presidential candidate Ralph Nader -- still not
on the ballot in a single state -- has received
a recent windfall of contributions from deep-pocketed
Republicans with a history of big contributions
to the party, an analysis of federal records show.
one in 10 of Nader's major donors -- those writing
checks of $1, 000 or more -- have given in recent
months to the Bush-Cheney campaign, the latest
documents show. GOP fund-raisers also have "bundled"
contributions -- gathering hefty donations for
maximum effect to help Nader, who has criticized
the practice in the past.
donations from wealthy Republicans -- combined
with increasingly vocal Democratic charges that
they represent a stealth GOP effort to wound Democrat
John Kerry -- prompted Nader's vice presidential
running mate, Green Party member Peter Camejo,
to suggest the consumer advocate reject the money
that doesn't come from loyal Nader voters.
there has been a wave of these (donations), then
that's something Ralph and I will have to talk
about -- and about returning their money,'' he
said Thursday in an interview with The Chronicle.
"If you oppose the war, if you're against the
Patriot Act, your money is welcome.
if your purpose is because you think this is going
to have an electoral effect, we don't want that
money. I take no money from people who disagree
with us,'' Camejo said. "We're not interested
Camejo's views differ with Nader's recent defense
of the contributions.
have no indication that the Republicans are trying
to maneuver support for us,'' he said at a recent
press conference. "There are three or four major
Republican donors who have contributed to my campaign.
But that's because I worked with them on a number
of issues. ... It's all very small, relatively
small, contributions. And we like it that way.''
the financial records show that $23,000 in checks
of $1,000 or more have come from loyal Republicans.
Among those who have given recently to Nader are
Houston businessman Nijad Fares, who donated $200,000
to President Bush's 2000 inaugural committee;
Richard J. Egan, the former ambassador to Ireland,
and his wife, Pamela, who have raised more than
$300,000 for Bush; Michigan developer Ghassan
Saab, who has given $30,000 to the RNC since 2001;
and frozen food magnate Jeno Paulucci, and his
wife, Lois, who have donated $150, 000 to GOP
causes since 2000 alone.
have donated the maximum $2,000 to Nader's campaign
since April, records show.
about the money from GOP backers, Nader campaign
spokesman Kevin Zeese countered that many of Kerry's
donors also had given to Republicans, including
Bush in the past.
should renounce those donations and give them
all back,'' he said. Pressed if Nader would do
the same, Zeese said that wouldn't even be discussed
"until (the parties) start to change the rules.''
just under four months left to the election, Nader
has yet to qualify for a single state ballot.
statewide poll by the Survey and Policy Research
Institute at San Jose State University released
Wednesday indicates that if Nader qualifies as
a presidential candidate on the California ballot,
the former consumer advocate would steal support
from the Democratic ticket almost exclusively.
would drain about 4 percent of Kerry's support,
almost all of it from Democrats, while having
a negligible impact on Bush's vote or his support
among Republicans,'' according to Institute director
are worried about Nader's influence because they
believe as a Green Party candidate in 2000, he
pulled votes that would have gone to Democratic
Vice President Al Gore in key states, thus helping
Bush win the election.
Lehane, a Democratic strategist who was a spokesman
for Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, said the
check-writing was not "a merely serendipitous
confluence of events,'' adding that "folks supporting
Bush because they want fewer environmental protections
and less corporate regulations don't have a lot
in common with the Ralph Nader agenda. The only
thing they have in common with Nader is they want
to take votes from Kerry.''
Christine Iverson, spokeswoman for the Republican
National Committee, calls such charges ridiculous,
adding: "It's unfortunate that Democrats seem
determined to disenfranchise voters who want an
opportunity to cast votes for Ralph Nader.''
other Republicans acknowledge that many in the
party have mentioned that a donation to Nader
may boost Bush, particularly in states where the
vote is expected to be close.
have no problem with it, if the goal is to keep
President Bush in office,'' said Hoover Institution
research fellow Bill Whalen, a veteran GOP strategist.
"It's not pretty. But putting a guy (in the White
House) you don't like is not pretty either.''
said the Republican National Committee or the
Bush-Cheney campaign can't technically condone
such donations, but "you absolutely want your
activists to get out there and help Ralph run''
because of the effects he had on the 2000 election.
the math,'' Whalen said.
who has decried the influence of corporations
in the political arena, also has received more
than $20,000 in "bundled'' contributions since
March from GOP fund-raisers, according to the
Federal Elections Commission documents that tally
donations through May 31.
is the practice of gathering contributions together
for maximum influence.
show Nader raised just more than $1 million for
his presidential effort through May 31. Most of
the money came from small, individual donors.
Zeese said the Republican donors were "people
whom Ralph knows from previous work.''
downplayed the bundled donations, such as $18,850
in checks collected and submitted to Nader in
May by Peter Tanous, president of Washington D.C.-
based Lynx Investment Advisories.
was a house party,'' Zeese said of the donations
collected by Tanous.
who also made a personal $2,000 donation to Nader
in May, was traveling and unavailable for comment
Thursday, but his wife, Ann, said that her husband
raised money for Nader because "he's a good friend.''
husband's a die-hard Republican who's supporting
(Nader) so that there are other voices, other
than the ones we're hearing in this election,''
particularly on issues that include Middle East
politics, she said.
declined to say whether her husband, who also
donated $4,000 to the Republican National Committee
and $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign this year,
would vote for Nader.
records show, has also donated in the past to
some Democrats, including $500 last year to House
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.
says that Nader is playing games when he suggests
that his donors are merely acting in friendship
and that his message will resonate with GOP faithful.
at the heart and soul of the Nader campaign? That
corporations are evil and that we need to get
out of Iraq,'' Whalen said.
Nader's Republican supporters
contributions of $1,000 or more to Nader as of
from those who have also given to Republican causes,
including the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.
Ralph Nader's top Republican donors:
Billionaire corporate executive John Egan of Massachusetts,
who has raised at least$200,000 for the president's
re-election campaign, donated $2,000 to Nader.
Nijad Fares, a Houston businessman, who donated
$200,000 to the Bush inaugural committee and who
donated $2,000 each to the Nader effort and the
Bush campaign this year.
David Reed, president of Washington-based Foundation
Petroleum Inc., who donated$1,000 to Nader and
$2,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign.
Jack and Laura Dangermond, both executives in
Redlands-based Environmental SystemsResearch Institute,
who each donated $2,000 to Nader's campaign and
the Bush- Cheneycampaign and $25,000 to the Republican
Congressional Campaign Committee.
Federal Elections Commission
Posted: July 11, 2004