[Marxism] From a Socialist Party officer on Nader as ally of racists and Republicans...

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Sat Jun 26 20:26:29 MDT 2004



-----Original Message-----
From: Michael C. Marino [mailto:action_chair at yahoo.com] 
Sent: Saturday, June 26, 2004 9:39 PM
To: SocialistsUnmoderated at yahoogroups.com
Cc: RedBadBear at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [SocialistsUnmoderated] Less green, more mean, Nader got new
friends- racists and Republicans

Less green, more mean, Nader got new friends- racists
and Republicans

     Nader's Dubious Raiders
   
Exclusive: Ralph's Arizona ballot tactics are worse
than this week's Democratic lawsuit alleges. Some
petitions piggybacked on a reactionary anti-immigrant
initiative -- and others were paid for by a former
executive director of the state GOP. 

   After four decades of tireless crusading for
consumer's rights and against corporate influence over
government, Ralph Nader has developed an unblemished
luster of integrity. However, as Nader forges ahead
with his long-shot, independent presidential candidacy
in an especially heated election season, he appears to
be shedding the conviction that has formed the core of
his politics for so long in favor of political
expediency. 

   In its effort to get on the ballot in the key
battleground state of Arizona, the Prospect has
learned, the Nader campaign hired a petition company
that is also gathering signatures for a draconian
anti-immigrant initiative pushed by right-wing
elements in the state. The initiative, called Protect
Arizona Now (PAN), would restrict access to public
services by undocumented immigrants. 

   In addition, according to several sources, the
Nader campaign was assisted in its petition drive by
an unlikely figure: the ultra-conservative former
executive director of the Arizona Republican Party,
Nathan Sproul. Sources say Sproul -- who is also
spearheading an initiative to block public funding
from political campaigns in the state -- made payments
to the petition contractors working on his
public-funding initiative to gather signatures for
Nader as well. 

   Moreover, according to several sources, the
signature-gathering drive for PAN is mostly funded by
the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR),
a Washington-based anti-immigrant group that has spent
tens of millions in the last two decades to roll back
the rights of both legal and illegal immigrants living
in the United States. 

   The Arizona ballot drive was never the grassroots
effort that Nader characterizes his campaign as. In
trying to garner the 14,694 signatures necessary to
get on the Arizona ballot, the Nader campaign first
unsuccessfully solicited a Republican consulting firm
to handle its ballot-qualification bid. This spring,
as droves of professional petitioners descended on
Arizona like traveling carnival folk to gather
signatures for PAN -- and to collect the $2-4 that a
petitioner is awarded for each signature delivered --
they also presented signatories with the Nader
petition, according to several sources. This petition
piggybacking helped Nader get more than the amount of
signatures he needed to qualify for the ballot -- most
of them from Republicans. In fact, according to a
volunteer for the Arizona Democratic Party who has
reviewed Nader's signatures, of the more than 21,000
signatures Nader garnered, a whopping 65 percent
percent came from Republicans, compared to 18 percent
from Democrats. 

   Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese said, "We only heard of
Sproul a week ago from media reports. We received
20,000 signatures, and we paid for 20,000 signatures,
so I'd be surprised if any of this is true." 

   "As people make their decision on who they're going
to vote for based on candidates' ideals and how they
present themselves, the methods by which Ralph Nader
tried to get on the ballot in Arizona should make
voters question what his real motives are in running
for president," said Sarah Rosen, press secretary for
the Arizona Democratic Party, which is challenging
Nader's petitions in the state and trying to knock him
off the ballot. 

   Nader's bid for the Arizona ballot began this
spring when members of his campaign sought a contract
with Arno Political Consultants, a California-based
Republican consulting firm that has handled past
ballot-qualification efforts for GOP icons like Ronald
Reagan and George H. W. Bush, as well as
anti-immigrant groups like U.S. English. 

   Arno's client list also comprises a virtual Who's
Who of the corporate cartels Nader routinely rails
against, including Occidental Petroleum, Phillip
Morris, and Wal-Mart. Arno Political Consultants
rebuffed the Nader campaign's request. "I thought it
would be bad for us to go in with anyone like Nader,"
said the company's co-director, Michael Arno. "And
even though I don't know [George W.] Bush personally,
I have a relationship with some of the people close to
him, so I didn't want to be part of anything that
could be seen as nefarious. I have too much respect
for the process." Despite the rejection, Arno says, he
has been repeatedly approached by members of Nader's
campaign this month to handle their ballot
qualification effort in New Mexico. He has refused
these appeals as well. 

   Arno referred Nader's campaign to Jenny Breslyn,
owner of the Florida-based petition contractor JSM
Inc., who promptly accepted a contract with the Nader
campaign. Breslyn was already in Arizona at the time,
subcontracted by Arno to oversee PAN's
ballot-qualification effort. Breslyn's signature
gatherers bundled Nader's petitions with the PAN
petitions; as a result, signatures from Republicans,
whom polls show are far more likely than Democrats to
support PAN, came pouring in for Nader. 

   Not only did the bundling of Nader's petitions with
PAN apparently help Nader's ballot-qualification
effort, but by pumping more prize money into an
already lucrative signature-hunting season for
professional petitioners, the Nader campaign may have
inadvertently helped PAN. "Petitioners are carrying
bunches of petitions out there. So one way or another,
the petitions benefit from each other," explained
Arno. "The more petitions you put in their hands, the
more chance you give [petitioners] of making money. In
general terms, everybody benefits when there's more
money around." 

   Nader's Arizona campaign coordinator, Cheryl
Rohrick, claimed she was unaware Nader petitions were
bundled with PAN petitions. "I didn't know if they
[Breslyn's petitioners] were gathering signatures for
other initiatives and neither did [Nader campaign
manager] Theresa Amato," Rohrick said. Though Rohrick
stated her personal opposition to PAN, Nader has yet
to publicly denounce the initiative. 

   Nor has Nader denounced the covert assistance his
Arizona ballot-qualification effort received from
Sproul, who is currently running the No Taxpayer Money
For Politicians" initiative, a right-wing effort to
ban candidates from receiving public financing.
According to several sources, two of the contractors
Sproul hired to oversee petition gathering for No
Taxpayer Money For Politicians -- Aaron "A.J." James,
who directs Voters' Outreach of America, and Diane
Burns -- were also paid by Sproul to get as many
signatures as possible for Nader. 

   "Aaron [James] told me he was out there getting
signatures for Nader. So I can only assume that Diane
[Burns] was too," said Derek Lee, who, as owner of Lee
Petitions, was part of the traveling petition carnival
that descended on Arizona this spring. "The only thing
I can tell you for sure is that Aaron was working with
Nathan [Sproul] on this Nader thing. I've heard that
from a number of people but they put the hush-hush on
it real quick." 

   Reached by phone, Burns and James were clearly
nonplussed; when asked if they were hired by Sproul to
get signatures for Nader, both immediately hung up.
Neither responded to follow-up interview requests. 

   According to a source who monitored petitioning in
Arizona this spring, Sproul covered his tracks by
having his secretary deliver Burns and James' Nader
petitions to Breslyn, who was operating out of "a
low-end motel" in Scottsdale. Upon receiving the
petitions, the source says, Breslyn mixed them in with
her own. Breslyn did not deny receiving petitions from
Sproul: "I wasn't there [at the motel] all the time. I
can't discuss my clients with you," Breslyn said. "I
don't really even know Mr. Sproul. He is not one of my
regular clients. I don't like to give interviews," she
continued. 

   Sproul rejected an interview request. However, on
June 8, he commented, "I'm not being paid by anybody
to do petitions [for Nader], and I've not paid anybody
to do petitions." 

   Sproul's machinations are nothing new: According to
Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of
Church and State, when Sproul was the Arizona field
director for the Christian Coalition in the early
1990s he encouraged members to run for Republican
precinct committee chairs and mislead voters about
their Christian Coalition affiliation. 

   Though Sproul's efforts helped Nader qualify for
the Arizona ballot by an overwhelming margin, their
victory may be short-lived. On Wednesday, two
Democratic voters supported by the Arizona Democratic
Party filed a lawsuit alleging, among other things,
that more than 14,000 of Nader's signatures were
invalid because they came from unregistered voters and
convicted felons, who are barred from voting by
Arizona state law. The lawsuit also alleges that
several petition contractors -- including Diane Burns
-- falsified their home addresses, thus disqualifying
them as registered voters. "According to what we've
found and according to the laws of the state, Ralph
Nader simply does not qualify for the ballot," stated
Rosen of the Arizona Democratic Party. 

   Rumors are circulating through Arizona's political
circles that the Democratic lawsuit could include
subpoenas for people from Sproul's shop. Sproul and
his employees are keeping mum, but if and when the
subpoenas arrive, it may be time for at least one of
them to talk. 

   Max Blumenthal is a freelance writer based in Los
Angeles. Visit his blog at
http://www.maxblumenthal.blogspot.com
  
   Copyright C 2004 by The American Prospect, Inc.


 





More information about the Marxism mailing list