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Friday, April 30, 2004

Sharpton hits bias of FEC
Reviews legal options

New York - Reverend Al Sharpton hit the bias of the Federal Election Commission today in the wake of a ruling that the Democratic candidate had contributed more than the legally allowable limit to his own campaign while receiving Federal matching funds.

"I recognize that the Federal Election Commission is under enormous pressure from right-wing groups seeking to deny my campaign matching funds through a series of spurious complaints," said Sharpton.  "We disagree with the F.E.C. ruling and are reviewing our legal options including the possibility of litigating.

"The F.E.C. is trying to deny me the right to earn a living.  All my life I have been traveling as a civil rights leader and minister trying to speak out for those for whom no one is representing.  Now the F.E.C. wants to call those trips political if I spend 2 hours at a fundraiser out of four days of speaking to civil rights groups.  This will not stand."

Sharpton Campaign manager Charles Halloran noted that the same conservative organizations who have filed complaints against Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Richard Gephardt and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had objected to Sharpton?s receiving of matching funds.

"We fully expected this and are prepared to fight.  The FEC cannot be allowed to do the bidding for these right-wing hate groups.  Reverend Sharpton should be held to the same standard as every other candidate, not a higher one", said Halloran.  "Furthermore, the Bush Campaign subsidizes its efforts with millions of Federal dollars and the FEC does nothing".

Sharpton attorney Stan Brand is evaluating the possibility of legal challenges to the F.E.C. decision.  "We can find no precedent for the F.E.C. to deny funds to a bona fide national candidate and we also question the legal basis upon which the F.E.C. has acted."