Stand up for public funding, ballot access and our right to wider political choices.
Dear friend of democracy,
As independents and members of alternative political parties, we deserve a fair playing field to participate in elections – especially now that a majority of Americans are clamoring for choices outside the corporate establishment. Yet grassroots alternatives are in the target hairs as the Federal Election Commission (FEC) attempts to impose crushing penalties on our 2016 presidential campaign for using public funds for ballot access. Specifically, the ruling disallows the use of public funds for ballot drives following our nominating convention, when ballot drives are normally ramping up to their greatest intensity.
This decision strikes a blow at candidates and parties that rely on public funding for ballot access, and would have a widespread chilling effect on political alternatives and independents. It not only imposes a crushing penalty on our former campaign and me personally. It would discourage future grassroots candidates, who rely on public funding to challenge the bipartisan corporate establishment. This at a time political independence is polling at record highs and an unprecedented 62% say a third party is needed.
As a consequence of the ruling, the FEC is now trying to claw back public funding spent on these ballot access costs by demanding I personally repay them $175,000. This ruling is patently unfair. It defies laws, logic and the precedent of our 2012 campaign, where we were allowed to use public funding to cover all ballot access costs.* Here’s a brief summary of our case as presented by attorney Harry Kresky and myself at the Feb. 25th FEC hearing.
FEC hearing of February 25, 2021, entering at the point of summaries given by attorney Harry Kresky and Dr. Jill Stein
Please join us in fighting this misguided ruling by making a contribution towards the legal and administrative costs of our battle. (To contribute go here.)
The ruling adds to a number of FEC actions criticized for conflicting with its historic mission combatting corruption. On one hand, the FEC has failed to rein in super PACs and foreign contributors. On the other, it has restricted the use of public funds by small grassroots alternatives, and failed to protect minor party candidates from illegal spending by the DNC and its allies.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are pushing HR 1 (the “For the People Act”), a package of invaluable voting reforms that unfortunately contain little-discussed poison pills that would make it virtually impossible for alternative parties and independent candidates to qualify for presidential matching funds.
Allowing a crushing and unjust penalty to be inflicted on campaigns like ours who use public funding – while the whole system is under attack – creates a one-two punch that stifles competition and threatens to destroy the little remaining counterweight against big money control of our elections.
Now as the world burns, freezes, floods and bleeds under bipartisan US policies, we need the FEC to step up to its critical mission to fight corrupt money in politics, not the grassroots alternatives to that corruption.
Please join us to fight this misguided ruling and ensure grassroots political voices are heard at a time we need them more than ever.
Thanks for all you do to build a world that works for all of us.
All my best,
Green Party nominee for president 2012, 2016
*This ruling defies the precedent of our 2012 campaign, where we were allowed to use public funding to cover all ballot access costs. It also defies key FEC regulations that define all ballot drives, regardless of the date, as inherently primary election activities, (the critical feature enabling coverage by public funding).