While Tea Party celebrated, Green Party seeks day in court

8 Nov

By Jennifer Schanz

While the Tea Party was tabulating the spoils of victory after the general election, the Green Party in Illinois was ready to go to court.

According to a party announcement, the Green’s gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney and U.S. Senate candidate LeAlan Jones filed suit against WTTW, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Public Broadcasting Service and its president and CEO, Daniel J. Schmidt, over their exclusion from debates prior to November’s elections.

Among the allegations are that WTTW, PBS and the CPB violated their status as a public entity, or 501c3 status by conducting debates that “influenced legislation as a substantial part of its activities… and participated in campaign activity for or against political candidates.”

The complaint also alleged, according to the release, that the Federal Communications Act, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Act, and lastly, that the First and Fifth Amendment rights of Whitney and Jones were violated by the exclusions.

According to Whitney, his being left out is as much an injustice to voters as it is to him and the rest of the Green Party. “To tell voters that their only choice is between Pat Quinn and Bill Brady is like telling them that they have a choice between driving off a cliff at 55 miles an hour and driving off a cliff at 60 miles an hour.”

The Illinois Green Party noted that it was legally regarded as one of the state’s three legitimate political parties for the Nov. 2 general election, pointing out Whitney’s 360,000 votes received in the 2006 gubernatorial election as substantial reasoning for both candidates’ debate inclusion.

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