(Oct. 13) -- Eyewitness News has learned Voters Outreach of America also has a connection to Ralph Nader's presidential campaign. The independent candidate was in Las Vegas Wednesday.
Eyewitness News has learned Voters Outreach of America collected signatures in Arizona for Ralph Nader and for Republican backed ballot initiatives.
Voters Outreach of America worked hand in hand in Arizona with JSM Incorporated, an organization known for working on Republican campaigns. JSM collected signatures for Nader in Nevada as well.
Democrats argue Ralph Nader pulls voters away from Democrat John Kerry, as both share similar messages. Nader argues it's the other way around. "Why is John Kerry suddenly going after big business and large corporate power? Because he wants to take away some of our voters so we've had some good effect on that," Nader said.
Nader's potential impact on Kerry isn't lost on Republicans. In July, Republican consultant Steve Wark admitted raising money for Nader's Nevada campaign in an effort to bolster President Bush. While Wark was raising money, JSM Incorporated, a known Republican consultant group, collected signatures to get Ralph Nader on the November ballot.
Nader acknowledges the company, but dismisses any Republican involvement in his campaign. "That's a laughing mockery if the Republicans wanted to get us on 50 state ballots they could have done it with a fifth of the money the Democrats have spent to keep us off the ballots. They have in a few states tried to collect signatures we've refused to take them. That's the critical issue," Nader said.
But Clark County election officials tell Eyewitness News they received and certified Nader petitions turned in by JSM. In a one on one interview this morning, Nader says JSM was working independent of his campaign. "There's no coordination that would be illegal."
But a track record of JSM and Voters Outreach working on similar plans in other states is raising questions about what is right and what is wrong when it comes to winning an election.
In August, Nevada democrats tried to remove Nader from the ballot, citing inconsistencies with JSM petitions. They claimed names and addresses didn't match up. Last month the Nevada Supreme Court ruled Nader could stay on the ballot.
JSM practices are also under review, or have been under review, in Arizona, West Virginia, Ohio and New Mexico. In those states, JSM was collecting signatures for Republican candidates, Republican initiatives, and Ralph Nader.
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