Bob Barr says Saddleback Church Obama/McCain event is an illegal contribution

Libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr’s campaign “will file for a preliminary injunction against Saddleback Church in Federal District Court in California on Friday, Aug. 15,” according to a press release from the Barr campaign.

Here is the rest of Barr’s press release:

The church, pastored by Rick Warren, intends to host a candidate forum with only presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain on Saturday, Aug. 16—an event the Barr campaign alleges runs afoul of campaign contribution laws.

“It is our opinion that the Saddleback Church forum failed to publish any pre-established, objective criteria for inviting candidates to the event,” says Russell Verney, Barr’s campaign manager. “Because of Saddleback’s apparent failure to comply with campaign finance laws, the exclusion of Bob Barr appears to be an illegal, corporate, in-kind contribution to Senators Obama and McCain.”

Federal election laws stipulate that an event such as the one Saddleback Church is hosting must provide pre-established and objective criteria for inviting candidates. A failure to do so can be considered an illegal campaign contribution.

“It is to our understanding that Pastor Warren simply contacted Senators McCain and Obama to invite them to participate in this forum,” says Verney. “We feel that the addition of Congressman Bob Barr to this event will expand the debate on issues and benefit those who watch and learn from the forum. The dialogue between the three main candidates in this election will educate and inform voters more so than a forum that restricts the discussion to the frequently heard talking points of Senators Obama and McCain.”

The injunction will be filed by attorney Robert Karwin, of the law offices of Robert P. Karwin in Sun City, California.

A hearing may be held this afternoon in the United States District Court, Central District of California.

Barr will be holding a news conference on Saturday, Aug. 16, in California, with time and location to be announced.

Bob Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, where he served as a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, as Vice-Chairman of the Government Reform Committee, and as a member of the Committee on Financial Services. Prior to his congressional career, Barr was appointed by President Reagan to serve as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and also served as an official with the CIA. Since leaving Congress, Barr has been practicing law and has teamed up with groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the American Conservative Union to actively advocate every American citizens’ right to privacy and other civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Along with this, Bob is committed to helping elect leaders who will strive for smaller government, lower taxes and abundant individual freedom.


Libertarian’s Bid To Join Saddleback Event Denied


SANTA ANA, Calif. A federal judge Friday denied Libertarian presidential hopeful Bob Barr’s bid to be included in a presidential forum in Lake Forest with Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama or stop the event as a violation of federal campaign law.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter refused to issue an order on behalf of Barr and Wayne Root, his vice presidential running mate, that would disrupt the Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion scheduled to begin Saturday at 5 p.m. at Saddleback Church.

“Plaintiffs will lose out on a fair amount of exposure and the opportunity to express their views in a popular forum,” Carter conceded. “On the other hand, halting this event would deny the other candidates the opportunity to be heard and would deprive the public of an opportunity to see the candidates and hear their views.

“Forcing Saddleback to include another candidate at the last moment could cause serious logistical problems and take away from the presentations of other candidate,” Carter said. “This might well disrupt the planned presentation.”

Carter said Barr and Root “will have many other opportunities in the coming months to express their views and make their candidacy known.”

Barr’s attorney, Robert Karwin, said Pastor Rick Warren failed to draw up objective criteria that candidates could prove they meet in order to participate, such as a minimum threshold of voter support.

Barr and Root are on the ballot in 37 states, including California, and polls have shown he has drawn 6 percent of nationwide respondents’ votes, Karwin said.

Attorney Robert C. Braun, representing Saddleback Church, said Warren could simply act to immediately set a certain level of criteria — such as one that the candidates have to demonstrate that can draw at least 15 percent of the vote — and Barr and Root still would not qualify.

Barr, a former Republican congressman from Georgia, is scheduled to speak at a town hall meeting Saturday at the Islamic Institute of Orange County in Anaheim.

(© 2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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