- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 11, 2004

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The treasurer of the national Reform Party, which backs independent Ralph Nader for president, has told federal election officials that the party has only $18.18 in the bank and should be terminated.

William D. Chapman Sr., said in a telephone interview yesterday that he sent the Federal Election Commission (FEC) a “request for termination based on guidelines the FEC had established for the Reform Party.”

The FEC oversees fund raising and spending in national elections.

Mr. Chapman said his filing contends that national party leaders failed to build the organization or to foster “philosophical alignment among members and candidates.” In response, the party leaders suspended Mr. Chapman as treasurer.

The national Reform Party held a telephone conference call to endorse Mr. Nader in May, providing him ballot access in at least seven states, including the battleground states of Florida and Michigan. Mr. Nader has had trouble gaining ballot access as an independent in some states.

Mr. Chapman said he does not support Mr. Nader’s candidacy, but that wasn’t why he asked the FEC to terminate the party’s fund-raising authority.

“It wouldn’t have meant anything to me except the philosophical misalignment,” he said.

Reform Party Chairman Shawn O’Hara accused Mr. Chapman of leading a “minor coup.”

“I love him and he’s my friend, but he did wrong,” Mr. O’Hara said in a telephone interview from Hattiesburg, Miss.

Although the national party’s bank account is small, “we are in the process of rebuilding and raising money,” Mr. O’Hara said.

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