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August 30, 2000


WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 - A federal judge today threw out a case filed by Pat Buchanan's supporters to block rival candidate John Hagelin from running under the Reform Party banner.

Reform Party Chairman Gerry Moan, a Buchanan ally, had asked U.S. District Judge Norman Moon to grant a temporary injunction against Hagelin.

Dale Cooter, attorney for the Buchanan faction, tells ABCNEWS that Moon dismissed the request after determining that the case falls outside his jurisdiction.

Buchanan's supporters are trying to preserve the Reform Party name for their candidate and keep Hagelin from using the party's official Web site.

Dueling conventions earlier this month produced two "nominees" and they are both fighting for the party's $12.6 million in federal matching funds.... Leading the fight for Hagelin is Russ Verney, the former chairman of the party and a close ally of party founder Ross Perot....

FEC's Predicament

Before the ruling today, a spokeswoman from the Federal Election Commission - which must choose who will receive the federal funds - said the hearing might have an impact on the agency's decision. Following the ruling, Sharon Snyder of the FEC said it "won't directly impact the FEC's decision but it could have an impact" on who the states select as their nominee. Since the conclusion of the dueling conventions, the states have been faced with the difficult task of deciding who is the proper Reform Party nominee that will appear on state ballots in November. Some states have even resorted to drawing names from a fish bowl to choose the nominee. Must Be Approved in 10 States

Snyder said some of the states are waiting for the Lynchburg decision and that in turn could affect the FEC's decision. As part of the decision-making process, both candidates must prove to the FEC they are the official Reform Party nominee in at least 10 states. Once the FEC receives the candidates' paperwork, it has 10 days to respond to the request. Buchanan's camp submitted documentation of support in 10 states last Friday, but Snyder says some of these documents "may be deficient." However, since then the campaign has submitted further proof of support from five other states. Hagelin's campaign says they hope submit documentation by this Friday.

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