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FEC Dismisses Complaints Against GOP

The Federal Election Commission dismissed complaints that Republican and conservative groups improperly worked with Ralph Nader to get him on state presidential ballots last year.

The commission said it found no reason to believe that any of the groups had violated the law as Nader sought to qualify as an independent presidential candidate in Oregon, Michigan and New Hampshire.

Nader (search), who won 5 percent of the Oregon vote in 2000, failed to qualify for the Oregon ballot last year.

In Michigan, Nader finished a distant third with 24,035 votes, less than half of 1 percent. Nader also got less than 1 percent of the vote in New Hampshire. Democrat John Kerry (search) won all three states.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Nader said, "This is another frivolous complaint that the FEC has properly dismissed."

The consumer advocate was on the ballot in 34 states last year. But he was much less of a factor than in 2000, when Democrats say he siphoned votes from the party's nominee, Al Gore (search), in Florida, New Hampshire and elsewhere, giving the election to Republican George W. Bush.

Fearful of a repeat, Democrats in Oregon and other states worked to keep Nader off the ballot in 2004.

"The real complaint in Oregon was the way the secretary of state, the partisan Democrat, worked overtime to keep us off the ballot," Nader said.

Anne Martens, a spokeswoman for Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, a Democrat, said Nader could not get on the ballot in the state because "he and his staff couldn't follow the rules."

The Oregon complaint was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal-leaning watchdog group. The New Hampshire and Michigan were filed by state Democrats. They alleged that Republicans and conservative groups violated election laws by telephoning people and collecting signatures to help Nader get on the ballot.