Wednesday, June 16, 2004


Via the Hamster.
Since October, Ralph Nader has run his campaign for president out of the same downtown Washington offices that through April housed a public charity he created -- an overlap that campaign finance specialists said could run afoul of federal laws.

Tax law explicitly forbids public charities from aiding political campaigns. Violations can result in a charity losing its tax-exempt status. In addition, campaign law requires candidates to account for all contributions -- including shared office space and resources, down to the use of copying machines, receptionists and telephones.

Records show many links between Nader's campaign and the charity Citizen Works. For example, the charity's listed president, Theresa Amato, is also Nader's campaign manager. The campaign said in an e-mail to The Washington Post that Amato resigned from the charity in 2003. But in the charity's most recent corporate filing with the District, in January, Amato listed herself as the charity's president and registered agent.

The office suite housing the campaign, the charity and other sub-tenants had a common receptionist for greeting visitors.

And Federal Election Commission records show the campaign paid rent to Citizen Works and Citizen Works' landlord. Nader said the campaign has taken over the charity's lease on its coveted location on 16th Street NW.


Jan W. Baran, a veteran campaign finance lawyer who represented televangelist Pat Robertson when his presidential campaign was audited by the FEC, said Nader's arrangement was unusual for a presidential candidate. "Even Pat Robertson didn't have his campaign organization at the Christian Broadcasting Network," Baran said. "His campaign headquarters were down the street in Chesapeake."