Iowa group breaking the law by excluding gay presidential candidate

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Iowa group breaking the law by excluding gay presidential candidate

Fred Karger is a prominent Republican who is considering seeking his party’s Presidential nomination for 2012. He has visited Iowa six times over the past few months, and is already running commercials in the state. Regarding an upcoming candidate forum hosted by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, journalist Michael Jones notes that Karger has engaged in “more political activity than practically every candidate on the invite list.”

Yet Karger is the only potential candidate being excluded from the forum. In fact, IFFC President Steve Scheffler has gone further, saying in an email that “I will work overtime to help ensure that your political aspirations are aborted right here in Iowa.” Why? Because Fred Karger is gay. According to Scheffler, Karger cannot participate in the forum because Karger does not really want to be President. Instead, according to Scheffler, “you [Karger] and the radical homosexual community want to harass supporters of REAL marriage.”

Attention to fairness is expected of all tax exempt organizations when they engage in the act of informing voters. Federal law requires objective criteria to be used. Scheffler’s inference that because Karger is gay, he “is not a legitimate candidate” for President, violates federal law. By excluding Fred Karger solely because he is gay, the IFFC and Scheffler intend to break the law by seeking to influence rather than inform voters.

“The actions of the IFFC and Steve Scheffler violate federal election laws restricting express advocacy by tax-exempt organizations. I commend and support Fred Karger for his courage to stand up in defense of free, fair, and transparent elections,” said Christina Tobin, Free & Equal Founder and President.

Fred Karger has filed a complaint with the FEC. He has also set up a website, for people who want to protect Iowa’s reputation for free and equal elections.


Free & Equal is a nonpartisan, non-profit public-policy advocacy organization dedicated to election reform and improving ballot access laws in the United States.