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THE RACE TO THE WHITE HOUSE

Reform Party Is Broke, Treasurer Tells Agency

August 11, 2004|From Associated Press

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The treasurer of the national Reform Party, which is supporting Ralph Nader for president, has told federal election officials that the party has $18.18 in the bank and should be terminated.

William D. Chapman said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he sent the Federal Election Commission a "request for termination based on guidelines the FEC had established for the Reform Party."

The FEC oversees fundraising and spending in national elections.

Chapman said his filing contended that national party leaders had failed to build the organization or foster "philosophical alignment among members and candidates."

Party leaders suspended Chapman as treasurer.

The national Reform Party conducted a telephone conference call to endorse Nader in May, providing him ballot access in at least seven states, including the battlegrounds of Florida and Michigan. Nader has had trouble gaining ballot access independently in some states.

Chapman said he did not support Nader's candidacy but that was not why he asked the FEC to terminate the party's fundraising authority. "It wouldn't have meant anything to me except the philosophical misalignment," Chapman said.

Reform Party Chairman Shawn O'Hara accused Chapman of leading a "minor coup."

"I love him and he's my friend, but he did wrong," O'Hara said in a telephone interview. While the national party's bank account was small, "we are in the process of rebuilding and raising money," O'Hara said.

FEC spokesman George Smaragdis said he could not comment about pending complaints or requests.

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