This week Connecticut resident, Ralph Nader, filed a 73-page civil rights lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee for President. The lawsuit claims the DNC and Mr. Kerry tried to prevent Mr. Nader from entering the 2004 campaign for president by blaming Mr. Nader for stealing votes from them during the 2000 presidential election.
“Defendants agreed and conspired that if Mr. Nader did run in 2004, they would launch a massive, nationwide unlawful assault of his candidacy, using unfounded litigation to harass, obstruct and drain his campaign of resources, deny him ballot access and effectively prevent him from running for public office,” the lawsuit claims.
In the lawsuit, Mr. Nader claims DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe called him June 23, 2004 and tried to dissuade him from campaigning in battleground states, and even offered him campaign assistance if he agreed. Mr. Nader declined Mr. McAuliffe’s request and that same day the DNC filed their first campaign lawsuit against him. Within the next 12-weeks 24 complaints filed against Mr. Nader and his running mate, in 17 states.
According to the lawsuit the complaints were brought not to vindicate the legal claims, but to bankrupt the Nader campaign. Mr. Nader also alleges conspiracy between all the named defendants.
The lawsuit says that what is worse that the “conspirators” continue to pursue “their wrongful litigation against Mr. Nader to the present day.”
One of the outstanding cases is in Pennsylvania where defendants enlisted the help of about 20 lawyers from three law firms. It says afterward the law firm of Reed Smith, also listed as a defendant in this case, submitted a bill for more than $81,000 in legal fees. “No state in the nation has ever assessed such a post-election penalty against candidates who defend their right to appear on the ballot, but the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania approved the bill without opinion” the lawsuit states. After it was appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and a divided court affirmed the ruling of the lower court, Mr. Nader learned that Reed Smith was also representing the chief justice in an ethics investigation and gave a second justice a $10,000 campaign contribution.