Atlanta, GA – Libertarian Lieutenant Governor candidate, Ryan Graham has filed a legal complaint along with a motion for a preliminary injunction against the Georgia Attorney General, challenging the legality of the state’s “Leadership Committee Statute” (LC Statute).
The LC Statute allows for a “leadership committee” to be formed that can raise and accept donations beyond the current $7,600 individual limit imposed by law. However, there are added stipulations that must be met. The candidate seeking to fill a leadership committee must be running for a statewide office – such as Governor or Lieutenant Governor – and the state of Georgia must define their political organization as a “political party.” Under Georgia law, the Libertarian Party is considered a “political body,” and not a party for no reason other than the previous Libertarian candidate for Governor or President failing to receive at least 20% of the vote.
“Libertarians have a very similar setup as the Republicans and Democrats. We have bylaws and a platform, we hold conventions, and we run dozens of candidates,” says Graham. “It’s yet another way the two major parties work together to snuff out the competition.”
Graham is the former Chair of the Libertarian Party of Georgia and would like to chair his own leadership committee to help his campaign and other Libertarians statewide.
“They create barriers to stop someone like me from raising money to campaign against them. It is not only, a violation of a candidate’s rights, but a huge disservice to the voters in the state.”
Graham contends the LC Statute violates his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, in particular, the Equal Protection Clause within the Fourteenth, as he is prohibited from starting a leadership committee and is subject to a different set of rules than his opposition. Graham has polled as high as 8 percent in the polls for Lieutenant Governor—a number he is not ashamed of considering the limitations on his campaign. Graham believes expanding the LC Statute to include all political organizations would be a game changer in statewide elections as it would open the door to serious third party and independent contenders.
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