President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have little need for public funding for their campaigns, given that, together, they have about $1 billion behind them. But Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, could use a little help: She had raised only $283,000 as of the end of July. Her campaign officials, however, say they are having trouble getting the public funding fast enough to pay the campaign debts. They have been quick to find a culprit and allege a minor conspiracy by Democrats on the Federal Election Commission, hinting that the commissioners are seeking to limit Stein’s ability to peel off liberals who would otherwise support Obama. In a letter to the panel, the campaign’s general counsel wrote, “It is our understanding that one reason for the delays . . . was due to that fact that the Democratic Commissioners were already in Charlotte, NC, for the Democratic National Convention, and were thus unavailable to sign off.”
Campaign manager Ben Manski echoed those concerns. “You have staff who have been diligent in working with us, but it’s unclear whether the commissioners themselves want to see this money released,” he said. “You have an election administration that is bipartisan — it’s not nonpartisan.”
Ellen Weintraub, one of the Democratic commissioners, said there is no basis for the Green Party’s charge. “I don’t know why they sent that — it’s not accurate,” she said of the letter. “Their request is being treated exactly the same as every other request that has ever been made. They got the standard form letter.” Further, commissioners often vote on matters remotely, Weintraub said.