WASHINGTON — The Reform Party's disputed $12.6 million in federal campaign money belongs to Pat Buchanan, the Federal Election Commission said Tuesday.
Buchanan, the former Republican who is counting on the money to revive his presidential campaign, is entitled to receive it as the party's nominee, the FEC said in a 5-1 preliminary ruling.
The commissioners are expected to grant their final approval within days, authorizing the U.S. Treasury to give Buchanan a check. However, John Hagelin, who contends that he is the party's legitimate nominee, intends to appeal to federal court.
That could possibly further delay Buchanan's receipt of the money, since Hagelin officials said their attorneys will seek a federal injunction. Bob Roth, a Hagelin spokesman, said the appeal will be filed immediately after the FEC makes its final decision.
The Reform Party is due the money because of the 1996 election showing of party founder Ross Perot, who won 8% of the vote.