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E-mail From Washington

From: Carin Dessauer and Brooks Jackson/CNN
In: Washington
Posted 12-3-97

Subject: Reform Party Hopes For Taxpayer Aid

Ross Perot's Reform Party is trying to get taxpayers to pay for its lawsuits charging that during the 1996 campaign they were shut out of the presidential debates and that soft money was used inappropriately.

Reform Party Executive Director Russ Verney told CNN they are asking the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to let them use around $1.5 million of their leftover federal subsidies from the 1996 general election campaign to pay for their lawsuits.

The commission will most likely rule Thursday that the Reform Party cannot use the money for its lawsuits, arguing that it is not a campaign-related expense, sources close to the FEC tell CNN.

The Reform Party says it has $2.1 million left from the 1996 presidential campaign, and the party expects the lawsuits will cost $1.5 million.

Even if the FEC does not approve the use of the leftover federal subsidies, Verney said they will go forward with the lawsuits.

"We are lucky that we have someone [Perot] with deep pockets who can bankroll us," he said.

The FEC will make a decision Thursday in conjunction with several 1996 presidential campaign audits that they are reviewing.

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