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THE RACE TO THE WHITE HOUSE

Nader Office Use May Be Questionable

June 13, 2004|From the Washington Post

WASHINGTON — 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 forbids public charities from aiding political campaigns. Violations can result in a charity losing its tax-exempt status. The law also 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.

"There is nothing, no wrongdoing here," Nader said Friday.

The shared-space arrangement was vetted by an outside lawyer and is legal, Nader said, because his campaign has paid Citizen Works fair market value to rent office space.

"You can search until kingdom come," Nader said. "You'll find no cross-subsidies here."

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