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A left-wing organization masquerading as an "ethics watchdog" announced yesterday that it is filing a complaint against CSE with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The so-called Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), is a small D.C. outfit that, according to their own web site, is ideological in nature and is targeting organizations on "the right."
Unfortunately for CREW, CSE's voter outreach and issues education campaigns are not expenditures or electioneering and are permissible under the laws governing section 501(c)(4) organizations. There was no express advocacy so there cannot be a "corporate in-kind contribution" as claimed by CREW.
In Oregon last week, CSE organized a phone bank to about 1,000 members in the Portland area (phone script available at www.cse.org) and asked them to attend a weekend Nader event to qualify him for the ballot in Oregon. This effort to broaden the debate-- and ballot access-- is triggering the Left's attack.
In addition to CREW's action, the multi-million dollar, ultra-liberal front group funded by George Soros called Americans Coming Together (ACT) is scrambling to alert its members to CSE's activities and circulated anti-CSE materials at the Nader convention in Oregon and to the media in Wisconsin.
CSE is undeterred by these attacks, and plans to continue the Nader issue strategy with its activists in key battleground states like Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.
CSE President Matt Kibbe made the following statement:
"CREW is totally off-base. They never even bothered to contact us before filing their complaint. It is an organization that simply uses the election law process to harass conservative and free-market groups in an attempt to stifle legitimate political speech."
"Our activities in Oregon were vetted by outside legal counsel and are permitted. CSE members feel that it is very illuminating to place Ralph Nader on the ballot next to John Kerry to expose Kerry and his record. CSE works on a handful of key issues we call the Freedom Agenda, and on these key economic issues there is virtually no difference between Ralph Nader and John Kerry. They are both extreme liberals, they have no plan to save Social Security, they want to repeal the Bush tax cuts, and they support the trial lawyers and runaway lawsuits."