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How Republicans Are Trying to Use the Green Party to Their Advantage

Republicans have also been active on the Greens’ behalf in Montana this year, where they bankrolled a signature-gathering effort to get Green Party candidates on the ballot. In a statement, Spenser Merwin, the executive director of the State Republican Party, said “the Montana Republican Party openly supported efforts to create additional options at the ballot box.”

But state regulators found that the party “failed to accurately report” its funding, and violated state campaign finance law. The Supreme Court recently rejected an effort to keep the candidates on the ballot.

There would seem to be little in common between the Green Party, with its mission to protect the environment, and the G.O.P., with its goals of eliminating environmental regulations. But distrust between the Green Party and Democrats goes back to Mr. Nader, and the role he may or may not have played in tilting the 2000 election in favor of George W. Bush. Mr. Nader won more than 97,000 votes in Florida in a race where less than 600 votes delivered the state to Mr. Bush.

Sometimes Republican aid is done without the Green Party’s knowledge, but sometimes it is overt. Carl Romanelli, the Green Party Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, acknowledged receiving financial support from Republicans to help him get on the ballot in 2006.

In 2010, Mr. Mooney helped organize a successful petition drive to get the Green Party on the ballot in the Texas race for governor, working with a Missouri-based nonprofit called Take Initiative America. Texas Democrats sued, and court documents revealed Take Initiative America received $532,500 in anonymous donations that they refused to reveal at the time. In the same election, Mike Toomey, a former chief of staff to Rick Perry, the Republican governor at the time, was also linked to an effort to help fund a Green Party ballot petition drive, though it never fully materialized.

This year, while the Green Party is already on the ballot at the presidential level in Texas, multiple congressional candidates failed to pay the required filing fees, and Democrats sued to have them removed. After the conservative-leaning Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Green Party, the State Democratic Party accused the court of taking “actions to benefit their own political party.”

Sometimes the Green Party itself is not only unaware of Republican efforts but has tried to restrain them. In 2009, the party filed a lawsuit in Florida to determine who had arranged for five unknown candidates to appear on the Green Party line.

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