Lawyers for the Socialist Workers Party said the party shouldn’t have to show the party faces “serious” threats of harassment and reprisals in order to be exempt from Federal Election Commission disclosure rules. Extensive written comments filed by party lawyers ahead of an April 20 FEC open meeting sought to persuade the commissioners they should extend the party’s unique, decades-old exemption from campaign finance law requirements to disclose donors and vendors. The fringe party’s long history of persecution should be enough for a continued waiver from having to disclose, the comments said, despite arguments that recent incidents have been few and relatively minor.
The party, known as the SWP, says it wants to abolish capitalism and promote the rights of workers. The party raises relatively little money and has fielded only a few, universally unsuccessful candidates.
An initial draft response to the SWP advisory request, released by the FEC earlier this year, would deny what previously had been almost routine renewal over nearly 40 years of the party’s exemption from disclosure rules. The initial draft said there were too few incidents of harassment of the SWP in recent years to justify the exemption.