13 décembre 2007 4 13 /12 /décembre /2007 21:53


Democracy Now !

 


undefinedPhoto: Joëlle pénochet (Columnia Unversity, Sept. 2004)

 

 
Ralph Nader Files Lawsuit Accusing
Democratic Party of Conspiring
to Block Presidential Run

 

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The lawsuit accuses the Democratic Party of “groundless and abusive litigation” to bankrupt Ralph Nader’s campaign and force him off the ballot in 18 states. We speak with Nader attorney Carl Mayer. [includes rush transcript]


Consumer advocate and three-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader sued the Democratic Party on Tuesday for conspiring to prevent him from running for president in 2004. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Nader, his vice presidential running mate Peter Miguel Camejo and a group of voters from several states. It names as co-defendants the Kerry-Edwards campaign, the Service Employees International Union, private law firms, and organizations like the Ballot Project and America Coming Together that were created to promote voter turnout on behalf of the Democratic ticket. According to the lawsuit the defendants used “groundless and abusive litigation” to bankrupt Ralph Nader’s campaign and force him off the ballot in 18 states.

We are joined in the firehouse studio here in New York by public interest attorney Carl Mayer, whom the New York Times has described as “a populist crusader and maverick lawyer.” We tried reaching the Democratic National Committee and some of the other defendants to invite them to the show but received no response.

Carl Mayer was part of the legal team that filed the lawsuit in Washington, D.C. Tuesday.

  • Carl Mayer. Public interest attorney. He filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Democratic Party on behalf of former presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

 

AMY GOODMAN: Consumer advocate and three-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader sued the Democratic Party Tuesday for conspiring to prevent him from running for president in 2004. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Nader, his vice presidential running mate Peter Camejo and a group of voters from several states. It names as co-defendants the Kerry-Edwards campaign, the Service Employees International Union, private law firms, organizations like the Ballot Project and America Coming Together that were created to promote voter turnout on behalf of the Democratic ticket. According to the lawsuit, the defendants used “groundless and abusive litigation” to bankrupt Ralph Nader’s campaign and force him off the ballot in eighteen states.

We’re joined now here in New York by public interest attorney Carl Mayer, whom the New York Times has described as “a populist crusader and maverick lawyer.” We tried reaching the Democratic National Committee and some of the other defendants to invite them to the show but received no response. Carl Mayer was part of the legal team that filed the lawsuit in D.C. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Carl.

CARL MAYER: Thank you, Amy. Thank you for having me on.

AMY GOODMAN: Why are you suing?

CARL MAYER: To defend democracy. That’s the title of the show—excuse me, is Democracy Now! And this was the most massive anti-democratic campaign to eliminate a third-party candidate from the ballot in—probably in recent American history. It is—not content with having all these laws and statutes on the book that make it difficult for third-party and independent candidates to run, the Democratic Party and their allies in over fifty-three law firms, with over ninety lawyers, were engaged in filing litigation in eighteen states. They were to remove Ralph Nader from the ballot. It was an organized, abusive litigation process.

The core of the lawsuit is that these lawyers, led by Toby Moffett and Elizabeth Holtzman, and something called the Ballot Project, which was a 527 organization, systematically went around the country and filed lawsuit after lawsuit, twenty-four in all, plus five FEC complaints, to try to completely remove the Nader campaign from the ballot and to, in effect, bankrupt the campaign, which they succeeded in doing.

Not content with that, one of the defendants, Reed Smith, which is a large corporate law firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, they are now going after Ralph Nader’s personal bank account to make him pay some of the cost of this litigation.

And, understand, despite being outspent by the Democratic Party and its affiliated lawyers, the vast majority of these lawsuits were won by the Nader campaign, which was a largely volunteer effort. And these lawsuits were won across the country, despite this organized effort of intimidation and harassment. It’s basically abusive process and malicious prosecution. Those are common law torts. And it was very clear from the beginning that the Democratic Party was using the legal system for an improper purpose. In fact, Toby Moffett, who’s a former congressman from Connecticut, said directly to The Guardian of London in an interview in December of 2004, this wasn’t about the law. “I’d be less than honest if I said” this was not about the law; this was about getting Ralph Nader off the ballot. And that’s what this effort was about. And it’s a shameful anti-democratic process by a party that claims to be a democratic party.

And on top of that, the Democratic Party, or its allies, filed five FEC complaints against the campaign, alleging improper—

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http://www.democracynow.org/2007/10/31/ralph_nader_files_lawsuit_accusing_democratic


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