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Nader's Refusal to Disclose Frustrates Green Party

Ralph Nader

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sept. 18) -- Green Party candidate Ralph Nader's refusal to disclose his personal and campaign finances is frustrating even some in his own ranks.

The question puts two of Nader's pet issues, candidate disclosure and tax privacy, at odds. But the latter won out. Nader told CNN last April, "I don't like to go against my principles and violate a position of privacy on the tax return."

Instead Nader is keeping his campaign spending under the $5,000 legal limit a candidate can spend without falling under federal disclosure rules. "I will comply with the government ethics laws if I'm going to spend money," he said.

"But I'm not going to spend money. I'm not going to raise or accept any money. I'm going to try to make a stand on a no-money campaign in order to punctuate the need for fundamental campaign finance reform," Nader said.

But skeptics question whether Nader's real motive is to hide his personal income made from his speeches, articles and books. Others don't believe that the Green Party can possibly wage a presidential campaign for under $5,000, and one group has already filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.

While many of his supporters see their candidate's stubbornness as just another aspect of Nader's quirky, private personality, some are becoming frustrated.

"We've told him to file. (We've said) 'You're running for president, you should disclose this,' " Green Party attorney Mark Dunlea told the Associated Press.

They also fear that Nader's imposed limitations may hinder the Green Party's growth. He has refused to allow the party to spend money to promote him or accept any type of donation. He also has cut himself off from party leaders, to avoid running afoul of campaign rules on coordinated expenditures.

Dunlea said, "At some point you've got to say if you're not allowing the party to build itself, you are kind of defeating the purpose of the entire campaign."

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