FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chris Driscoll, 202-360-3273, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, July 10, 2008----Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader
today called on Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett to expand his
political corruption investigation by "moving up the political ladder
in Pennsylvania" to ferret out the masterminds behind the underhanded
and illegal effort to deny him access to the Pennsylvania ballot in
And Nader called on Attorneys General in others states--including Oregon, Ohio and Illinois--to launch similar probes.
"The Pennsylvania Democratic Party's effort to deny Pennsylvanians the choice of voting for the Nader-Camejo candidacy in 2004 appears to have been a criminal conspiracy massive in scale, involving virtually the entire House Democratic caucus, including its top leadership," Nader said. "The alleged misconduct extends beyond the misappropriation of public resources and taxpayer dollars, and strikes directly at the First Amendment right of all Pennsylvanians to choose their elected officials in open and competitive elections."
"But the effort to deny our right to ballot access was not relegated to a handful of Democratic Party operatives in Harrisburg," Nader said. "It was a nationwide campaign. I urge the Attorneys General of other states where we were denied--including Illinois, Ohio, Oregon--to launch similar investigations and to move up the ladder to determine the lead Democratic Party operatives who worked on this illegal operation against our 2004 campaign."
A state grand jury sitting in Harrisburg, Pa. today indicted 12 Democratic political operatives for the illegal use of millions of dollars in taxpayers' funds, resources and state employees for political campaign purposes. (See AG press release and indictment here)
The grand jury found that employees and resources of the House Democratic Caucus were historically and routinely used to conduct petition challenges against candidates who were opponents of Democratic House candidates or the Democratic Party.
The grand jury found that as many as 50 Democratic House Caucus staff members participated in the Nader petition challenge and contributed "a staggering number of man-hours."
A House Democratic employee testified before the grand jury that
"everybody was working on this."
"A veritable Army" of Democratic staffers were enlisted in the effort to deny Nader ballot status.
It was virtually a caucus-wide endeavor and many of the employees spent an entire week on the Nader petition challenge.
Upon the successful challenge to the Nader petition, former House Democratic Minority Whip Mike Veon sent an e-mail to his staff stating:
"FYI .great job by our staff! This would have never been successful without your work. You have given John Kerry an even better opportunity to win this state.one of the 5 most important states to win this year...This is a very significant fact and significant contribution by each one of you to the Kerry for president campaign.you should take great pride in your efforts."
"Attorney General Corbett indicated today that this indictment, although the culmination of a two-year grand jury investigation, is really just the beginning," Nader said. "We urge the Attorney General to investigate the role that others played in denying ballot access to the Nader-Camejo ticket, including the law firm Reed Smith, LLP, which apparently worked hand in hand with the House Democratic leadership to challenge our nomination papers, and any members of the judiciary involved in conflicts of interest or other inappropriate behavior in denying us ballot access and our the ability to defend our rights."