WASHINGTON -- Former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader said Tuesday that settlement of a lawsuit contesting his exclusion from a campaign debate will help him push for future debate access for third-party candidates.
The executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates dismissed the commission's decision to buy out of the lawsuit as "an isolated incident" that will have no effect on commission activities.
Nader sued the commission under Massachusetts civil rights law for excluding him from a televised viewing of a presidential debate in an auditorium on the University of Massachusetts campus. The suit maintained he was discriminated against because of his political views and was prevented from giving interviews on campus.
Nader said under the settlement, the commission agreed to pay $25,000, and a security consultant for the commission will pay just over $25,000. The payments from their insurance firms -- not from commission funds -- goes to Nader's lawyers and to pay legal costs, say those on both sides.
Commission officials explained the expense of the lawsuit had become too much to bear for a nonprofit operation like the commission, which had fought it for more than a year.