Friday, October 7, 2016

Court to hear FEC Debates challenge - in 2017

Libertarian Debate News: L.P. To Get a Day in Court Against Debate Access Restrictions, But Too Late for 2016; Florida Senate Candidate Paul Stanton Excluded from Debate - Hit & Run - - Brian Doherty:

October 6, 2016 - "The Libertarian Party, as I detailed back in May, was involved in two distinct lawsuits that could have resulted in presidential candidate Gary Johnson getting into the presidential debates.

"One of them, Johnson v. Commission on Presidential Debates, .... is now, according to lawyer Bruce Fein in an email today, 'on appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. No briefing schedule has yet been issued and thus no oral argument date.'

"A second lawsuit, targeted specifically at the Federal Elections Commission for its alleged failures to properly curb the Commission on Presidential Debates, had been awaiting a decision on motions for summary judgment from both parties for months. Its official name is Level the Playing Field v. FEC.

"Level the Playing Field is a 'nonpartisan, nonprofit corporation not affiliated with any candidate or candidate committee…[whose] purpose is to promote reforms that allow for greater competition and choice in elections for federal office, particularly for the Presidency and Vice Presidency.' The Libertarian Party and Green Party are also plaintiffs in that suit.

"This week, a date was announced for oral arguments on the motions for summary judgment. The catch: they are set for January 7, 2017, too late to affect the debates before the 2016 election....

"The latest motion for summary judgment argues that the CPD has always been a deliberated duopoly for the two major parties and has 'been violating FECA and FEC regulations limiting debate-sponsoring organizations' ability to use corporate funds to finance their activities' since its efforts are not truly 'nonpartisan.' The suit accuses the FEC [of] 'refus[ing] to enforce the law and ignored virtually all of this evidence in conclusorily dismissing the complaints even though there is plainly reason to believe that the CPD is violating FECA'....

"The suit accuses the CPD's 15 percent polling requirement to be admitted to the debate as being effectively 'impossible for an independent candidate who is not a self-funded billionaire to achieve'....

"The motion for summary judgment finally requests that:

The Court should grant summary judgment for Plaintiffs, and direct the FEC to do its job, which is to enforce the law and put an end to the CPD's biased, anti-democratic, and fundamentally corrupt and exclusionary polling rule.

Those arguments will now be made in court in front of Judge Tanya Chutkan, alas too late to matter for 2016 no matter the outcome.

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