The 2016 Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein has filed an appeal to the Federal Election Commission’s order that her campaign repay over $175,000 in federal public matching funds used by the campaign for ballot access drives in 2016.
On Friday October 1st, nearly 5 years after the end of Stein’s 2016 campaign, the FEC announced a decision that Dr. Jill Stein and Jill Stein for President must repay $175,272 within 30 days to the US Treasury.
On her website JillStein.net, Dr. Stein wrote, “we are fighting a decision by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that strikes another blow against open, fair elections by seriously limiting our ability to use federal public matching funds to gain ballot access.”
“Since our 2016 campaign account is all but closed, the FEC is holding me, as the candidate, personally liable for repaying this massive, unjust bill from my personal funds.”
“If the FEC ruling is allowed to stand, grassroots candidates running independently of the big money corporate parties will simply run out of money before overcoming onerous ballot access hurdles around the country.
To make matters worse, the precedent of receiving a ruinous bill from the government years after the election would be an obvious deterrent to future grassroots candidates who rely on matching funds to challenge power without selling out to corporate political machines. In many states this would also make it far more difficult to run in local ‘down-ballot’ races where Greens and other independents have had the most success.”
Within weeks, Dr. Stein announced that she had hired attorneys Oliver Hall of the Center for Competitive Democracy and Harry Kresky, both with years of experience successfully fighting for the rights of candidates outside the two-party system, and officially filed in early December to challenge the FEC’s decision in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.
Her legal team’s statement of issues to be raised on appeal challenges the FEC’s order on a number of fronts, from its timing five years after the election to the legal premise of the decision itself.
In Dr. Stein’s latest message, she wrote, “Above all, we’re preparing our legal case to defend public funding and ballot access for alternative parties and independent candidates. These are essential to voters’ right to choose. Without that we have just two corporate parties funded by the same economic elites. And that’s no choice at all.”
Readers can go to JillStein.net for updates on Dr. Jill Stein’s fight with the FEC and how to support her.