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GP-US speaks out against Rep. Israel’s banning of 3rd party candidates

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Greens blast bill from Democrats that would bar third parties in races for Congress.

Panic and retaliation among progressive Democrats over Green challenges are behind HR 4694, say Greens, citing the bill’s prohibitive petition requirements, ban on private contributions; Greens call the bill patently unconstitutional.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Green Party leaders called on Congress to reject a House bill that combines public funding of congressional campaigns with a scheme to ban third party and independents from such races.HR 4694 (“Let the People Decide Clean Campaign Act”) would grant nominees of parties (i.e., Democrats and Republicans) that had averaged 25% of the vote for House races in a given district in the last two elections would get full public funding. All others (i.e., third party and independent candidates) would be required to submit petitions signed by 10% of the last vote cast for partial funding, and 20% petitions for full funding. Furthermore, candidates who don’t qualify for funding would be barred from spending any privately raised money on their campaigns. “10% and 20% in many districts represent prohibitively large numbers of required signatures,” said Phil Huckelberry, co-chair of the Illinois Green Party and co-chair of the national Green Party’s Ballot Access Committee.

“The goal behind HR 4694 is to use public financing of campaigns — itself a sorely needed reform — to eliminate third party challenges in congressional races.” “In Missouri’s 2nd congressional district, a candidate with a party that won less than 25% of the vote in the last two elections would need nearly 70,000 signatures to qualify for the public funding that her/his Democratic and Republican opponents would get automatically, and only signatures from the 2nd District would count.  Nearly 35,000 signatures would be required in order to allow the candidate to spend anything at all on the campaign.” (St. Louis Oracle, February 05, 2006) http://stloracle.blogspot.com/2006/02/bill-would-ban-3rd-party-campaigns-for.htmlr.htmlThe Green Party of the United States supports public financing of campaigns as one of several measures to remove the corrupting influence of corporations on U.S. politics http://www.gp.org/platform/2004/democracy.html#316100>.
But Greens warned that HR 4694 uses public financing of campaigns as a cover to destroy democracy by reducing the field to two parties.
Greens called the bill patently unconstitutional and, if passed, unlikely to survive a court challenge.  But Greens said that the bill is significant because of the line-up of Congress members supporting it.The bill’s eight sponsors include liberal Democrats: David Obey (Wis.), Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Barney Frank and James McGovern (Mass.), Henry Waxman and Bob Filner (Calif.), Steve Israel (N.Y.), and Tim Ryan (Ohio).  Mr. Obey, Ms. DeLauro, and Mr. Israel faced Green competition (Mike Miles, Ralph Ferrucci, and John Keenan, respectively) in recent elections, suggesting that their sponsorship is retaliatory. Mr. Miles is seeking the House seat again in 2006 (Wisconsin, District 7);  Mr. Ferrucci is running for the U.S. Senate (Connecticut).

“The Democrats behind this bill have as little regard for democracy and open elections as Republicans who have use altered district lines and other methods to fix elections,” said D.C. Statehood Green Party activist T.E. Smith. “Hiding this strategem in a bill for public financing of campaigns makes it doubly shameful.”“An obvious motivation behind HR 4694 is panic over a Green insurgency.  Voters have realized that the Democratic Party has given President Bush and the GOP a pass on various abuses of power and radical actions, such as the invasion of Iraq and the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito, which most Democrats declined to filibuster.  The time is ripe for a noncorporate independent third party, and many Democrats are worried,” added Mr. Smith.

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