A spoiler in 2000, GOP donors are hoping Nadar will do the same in 2008. And it looks like he’s playing right into their hands. See the below article in the San Fransisco Chronicle:
GOP donors funding Nader
Bush supporters give independent’s bid a financial lift
Friday, July 9, 2004
Independent 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.
Nearly 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.
The 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.
“If 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.
“But 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 in that.”
But Camejo’s views differ with Nader’s recent defense of the contributions.
“We 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.”
But 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.
All have donated the maximum $2,000 to Nader’s campaign since April, records show.
Asked 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.
“(Kerry) 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.”
With just under four months left to the election, Nader has yet to qualify for a single state ballot.
A 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.
“He 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 Phil Trounstine.
Democrats 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.
Chris 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.”
But 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.”
Still, 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.
“Republicans 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.”
Whalen 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.
“Do the math,” Whalen said.
Nader, 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.
Bundling is the practice of gathering contributions together for maximum influence.
Records show Nader raised just more than $1 million for his presidential effort through May 31. Most of the money came from small, individual donors.
But Zeese said the Republican donors were “people whom Ralph knows from previous work.”
He 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.
“That was a house party,” Zeese said of the donations collected by Tanous.
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.”
“My 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.
She 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.
Tanous, records show, has also donated in the past to some Democrats, including $500 last year to House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.
Whalen 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.
“What’s 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$275,249Total contributions of $1,000 or more to Nader as of May 31
Contributions from those who have also given to Republican causes, including the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.
Among 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.
Source: Federal Elections Commission