Urgent. In court this week.
January 16, 2023
Our moment of peril and possibility is here, for grassroots politics and myself personally.
This week we appear before the DC Court of Appeals to defend fair public funding for third parties and independents. At a time we need alternatives to the parties of war and Wall Street more than ever, the future of these alternatives is hanging in the balance. We’re also pushing back against an unjust, crushing $175,000 repayment order the FEC holds me personally responsible for.
That’s why I’m so grateful for your support that’s brought us to this moment. And I’m asking for your help so we can finish the battle—overturn this brutal demand, and give grassroots campaigns a fighting chance to get on the ballot and offer voters the alternatives they’re demanding.
You may recall, we’re fighting an obscure, crippling rule[i] the Federal Election Commission applies only to third party and independent candidates. Simply put, this rule terminates public funding before the final weeks of signature collection—if the major parties hold conventions before ballot drives have ended. This rule resulted in the FEC demanding our campaign repay over $175,000 in ballot access costs five years after the fact. Since our campaign has long been dormant, this burden would fall on yours truly. This came as a shock because all our ballot access costs in 2012 were covered by public funding. For 2016, however, the obscure rule kicked in, unbeknown to us, due to early major party conventions.
Your support enables us to push back against this convoluted, confusing rule that effectively punishes grassroots, low-budget candidates who dare to challenge power.
And while the FEC is supposed to safeguard our elections, in fact the FEC turns a blind eye to the worst sources of corrupting big money—superPACS, dark money, special party committees and more. As an FEC attorney turned whistleblower testified before Congress, this “failure of the FEC is one of the best-kept secrets in government”.[ii] That’s why we keep pushing for a national clean money, clean elections system (like Maine and Arizona), and ultimately, a constitutional amendment clarifying political money is not constitutionally protected speech.
In the meantime, we need your help to cover the costs of finishing this battle—including legal costs (outside of our pro-bono defense by the heroic Center for Competitive Democracy), expensive reporting software and any residual FEC liabilities. Contributions of any size—$5 or $500 (up to the $2700 cumulative limit)—are deeply appreciated. (Online & check info here.)
At a time when both corporate parties have brought climate collapse, crushing inequality, unraveling democracy and looming nuclear WWIII, this battle to give independent politics a fighting chance is more critical than ever.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support, and all you do for people, planet, peace and democracy.
All my best,
Green Party Presidential nominee 2012, 2016
[i] 26 U.S.C. § 9032(6)
PS. We wish you an empowering Dr. Martin Luther King day, as his words embolden grassroots struggles like ours, reminding us that war, Wall Street and systemic white supremacy are joined at the hip: “We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together. And you can’t get rid of one without getting rid of the other.”
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