Sunday, June 13, 2004

Ralph Nader: Campaign Finance Law Breaking Fat Cat?

Nader Office Use May Be Questionable

Since October, Ralph Nader has run his campaign for president out of the same downtown Washington offices that through April housed a public charity [Citizen Works] he created — an overlap that campaign finance specialists said could run afoul of federal laws.

Tax law forbids public charities from aiding political campaigns. Violations can result in a charity losing its tax-exempt status. The law also requires candidates to account for all contributions — including shared office space and resources, down to the use of copying machines, receptionists and telephones...

The shared-space arrangement was vetted by an outside lawyer and is legal, Nader said, because his campaign has paid Citizen Works fair market value to rent office space.

True, this is not a major violation of campaign finance regulations (the Democrats' use of 527 organizations, like MoveOn, is in theory at least far more serious), but me being the mean-spirited nitpicker that I am, I couldn't help but point it out.


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