these provisions would in fact operate to prevent independents from obtaining public funding, no matter what their showing, or if they would require that independents go to the trouble of creating election party machinery in order to obtain public funding, then they would raise serious constitutional questions. . . . But the statute does not command that interpretation.13

In 1981, the Commission formally asked Congress to consider clarifying whether an independent candidate could qualify for general election funding.14 In trying to find the verdict, opinion or decision I did find more questions :

3. In Buckley v. Valeo, the circuit court opinion suggested that failure to fund independent candidates could raise constitutional questions. 519 F.2d 821, 887 (D.C. Cir. 1975). The Supreme Court, in its subsequent decision, did not explicitly rule on this issue.
4. Title 26 does not define the term "political party." Consequently, the Commission has relied on the definition found at 2 U.S.C. Sec.431(16).

Lets see if I can find more... Should it BE his hard????

The above article refers to "(The Commission's 1993 legislative recommendations are included in this report as Appendix 2.)" as a "more complete discussion", no where on that page does the word independent appear. On the public info page it was noted that they fall back to the definition of candidate found in 26 U..SC Sec.9002(4) please note this is different than the definition cite noted just above as 4.

H.R. 2817 in it's current incarnation's summary in part says "6/21/2007--Introduced.
Let the People Decide Clean Campaign Act - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) to set forth specified expenditure limitations for House of Representatives general elections.
Permits additional expenditures by eligible major party, third party, and independent candidates."

Here are the details pertaining to independent candidates from the bill detail page:

`(A) IN GENERAL- In this section, an `eligible candidate' is a major party, third party, or independent candidate in a House of Representatives general election who presents to the Commission petitions containing the signatures of individuals eligible to vote in the election (as verified by the Commission), except that the highest funded candidate in the election may not be an eligible candidate for purposes of this section.

But this page really only refers to 'house of representatives general election' and only eludes to presidential elections when discussing numbers of backers compared to previous elections excluding presidential elections. This bill is still active, but I am not sure if it is pertinent to my search.

I've been working on this for hours now, with no real results. I'm going to give it a break now... if anyone can end my misery and send me a link to pertinent information regarding the current congressionally acceptable definition of "Independent Candidate" as it pertains to public campaign funding well....I'll visit your site three times a day until the elections are over.

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