The Washington Times last week published an article by Bradley Smith, former FEC Chairman, about federal campaign matching funds - you know, when you check off on your income tax (or not) saying that $3 should go into a fund for candidates who qualify. In the article, Smith takes the tax financing advocates to task for claiming to be "reformers"or something, and gives us a stern warning about who actually gets the money (Fringe Candidates, shudder). Smith says then, like a good father handing the keys to the family car to his unruly teenager, "Voters understand, however, that the money has to come from somewhere, and if it's being spent to subsidize the presidential campaigns of Larry Agran, Lyndon LaRouche and Lenore (sic) Fulani, it can't be spent on Hurricane Katrina relief, body armor for troops, or anything else without offsetting budget cuts, tax increases or deficit spending." Is he serious? Anyway, below is a letter to the editor from Lenora Fulani's attorney Harry Kresky: - NH
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
April 23rd, 2006
Making way for a third-party candidate
There is surely much that is wrong with existing public financing programs. Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley Smith ("The reformers' earmark," Commentary, April 15) has been a leader in exposing how over-regulation has impeded the ability of citizens to make their voices heard and subjected candidates and their supporters to a maze of complex regulations that only a handful of lawyers understand.
It's unfortunate that, having left the FEC, Mr. Smith has now decided to use my client Lenora Fulani and other third party candidates as foils for his attack on public financing of presidential campaigns as one more example of government waste.
Indeed, it may be that the only positive thing about public financing is that it does make it possible for independent and third party candidates to mount meaningful, if not competitive, campaigns.
Lenora Fulani made good use of federal funds to run a campaign that helped expose the extent to which the two-party monopoly of our electoral system deprives voters of meaningful choices.
Mr. Smith would do better to focus on how major-party candidates such as John Kerry received tens of millions of dollars in public funding at the same time that his campaign and his party organized a nationwide effort to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot in as many states as possible during the 2004 presidential election.
He would also do better to refrain from taking Mrs. Fulani's words, written in a 1989 review of a play, out of context in a way that distorts her meaning.
Law Offices of Harry Kresky New York