Thank you for all you’ve done to build our movement for people, planet, and peace over profit! Our work together has set the progressive agenda on issue after issue, from an emergency Green New Deal and Medicare for All to free public higher education, democracy reforms like Ranked-Choice Voting and much more.
Now, in the face of accelerating climate collapse, crushing inequality, endless war and the epic failure of public health — we need independent politics more than ever to advance these transformative solutions our lives depend on.
I’m writing today to alert you to a battle that may well determine whether alternative parties and independents will be able to gain access to the ballot — an essential part of the struggle in elections to come.
Currently, we are fighting a decision by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that strikes another blow against open, fair elections by seriously limiting our ability to use federal public matching funds to gain ballot access. Specifically, the FEC is demanding that our 2016 campaign repay over $175,000 in funds we earned under the federal matching funds program over five years ago.
The FEC’s demand grows out of their refusal, after the fact, to recognize our use of matching funds to complete ballot drives during the 2016 primary campaign. Since our 2016 campaign account is all but closed, the FEC is attempting to hold me, as the candidate, personally liable for repaying this massive, unjust bill from my personal funds.
If the FEC ruling is allowed to stand, grassroots candidates running independently of the big money corporate parties will simply run out of money before overcoming onerous ballot access hurdles around the country.
To make matters worse, the precedent of receiving a ruinous bill from the government years after the election would be an obvious deterrent to future grassroots candidates who rely on matching funds to challenge power without selling out to corporate political machines. In many states this would also make it far more difficult to run in local “down-ballot” races where Greens and other independents have had the most success.
After fighting for over a year within the FEC bureaucracy, we and our legal team are eager to challenge this injustice in court. But to move forward, we must urgently raise at least $20,000 to cover the latest round of legal costs and our barebones operating expenses. And, in case justice does not prevail, we must prepare to pay down the penalties.
Incredibly, the FEC’s rules prohibit me from contributing critically needed funds to my own defense because it would exceed the maximum I’m allowed to donate to my own campaign! That means I am essentially dependent on your generosity for defending myself and the matching funds program.
To make this fight winnable, please donate by visiting jillstein.net or make out a check to “Jill Stein for President (2016)”. Every donation, no matter the size, is greatly appreciated! (Maximum donation is $2,700 for the primary election period, which is how the FEC classifies our current expenses.) Send checks to James Lane, Treasurer, 269 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215. For FEC compliance, please write in the memo: “2016, debt”. Include address, occupation, and employer. (Additional details below.)
Polls show unprecedented hunger for a new party, disgust with the political establishment, and strong support for our visionary proposals. That’s why this battle for public funding is so critical — to protect our right to a politics that’s independent of the corporate money machine and to advance the solutions we so urgently need.
Thank you so much, friend, for your support at this critical moment, as the future of humanity and the planet are truly in our hands!
All my best,
Green Party nominee for president 2012, 2016
PS. Your contribution will help us contest this case while continuing to fight on multiple fronts. Examples of my recent efforts towards this end — promoting the imperative for independent politics, the Green New Deal, freeing Assange, resisting empire, and more — are posted at jillstein.net.
PPS. See jillstein.net for full FEC contribution rules. To summarize: If you prefer to donate by check, make out your check to “Jill Stein for President (2016)”. For FEC compliance, please write in the memo: “2016, debt”. Please include address, occupation and employer. Send checks to James Lane, Treasurer, 269 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215.