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Is Ralph Nader REALLY who we think he is?

I have supported Ralph Nader and have said that I'd vote for him, but now I'm rethinking that, but I'm not making any judgements or decisions yet. I found this article about him which is rather unsettling. I don't know if this is true or not or what he would have to say about it. It's posted below. Anybody care to comment?
Busted a union among his workers:
Ralph talks big about democracy and even unions. But when his own workers at one of his magazines, Multinational Monitor, got fed up with cruel working conditions and started agitating for a union of their own, Nader busted the union with all of the hardball techniques used by corporate owners across America. Workers at Public Citizen, another Nader group, also tried to form a union because of 60 to 80 hour work weeks, salaries that ranged from $13,000 down, and other difficult working conditions and were blocked by Nader, who remains unapologetic to this day.
Nader says "I don't think there is a role for unions in small nonprofit 'cause' organizations any more than ... within a monastery or within a union."

When ringleader Tim Shorrock filed the union recognition papers, Nader immediately transferred ownership in the Multinational Monitor to close friends who ran an organization ("Essential Information") that Nader had set up. When Shorrock showed up for work the next day, he had been fired, the locks were changed, and management called the police to charge him with theft (of his own work papers.) That charge was thrown out of court, but management fired the two supportive editors and sued the three of them for $1.2 million, agreeing to drop the intimidation suit only when they dropped their NLRB complaint. All of these action are straight from the hardball anti-union playbook, and Nader makes no apology.

According to Nader, "Public interest groups are like crusades... you can't have work rules, or 9 to 5." Shorrock, with his "union ploy," became an "adversary" according to Nader. "Anything that is commercial, is unionizable," but small public interest organizations "would go broke in a month," Nader says, if they paid union wages, offered union benefits and operated according to standard work rules, such as the eight-hour day. Remember that Nader's well-funded organizations were amassing tons of extra money that Ralph has been playing the stock market with during all these events.

Sources -- Back to the top

Abuses workers --
"How can we go out and try to save the world from people when we're grinding people to death all the time?"-- John Esposito, original staffer at Nader's Center for the Study of Responsive Law
"Nader strikes me as conforming to the stereotype people have of sociologists and politicians: they bleed for the poor and downtrodden but mistreat their maids." -- David Sanford

Like many Washington politicians, Ralph Nader's groups have long taken advantage of earnest young ambitious workers, with two differences; Nader was more controlling and paid far less. In 1976, many were paid $5,000 per year and only a few at the top made as much as $20,000. (Nader's organizations refuse to release information on what they pay workers.) Meanwhile, Nader required daily logs of everything the workers did from 7am to 9pm, plus monthly summaries of these logs. If you didn't turn in your logs, you didn't get paid.

Nader often called workers after midnight or on sunny weekend days, with instructions, or just to test their willingness to work hard. When a revolt over working conditions broke out in the Congress Project and students demanded a group session with Nader, he contemptuously scheduled a meeting at 7:00 am, believing that few would show up.

9 marriages of staffers broke up under the pressure, including John and Nancy Esposito's, Mark Green's, Sid Wolfe's, and Davitt McAteer's.

What makes this meanness worse is that Nader claims to be defending workers -- for example in opposing the GATT treaty -- and that his organizations have a huge surplus of money, accumulating millions of dollar with which Ralph has played the stock market.

Sources -- Back to the top

Amassing millions of dollars and playing the stock market with it:
Unlike almost every other nonprofit organization, Nader's various groups often amass a nontaxable profit of several hundred thousand dollars per year, and have rapidly build up impressive net worth's -- which Ralph refuses to reveal in his annual reports. (His lame reply is that people who are interested can get the information by getting every year's annual report and doing the math. So much for openness.)
The book "Abuse of Trust" carefully documents the money amassed and stocks played for 6 major groups, including Public Citizen, Inc. and the Center for the Study of Responsive Law, his two largest groups. Public Citizen, Inc., in particular, amassed money so quickly that it bought an old FBI building for $1.25 million IN CASH in 1980, only its eighth year of existence.

One reason he may hide his ample cash reserves -- besides the fact that people may not want to give him more money -- is that he is fond of playing the stock market with that green. (He also uses surpluses from his most flush organizations, usually the tax deductible ones, to give grants to his other groups.) Some of these transactions appear reckless for a nonprofit, "public interest" group; others skirt the edges of insider trading and conflict of interest. Mostly, it seems that all this money was a toy that Nader enjoyed playing with, especially as his winnings increased his power, fame and influence.

For example, the Nader is the president and treasurer of the Public Safety Research Institute. In 1970 alone, PSRI traded on the stock market 67 times, buying and selling $750,000 worth of stock, though the organization only had $150,000 worth of assets. These trades included a number of short sales, high risk and tricky transactions. Some worked, some lost money. In later years, PSRI traded less, for a good reason -- the IRS audited them after 1970 and charged the organization with "churning", excessive stock trades whose risk threatens the charitable purposes of the organization. It paid a fine and did not contest the charge. Thereafter, PSRI continued to play the market with fewer, generally long positions. Likewise, the Safety Systems Foundation (SSF) -- run by Nader's sister, and entirely funded by him personally -- engaged in a number of stock and bond transactions in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was also fined by the IRS and paid without contest.

Several of these trades were poised to take advantage of Nader's activities, by selling short the stock of companies Nader's groups attacked, or buying stock of their competitors. In 1973, PSRI bought stock in Allied Chemical, the primary manufacturer of airbags, on the very day before GM announced they would offer optional airbags on 1974 models. PSRI made a 12.5% profit in 3 and a half months. In 1976, PSRI and the SSF bought stock in Goodyear just as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- then run by former top Nader aide Joan Claybrook -- announced an investigation of the Firestone 500 series of steel-belted radials. The 2 organizations held onto the stock for 2 years until there was a recall, and Firestone -- Goodyear's major competitor -- suffered.

In 1970, IT&T attempted to merge with the Hartford Fire Insurance Company. Nader filed a 50 page brief attacking the merger, then SSF sold IT&T stock short. It made almost 10% on its money in 6 DAYS, then closed its position two days before the merger was approved. When pressed by a reporter, Nader said the timing was "mere coincidence" and said he had no control over the investment. However, his sister Laura Nader Millerson was the sole trustee of SSF throughout its existence, and Nader was the sole contributor.

Sources -- Back to the top

Secrecy and stonewalling:
Ralph exhibits a driven secrecy and paranoia reminiscent of no one so much as Richard Nixon, his old enemy. The man who said "information is the currency of democracy; its denial must always be suspect" routinely refuses to release even basic information about himself or his organizations. Granted, he has enemies, but this trait goes back to when no one knew of him. In the mid-1960s, before "Unsafe At Any Speed" made him famous, Nader wrote for the New Republic Magazine and often gave the secretary there a false name (Mr. Wilson) when he called or visited. Even then, he made some of his phone calls in whispers or in code to thwart possible wiretappers.
Another Nixonian trait of Nader's is a tendency to cover-up. When pressed or challenged, he has lied, shunted responsibility onto his staff members, made them reconstruct documents, hidden his control over his own organizations, attacked the press or critics involved, or simply refused to release information with lame excuses.

There are many examples:
-- Ralph refuses to release his tax returns (as Clinton and Dole have)
-- He even says he will spend less than $5,000 in this presidential campaign so he won't have to file the minimal financial disclosure all other candidates have filed.
-- Two of his top aides even refused to give the address of Nader's office to two Congressman who requested it at a Congressional Hearing.
-- His main group, Public Citizen, has actively fought disclosure laws that would inform the public of the role that special interest groups -- such as his -- play in lobbying on legislation. (e.g. H.R. 81 in the 96th Congress)
-- Public Citizen refused to give information to the Better Business Bureau or the similar NIB when requested.
-- He runs a network of organizations, which he claims are independent -- but his brother, sister and cousins hold major leadership positions with several, Nader heads advisory boards for others, and he is the only or major financial donor to 3 groups. Many other groups are funded in whole or in part by other groups in the network that Ralph does directly control.
-- Ralph even incorporated one of his groups -- the Public Safety Research Institute -- in Delaware, because of its notoriously lax corporate laws,
-- As of 1982, his groups disregarded the charitable solicitation laws of 25 by not filing legally required registrations. At least 1 state (New York) had to pursue Public Citizen, Inc. and the Center for the Study of Responsive Law (Nader's 2 biggest groups) legally to try and force them to obey the law.
-- After the first attacks on him for being owned by trial lawyers, he distorted facts, attacked the press and forced am employee to create a false history to cover up the scandal. The employee, Lowell Dodge, later fell out with Nader and revealed this cover-up.

Sources -- Back to the top

Vindictive toward critics:
Another authoritarian trait of Nader's is his inability to tolerate any criticism. Journalists who question his excesses are inevitably accused of personal vendettas, or being tools of industry.

Politicians get worse: Nader called one Congressman who opposed the Consumer Protection Act "a disgustingly repulsive, slimy double-crosser." He called another a "pathological liar" and a "corrupt, lying anti-people crook." His crime? Opposing a bill to mandate air bags. Nader went on to say that people who opposed mandatory airbags were the kind that would "sell thalidomide to pregnant women."

Even his own workers face Ralph's wrath for leaving after years of grueling, underpaid and loyal work. James Fallows, author of a recent book critiquing the media, worked for Nader at the start of his career. He wrote: "I think you won't find many people who have had a pleasant parting with Ralph. It's usually pretty ugly when the separation comes, and I think it's largely that by leaving you seem to make a choice... a 'if you're not with us you're against us' sort of thing."

Penn State's Board of Overseers declined Nader's PIRG group's coercive funding and voted instead to let students check a box to make a donation (like presidential campaign funding on 1040 tax forms) -- a perfectly reasonable compromise. Nader blasted this plan as a "sabotage technique" and "tyranny 1776 style," and then announced an investigation of the school's trustees for "conflicts of interest."

Sources -- Back to the top

Forced contributions to his college PIRG groups:
College PIRG groups, which Nader founded and leads despite his denials of control, use an astonishingly undemocratic, even coercive funding mechanism that Ralph designed. Once a college approves, all students are automatically billed a few dollars out of their student fees to support the local PIRG. To avoid paying, students must make a special trip to the Registrar and fill out a form so they can get their $2-6 back.
Most don't of course, out of inertia or because they aren't even aware they're funding Ralph. That's why record and book clubs use the same mechanism. Nader, like most consumer advocates, opposes these billing methods as a rip-off - unless they fund his own groups. One PIRG worker estimated that at Penn State alone, forced payments would have brought in $270,000 a year, while a voluntary checkoff would only have raised $30,000

These forced payments brought over a million dollars a year to PIRGs even back in the mid-1970s. (Nader's PIRG group won't release the total amount.) At least 145 colleges in 20 states were involved.

When Penn State turned down this method in favor of a box students could check to donate, the PIRG refused it. Nader attacked the school viciously, as described above.

Sources -- Back to the top

By many accounts, Ralph has a fear of germs that may well be hypochondriacal. When he was interviewed in July 2000 for CNN, his main concern before the interview was "Did you wash that [earpiece]?". According to his former editor David Sanford, Nader refuses dinner invitations from anyone with pets, because he thinks cats cause leukemia, and simply hates dogs.
Sources -- Back to the top


<" http://www.earth1.net/~ricjan/yates.html">"Nader is a Pain in the Ass", by Brock Yates, The Windmill, November 1971

----------Anti-democratic Authoritarian Sources
"Abuse of Trust: A Report on Ralph Nader's Network", Dan Burt, (Chicago: Regnery Gateway) 1982 p16-17

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----------Hypocrite Sources

"Me & Ralph: Is Nader Unsafe for America?", David Sanford (New Republic Books) 1976, p19-20

"Abuse of Trust: A Report on Ralph Nader's Network", Dan Burt, (Chicago: Regnery Gateway) 1982

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----------Secret Luxury House sources

"Me & Ralph: Is Nader Unsafe for America?", David Sanford (New Republic Books) 1976, p23-26

"Ralph Nader, Inc.", Forbes Magazine, September 17, 1990 p119, 122

--- Back to the top

----------Owned by the Trial Lawyers Sources
"Dems Step Up to Well-Stocked Plaintiff Bar", Wall Street Journal, September 4, 1992 pA6/A8

"Forbes' Raid on Nader", Washington Post, September 10, 1990 pB1, B10

"Public Citizen's Non-Disclosure", Wall Street Journal, March 17, 1992 pA14

"Ralph Nader is a bargain for trial lawyers at $1,000 a table", by L. Gordon Crovitz, Wall Street Journal, November 14, 1990 pA15

"Naderite Mossbacks Lose Control Over Corporate Law", Wall Street Journal, June 24, 1992

"Tortmeisters In the Sun", Wall Street Journal, October 30,1990 pA18

"Me & Ralph: Is Nader Unsafe for America?", David Sanford (New Republic Books) 1976, p33-42

"Ralph Nader, Inc.", Forbes Magazine, September 17, 1990 p119, 122

"L. Ron Nader" (editorial), Wall Street Journal, June 25, 1991

"A Chink In Nader's Armor?", Leah Young, The New Republic, September 2, 1972

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----------Just a Politician Sources
Los Angeles Times, March 19, 1996

$1000/plate: "Abuse of Trust: A Report on Ralph Nader's Network", Dan Burt, (Chicago: Regnery Gateway) 1982 p14-15

1976 run - "Me & Ralph: Is Nader Unsafe for America?", David Sanford (New Republic Books) 1976, p1-5 --- Back to the top

----------Union Busting Sources
"Anti Labor Chapter Surfaces in Nader's Past ", by Heather Szerlag, Pacifica Radio News, October 31, 2000 (starting at 10:45 into the half hour broadcast - slide your RealAudio player forward to that point.)

"Union Buster? The NADER?", by Nick Mamatas, Greenwich Village Gazette, Vol. 5, #44, September 15, 2000

"1.75 Cheers For Ralph", Left Business Observer, October, 1996 (see the section "Ralph As Boss")

"Nader Is A Union Buster" (email), by Tim Shorrock (one of the fired workers), The Sixties-L Listserv, June 27, 2000

"Editors Claim Firing By Nader Based on Unionization Attempt," by Peter Perl, Washington Post, June 28, 1984 pB3

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----------Abusing Workers Sources
"The Low-Paid Affluent in Public-Interest Work", by S. Robert Lichter and Stanley Rothman, New York Times, July 18, 1983 (letter to the editor responding to Nader's charges in the next article)

"Washington Talk Briefing: One Survey, Two Views", by James Clarity and Phil Gailey, New York Times, June 29, 1983, pA14

"Me & Ralph: Is Nader Unsafe for America?", David Sanford (New Republic Books) 1976, p60-65

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----------Amassing Money Sources
Ralph Nader's official financial disclosure form for year 2000, Open Secrets web site

"Inside Nader's stock portfolio", by Jake Tapper, Salon Magazine, October 28, 2000

"Abuse of Trust: A Report on Ralph Nader's Network", Dan Burt, (Chicago: Regnery Gateway) 1982 p81-95

"Nader Pays $1,250,000 Cash for Old Office Building", Ann Zimmerman, Washingtonian, June 1980, p11 (cited in Abuse of Trust)

"Nader Undaunted by Setbacks to Consumer Drive", Joseph Lleyveld, New York Times, November 24, 1975 p1

"Me & Ralph: Is Nader Unsafe for America?", David Sanford (New Republic Books) 1976, p28-31

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----------Secrecy and Paranoia Sources
Tax returns and campaign reports: Newsweek, "How Much Is He Worth?", April 8, 1996 p6

Bernard Shaw interview with Nader, CNN Inside Politics, April 9, 1996

"Public Citizen's Non-Disclosure", Wall Street Journal, March 17, 1992 pA14

"Abuse of Trust: A Report on Ralph Nader's Network", Dan Burt, (Chicago: Regnery Gateway) 1982 p 31, 16-17, 80-95

Generally, and New Republic false name: "Me & Ralph: Is Nader Unsafe for America?", David Sanford (New Republic Books) 1976, p18-22, introduction p.xi-xii, p11, p19-23

Information denial must always be suspect quote: "Abuse of Trust", p139, citing Good Housekeeping

Wouldn't give Nader's office address out: "Abuse of Trust", p119-120, 124

Refused info to BBB & NIB: "Abuse of Trust", p118-119

Opposed HR 81: "Abuse of Trust", p119, 124, 139

Failure to register: "Abuse of Trust", p104-110

Lowell Dodge cover-up: "Me & Ralph", chapter 3

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----------Vindictiveness Sources
Generally -- "Me & Ralph: Is Nader Unsafe for America?", David Sanford (New Republic Books) 1976, p56-57

Penn State-- "Me & Ralph", p52-55

Fallows & leaving Nader- "Me & Ralph", p69-73

Congress-- "Abuse of Trust: A Report on Ralph Nader's Network", Dan Burt, (Chicago: Regnery Gateway) 1982 p146-7

"The Biter Bit," National Review, November 19, 1990 p18

"Nader Says No", by Peter Brimelow, Forbes, April 25, 1994 p18

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----------Forced PIRG Contribution
Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1983 p1

"Campus Contest -- Conservatives vs. Nader Group", by Gregory Lamb, Christian Science Monitor, March 24, 1983 p2

New York Times, March 13, 1983 p20

"Me & Ralph: Is Nader Unsafe for America?", David Sanford (New Republic Books) 1976, p8, 52-58

"Abuse of Trust: A Report on Ralph Nader's Network", Dan Burt, (Chicago: Regnery Gateway) 1982 p147- 149

"Mr. Nader's Conglomerate" (editorial), Wall Street Journal, April 17, 1980 p26

--- Back to the top

----------Hypochondriac Sources
"Me & Ralph: Is Nader Unsafe for America?", David Sanford (New Republic Books) 1976,p18

"Do You Want to Ralph?", Village Voice, July 26, 2000

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----------Quote Sources
Civil war quote - "Abuse of Trust: A Report on Ralph Nader's Network", Dan Burt, (Chicago: Regnery Gateway) 1982 p146, citing "'Geiger Counter', Voice, April 4, 1977". Is that the Village Voice? Not clear.

Dave Barry quote -- from his book "Sweating Out Taxes", quoted on Susan Brumbaugh's Internet Quotes page.

Denial of information is suspect quote -- "Abuse of Trust" 1982 citing "Ralph Nader Reports", Ladies Home Journal, September 1973,

Sanford quote -- "Me and Ralph: Is Nader Unsafe for America?", David Sanford (New Republic Book Company) 1976 Introduction (pX)

sweatshops quote -- "Me and Ralph", p62

Ralph Redux? by Micah L. Sifry, The Nation, November 6, 2003

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BACK TO SKELETON CLOSET - scandals on all the presidential candidates
Paid for by Real People For Real Change and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Copyright 2000 Real People For Real Change

Oops, my bad 24.Feb.2004 01:16

Adammonte9000 adammonte9000@aol.com

Oops, missed a part of the article, and here's the link.


Ralph Nader's Skeleton Closet

Ralph Nader has done a lot of good for consumers. He has also led attacks on such evils as Volkswagen cars, the American Automobile Association, whole milk, colored toilet paper, fluoridated water, and the Elvis stamp. Through it all he has manipulated the press brilliantly and built himself a comfortable and powerful niche without need for election, even within his own consumer groups.

4 years after he unquestionably tipped the 2000 Presidential election to George W. Bush, Nader refuses to admit that or take any kind of responsibility, and he's planning to run again. This time though even the Green party is getting sick of him.

For 30 years, Ralph Nader has proclaimed himself to be "Saint Ralph", the only honest man in Washington, and the only friend of the average citizen. If that doesn't make you puke already, then click on the allegation of your choice:

a HUGE hypocrite -- just another politician -- Anti-democratic authoritarian -- secret luxury house -- owned by the trial lawyers' lobby -- busted a union among his workers -- abuses workers -- amassing millions of dollars and playing the stock market with it -- secrecy and stonewalling -- vindictive toward critics -- forced "contributions" to his college PIRG groups -- hypochondriac -- Quotes -- Sources.


"[Nader] doesn't want to be a Green, he runs with his coterie rather than party organizers, he doesn't involve local Green leaders and he doesn't get the racial issue. I fear if Nader runs, he'll drag down every other Green in this country." -- John Rensenbrink, editor of "Green Horizon Quarterly"

"Big business never pays a nickel in taxes, according to Ralph Nader, who represents a big consumer organization that never pays a nickel in taxes." -- Dave Barry

"If they don't close these [nuclear] reactors down, we'll have civil war in five years." -- Ralph Nader in 1977

"[Nader running for president again is] an ego-centered exercise in futility. [Until the Green Party wins more local elections], wasting its time in races that are unwinnable only detracts from its message, its long-term goals and current accomplishments." --Larry Barnett, Green Party member and former mayor of Sonoma, California

"We spent a hundred years trying to clean sweatshops out of our system and what happens? Along comes the first major reformer of any impact, and he starts doing the same goddamned thing. ... My wife had to tell Ralph once to stop phoning after midnight." -- Jim Turner, former Nader lieutenant

"He [Nader] is, I believe, an authoritarian, a man on a white horse, and I for one, hope that he will never ride into the White House." -- David Sanford, Nader's former editor, 1976

Jay Leno: "What do you do for fun?" Nader: "Strawberries" -- The Tonight Show

"Information is the currency of democracy. It's denial must always be suspect." -- Ralph Nader

--------------Sources -- Back to the top

A HUGE hypocrite:
Nader wraps himself in the mantle of "public interest" with a personally ascetic style and a focus on structural or "apple pie" issues -- consumer safety, corporate accountability, "citizen power" -- rather than traditional partisan issues. He opposes not conservatives, but arrogant corporate leaders who amass money through public tax breaks, deny any democratic input or inquiry, and viciously attack anyone who challenges them. It's a brilliant strategy.
Unfortunately, Nader has become exactly what he attacks. His organizations allow no public input, intimidate foes and journalists, bust unions, hide almost all details of their finances (to the point of breaking laws), and have amassed millions of dollars - all under Nader's direct and autocratic control. Meanwhile, Ralph has gotten rich off of investments in stock; in other words, by owning and profiting off the very corporations he is attacking. -- Sources -- Back to the top

Just another politician:
"Nader is as ravenous as a Nixon or a Kennedy, and the abstract principles he espouses he does not live by." -- Charles McCarry, "Citizen Nader"

Ralph's image is built on the idea that he is somehow pure, not motivated by power, fame or money like those nasty politicians. But he is in fact just another Washington lawyer and lifelong Beltway pol who has built a powerful organization, lobbies Congress, raises millions through direct mail and $1,000 a plate dinners, gets paid tens of thousands by interest groups for his speeches, manipulates the press and overworks a lot of earnest young staffers.

Even his presidential ambitions are old news. He claims to be running just to send a message, but Nader also ran for president in 1992 (running a write-in campaign in the New Hampshire primary, with little success). As far back as 1976, his media supporters (including Nicholas Van Hoffman and Mary McGrory) were plugging a draft Nader movement in their columns.

It's fine for him to want power, fame and even money -- everyone else in Washington does -- but he ought to cut the holier-than-thou crap and take responsibility for his ambitions.

No one doubts that Ross Perot -- who spent $60 million out of pocket on his last campaign -- has huge personal ambitions, whatever good he may accomplish as a candidate. Why should we think more of Ralph Nader, who has built a career flush with power, fame and money out of nothing else but his political actions in Washington?

Nader is no better and no different than Jerry Falwell or Ralph Reed -- nimble but unelected politicians who've made successful careers as self-appointed moralists.

Sources -- Back to the top

Anti-Democratic Authoritarian:
Saint Ralph loves to preach about democracy and "citizen power", but he runs his carefully concealed empire with an iron grip. Of 19 groups associated with Nader, the most powerful and important groups are all directly controlled by Nader or completely under his influence and no one else's. With some groups, Nader is the only contributor; others are controlled by his sister, Laura Nader Milleron, or his cousin.
And there is nothing democratic about Nader's groups -- citizens have no power at all. Of 19 groups in Nader's network, only one relatively minor one is a membership organization, which would allow individuals to vote and challenge the decisions of the small elite running them. The groups' managers operate in strict secrecy, releasing the absolute legal minimum of information, and sometimes not even that. And when Nader IS challenged, he gets vindictive and often attacks his questioner.

Nader and his PIRG groups also fought for (and got) a very coercive funding mechanism -- dues charged automatically to all college students, whether they support Nader or not.

Beyond the hypocrisy, this authoritarian streak is very dangerous in a potential president -- presidents have tremendous power, and the most important check on it is simply their personal honor and unwillingness to abuse power. Nader has never shown these traits, much less an ability to make tough decisions that are fair to his enemies. Of course, he hasn't had much power to abuse -- yet. Anyone considering voting for him should think twice -- or three times -- about that.

Sources -- Back to the top

Secret luxury house:
The Nader myth is built in large part of stories of his personal asceticism -- such as taking a minuscule salary, not owning a car (he bums lots of rides), and living (through the 1970s at least) in a boarding house with a bathroom down the hall. He claims to live on $5,000 a year and give nearly all the rest to his organizations.
Back in 1996, we noted that Nader had long earned hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in speaking fees -- over $250,000 annually even in the mid-1970s -- played the stock market and carefully avoided making details of his finances public, even as he demanded that various corporations and other politicans reveal their money dealings.

He has steadfastly refused to make his tax returns public (as Dole and Clinton have done). In 1996 he even says he spent less than $5,000 on his campaign so that he wasn't required to file even the minimal financial disclosure forms every other candidate is filing.

This time he had to admit spend more than $5,000, and his financial disclosure -- while sketchy -- revealed that he is a multimillionaire who makes hundreds of thousands on speeches each year and owns over $1 million in Cisco stock alone. (Nader still refused to release his tax returns, though all other major candidates have done so for the last many years.)

His lifestyle claims are bullpucky in other ways, too. His speaking gigs often include first class hotels and and meals, even limousines, and the many organizations he controls -- that's where his tax-deductible contributions go -- have many ways to cover his expenses as well. Plus, there is considerable evidence that he does own and stay in one or more houses. He acknowledges spending considerable time at a "family house" in Connecticut, and he appears to own a townhouse in Washington.

David Sanford of the New Republic documented that residents of a posh neighborhood in Washington -- on Bancroft Place NW -- often spotted him sneaking into an expensive house there. Some investigation showed that Nader's brother purchased the house -- worth $100,000 even back in 1972 -- though he was an underemployed educational "consultant" and had no education beyond high school. Nader issued a statement "that he does not live in his brother's Bancroft Place house", but when a now-former worker (Lowell Dodge) asked him privately, he wouldn't deny it.

When the Washington Post's then-society columnist Maxine Cheshire asked Nader about the reports, he knew every detail of the house's financing and couldn't resist rhapsodizing about what a great tax break buying a house was. "He talks about that real estate investment the way some men talk about sex. He's so excited about the whole idea of tax write-offs and all that. I mean, did I realize that that's the greatest investment you can make, the biggest tax advantage, bla bla bla bla bla bla."

Sources -- Back to the top

Owned by the trial lawyers' lobby:
Nader always received lots of funding from trials lawyers, and in return has supported their interests throughout his career. For all his talk of democracy, Nader's vision is of an elite of lawyers -- led of course by himself -- defending the little guy, much more than true "citizen power". He confided to Charles McCarry his dream of having 4,000 to 5,000 "professionals" around the country to battle business nationwide.

thanks for the astroturf 24.Feb.2004 07:20

helped make up my mind

Nader called one Congressman who opposed the Consumer Protection Act "a disgustingly repulsive, slimy double-crosser." He called another a "pathological liar" and a "corrupt, lying anti-people crook." His crime? Opposing a bill to mandate air bags. Nader went on to say that people who opposed mandatory airbags were the kind that would "sell thalidomide to pregnant women."

Now I'm definitely voting Nader. This kind of honesty is what this country needs a good dose of right now.

This is cowardly crap 24.Feb.2004 07:43


If this guy is not a cointelpro employee, he should be. This is the beginning of the war against Nader that the nazis will guide us into with the help of the satanic media - we will spend our time and enegy taking pot shots and ducking them in relation to Nader instead of concentrating on impeaching Bush which is the only option left. We will not be allowed to win no matter who the candidate is because the nazi/fascists are counting the votes on Diebold machines. In the meantime they invent crap like the one above so as to ensure that the few good men around are thoroughly hated by all. We have seen them do this same thing in most Latinamerican countries for the past 15 years and it works every time. People are suh idiots and we are all up against such evil bastards... hmmmmmmmmmm ... it gets tiring but lets try to keep our head out of the toilett, people; George got into the WH by sneaking in throught the bathroom window for a drink of water but that doesnt mean we all have to do the same...

arrggh 24.Feb.2004 08:56


I agree that its pretty messed up that Nader busted these unions. I can't respect that at all. But once you say, "4 years after he unquestionably tipped the 2000 Presidential election to George W. Bush, Nader refuses to admit that or take any kind of responsibility", then I can listen no more. Excuse me? Were you even paying attention to the 2000 election? How exactly did Nader tip the election to Bush? This is re-visionism. THis is just plain not true. You believe so much in the system that you blame Nader instead of calling into question the very basics of the two-party system and the extreme corruption found within these parties. How many more times do we need to point out that 1)Florida republicans illegally removed thousands of voters from the voter rolls 2)the republican controlled supreme court handed the election to Bush by refusing to allow the recount to continue 3)the Florida electoral college said they would give their votes to Bush no matter what the outcome with the recount 4)Gore conceded instead of demanding that the recount continue... etc., etc. And now this year, with all these Diebold electronic voting machines, there will be more voter fraud than ever. It doesnt really matter who you vote for, the election is rigged, and Bush will win. Using Nader as a scapegoat does nothing but further legitimize this messed up system.

Question for Nader voters 24.Feb.2004 12:06


Why is it OK for him to be anti-labor/anti-worker? If he was a republican or a democrat, the Greens would be all over this. Why the double standard?

What do you find so appealing about a guy who justifies long hours, low pay and no benefits for workers? Regardless of his stance on trade agreements, he seems more like a carbon copy of republicans when it comes to worker's rights.

grouping articles/comments/critiques 24.Feb.2004 13:07


This information is suspect 24.Feb.2004 13:23


Right off the bat - I'm not a Nader fan anymore and I do not support him. I believe that the info about the union-busting is accurate, but I haven't tried to verify it.

A lot of the other stuff in here is pure hyperbole or distortions. Some of it is just pathetic attempts to find other ways to make Nader look creepy.

However, the "hypochondriac" thing is a lie. Whenever Nader visits Portland, he generally stays at the home of a certain local lawyer. That person owns a couple of big dogs. If Nader "refuses dinner invitations from people who have pets, because he...simply hates dogs," would he really stay overnight at that person's house?

That kind of bullshit makes me suspect the rest of the information presented here. I'm sure some of it is legitimate, but these pathetic attempts to pile on a bunch anti-Nader hyperbole detract from what might be legitimate concerns.

For those of you who actually believe this shit 24.Feb.2004 13:44

bring the war home

For those of you who actually believe this shit, here are the results of google search on cointlelpro. For those of you who dont know; cointelpro was a government operation that served the purpose of discrediting enemies of the state in the 1960s and 70s.

 link to www.google.com

If you people dont think the US still does this kind thing remember Joe Wilson

also Cointelpro type previsions were put into the patriot act

face up to the truth people this election, assuming it's not already rigged is about the only thing that can save the world from the worst blood bath this planet has seen in any of are life times.

re: "union busting"- 24.Feb.2004 14:22

longtime activist nonprofit employee

dunno how many people on this website have actually:

*worked for* and *paid their rent* with salary/wages from a nonprofit employer,

but being that my resume (age 38) includes several years with them - including a few months with PIRGs both here and in DC - believe I'm a bit qualified to comment.

Nader says "I don't think there is a role for unions in small nonprofit 'cause' organizations any more than ... within a monastery or within a union."

in principle, I'd HAVE TO AGREE. that is precisely the nature and focus of activist work itself.

if you DON'T LIKE or CAN'T HACK your long hours and thankless tasks of work at nonprofit activist groups, do as I did - GET ANOTHER JOB OR CAREER.

no, it's **not** easy to say or do, but these organisations are bare bones enough without the infrastructure and expense of unionizing and the labor/management struggles therein. and I was never a high-level manager myself either - was constantly getting the squeeze at the bottom or mid-level.

in some ways it's kind of like admitting that full-time paid activist work is a Dead End Career - but (and those with experience can testify) *isn't it*, really? I mean, I'll always be an activist and support/donate/volunteer/attend demonstrations when I can, but trying to *earn your living* and keep paying bills as a full-time employee with one of these groups is like trying to be a movie star or astronaut - really.

and lets face it: MOST employment with nonprofits - especially ACTIVIST nonprofit groups - is of the FUNDRAISING nature. which is usually a commission-payment / sales type job. (next most common would be administrative jobs, finally followed by campaigners / legal jobs ).

it'd be nice if there was an "equitable/fair pay" infrastructure that'd automatically repair and make utopic every activist nonprofit, but it's kind of like the law of diminishing returns: the more energy and money every employee of the group puts into labor/management relations, THE LESS REAL IMPORTANT ACTIVIST CHANGE-THE-WORLD WORK they actually end up getting done.

It's glaringly obvious if you've ever worked for, or helped manage, one of these groups. and especially if you've *managed* anywhere in one of these groups, you have an excellent idea of where the money *really* goes and how much employees *really* cost - vs. funds actually raised, and the money to get the Change-The-World work done. the *definition* of "shoestring" . . .

I remember when [GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP] employees - which at one point had two dozen door canvassing offices nationwide - sabotaged [major East coast] office employees' attempts to unionize. And if the employees succeeded in unionizing against their bosses what would have been the point of that? *more* overhead / energy / time for an already topheavy bureacracy, and overextended activist campaigns.

I'm not saying the issues they raised about management weren't relevant - THEY CERTAINLY WERE, and at the time I had some personal bones to pick with the organization about labor / pay issues myself. but at the end of it all, WHY WERE ANY OF US WORKING FOR SUCH A SOCIAL CHANGE ACTIVIST GROUP IN THE FIRST PLACE? for the good of ourselves, or the campaigns we supposedly represent?

there are lots of other jobs / careers to select if you're in it more "for the good of yourself". not necessarily easy to find or transition to immediately, but then again - how easy is the nonprofit activist career lifestyle itself, given rates of pay in that field?

eventually [GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP] gave up on employing a lot of warm bodies to fundraise door-to-door, and decided not to work on the very-expensive-overhead grassroots American local/regional campaigns. all 24 local offices were closed down, hundreds of canvassing, fundraising, and campaign employees found other stuff to do. [GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP] only works on broad-scale global issues now.

I'm in *favor* of unions of course - I support the Powell's employees, have volunteered in support of electrical worker's union, carpenters' union, farmworkers in Southeastern US and grocery workers on West coast, and also have many activist colleagues and friends who are full-time labor activists -

but this Nader stuff is definitely NOT proportional or analagous to Reagan busting the Air Traffic Controllers Union, or Bu$h & Co. shutting out Longshoremen for chrissakes . . .

Ralph Nader is DEFINITELY NOT a "union buster".

This gets a little messy though, doesn't it? 24.Feb.2004 15:58


What the previous poster "long-time activist..." wrote makes sense. If you need to make a living, do something else. Commitment to the cause should be more important.

And when I first read the original article here, where Ralph is criticized for collecting large sums in speaking fees, I thought he has a right to collect those fees if that's what people are willing to pay, and indeed if that's what they pay others. He certainly shouldn't do these things for free at venues where everyone else is paid.

But that leads us back to whether or not you should be making a lot of money as an activist, and if money corrupts the process.

Nader would seem more consistent if, just like the people below him in his organizations, he didn't make much money, that the cause would be most important, and that those fees he collects were funneled back into his causes, just as all their sacrifice of time, and life are.

One guy at the top making lots of money, and the peons below making very little seems just like a corporation to me. And he wouldn't have the reputation that would cause people to pay high speaking fees if he didn't have thousands of people toiling for the causes he heads. Are they working for him, or the cause? Maybe they are working for the cause, and he is piggybacking on top of it.

Meh 24.Feb.2004 16:34


Meh. I can't really affirm or deny the validity of these claims, but I will say this: Nader isn't going to be president. I'm sorry if i've crushed any hopeful ideals, even i've got mine (Kucinich for prez) but to me a vote for Nader is a vote for more funding and publicity for the Green Party, and I definitely support that. The individual doesn't matter at this point.

to 'Funkerelli' 24.Feb.2004 17:54


so, if -

"Nader isn't going to be president" and "the individual doesn't matter at this point",

why bother paying attention to the pResidential Selection at all?

also, w/Voting Machines and Vote Fraud rampant, we can't even rely on the individual's vote itself.

given all this, the likelihood of having an impact as a voter rests more with the local/regional/national House and Senate seats - go ahead, vote and get your hopes up about those races, with some good reason and reliability.

but forget about the mass-tabulated, Electoral College(and Supreme Court in 2000)-determined pResidential Selection. for that one, it's an illusion of "choice" . . . especially when Kerry and Bu$h are indistiguishable, and Ralph (who's gonna "lose" anyway) is the only one capable of pressing issues of relevance at that level.

Please try to focus 24.Feb.2004 23:07

George Bender

This isn't about Ralph. It's about raising issues the major parties will not talk about, and forcing the Democrats to the left by making them lose close elections. It's about power. We don't have any and we need it. I'm tired of being ignored and tired of putting up with their bullshit. I'm also tired of people writing stupid, irrelevant stuff about Nader. Get real. This isn't Poltical Science 101. Different game.

Nader is the best person we've got to do the job he's doing. Shut up and get out of the way.

A Variation On The Originally Posted Theme 24.Feb.2004 23:37


substitute the word "Are" for "Is"

substitute "they are" for "he is"

substitute "The Democrats" For "Ralph Nader"

Are The Democrats REALLY who we think they are?

TRANSLATION: lesser, 'Liberal' head of the Same Corporate Beast

Shut up and get out of the way! 25.Feb.2004 01:11

Are we here to talk?

George is dictator now.

With salaries that low 25.Feb.2004 10:02


Only trust fund babies can afford the luxury of working for him with long hours and unliveable wages. If his organization is taking in enough cash to do the campaign work AND pay his most dedicated workers at least a liveable wage, then he's being a cheapskate out of pure greed. This proves how out-of-touch he is with working people.

The attitude is that if you don't have some other means of supporting yourself (like mom and dad) in a big expensive city where his office is located, then you can't work for him at all and should go work for his opposition- corporate America, where at least you can make enough to survive. But these same people will complain about working class people joining the police force and the military or working in some job that hurts people and/or the environment. So what the hell are working people supposed to do?

In other words, Nader supporters and other non-profit snobs are saying you're either with him and born with a silver spoon, or against him.

Does that make any sense? With that attitude, why should working people vote for him? He hasn't done anything to demonstrate that he has their best interest in mind. All the bellyaching Nader supporters can't show any proof that he will stand up for workers, outside of his stance on NAFTA and GATT which he seems only concerned about environmentally.

to 'Cult Watch' - 25.Feb.2004 10:59


the entire tone and content of your post is counterproductive, inflammatory and even contradictory.

"With salaries that low"

--like you know something about this? who the fuck are you?

"only trust fund babies can afford the luxury of working for him"

--uuuhhh, this thread is *not about* "working for him", it's been significantly expanded to include discussion of what it's like to work for a nonprofit group (which could include a huge range of non-PIRG and non-Public Citizen types of organizations, all of which have the same dismal pay/salary rates.

quit using that as further opportunity to bash Ralph personally. he's more of an activist than your lips and tongue put together.

"All the bellyaching Nader supporters"

--not many people here necessarily even support Nader. what everyone IS doing is defending his democratic right to be part of the process, as opposed to Stalinist Corporate Democrat mutants like YOU, 'CultWatch' who prescribe the Gulag for anyone not voting the Party line.

"So what the hell are working people supposed to do? why should working people vote for him?"

--maybe 'vote' for Kerry? LOL

"his stance on NAFTA and GATT which he seems only concerned about environmentally"

--'CultWatch', you clueless fuckwad. you're probably in favor of NAFTA and the recent Miami police crackdown. fucking Cointelpro (or DNC) provocateur.

>>>>Below are initial summaries of many of Mr. Nader's positions, as you can see, unlike President Bush and the Democratic Party, Ralph Nader:

Wants to make health care universally available
Wants electoral reform that creates a vibrant, active, participatory Democracy.
Wants a crackdown on corporate crime and abuse
Wants a fair tax where the wealthiest and corporations pay their fair share, tax wealth more than work, and tax activities we dislike more than necessities
A family farm-consumer agriculture policy
Wants to end poverty in the United States
Wants to create jobs by investing in America's future, invest in Americans
Wants to expand worker's rights by developing an employee bill of rights
Wants fair trade that protects the environment, labor rights and consumer needs
A federal budget that puts human needs before corporate greed and corporate militarism
Corporations should not be given equal rights with humans
Education for everyone
. . .

When up against the wall, attack!! 25.Feb.2004 12:12


So you, "ANTI-provocateur" (that's a joke, right?), resort to attacking people because you can't refute their argument. I see fascism works for you.

Don't you dare try and bully me off this thread with your belligerent ad hominem attacks because you can't prove that Nader is pro-worker. By the way, what article are you responding to? Obviously, not the one above which clearly points out his mistreatment of workers. His (and your) bourgeoise attitude toward his workers reflects his attitude toward all workers.

The talking points you copied and pasted here from his campaign website are all vague. The devil is in the DETAILS. This "bill of rights" crap is nothing more than lip service to draw people in who traditionally vote democratic. Thank goodness most working people don't fall for it. People know that he's nothing more than a single-issue candidate and hasn't shown much concern for the workers, the poor, people of color, and others who are oppressed.

Your contempt for people who have to work for a living is obvious. You think they all suck because they choose someone who has a chance of winning over a selfish, egotistical, bourgeoise twit whose attitude toward workers is probably worse than any democrat, even the most conservative. You so arrogantly insist that I want people to vote for Kerry. Where did I mention that? In your mind it's either Nader or Kerry. As far as I'm concerned, Kerry, Bush, and Nader are all a bunch of elitists who don't give a shit about anybody but rich people like themselves.

message for 'CultWatch' THE COINTELPRO FUCK. 01.Mar.2004 04:19


"As far as I'm concerned, Kerry, Bush, and Nader are all a bunch of elitists who don't give a shit about anybody but rich people like themselves."

--they're all that's running for pResident--then who are YOU voting for/endorsing? Mickey Mouse? yourself?

so you admit you don't give a shit, huh?


and so do a lot of other working-class people who voted for Nader previously, and may vote for him again.

and thanks again for DISINFORMATIONALLY lumping Nader -- for decades the anti-corporate crusader and targeted for ASSASSINATION by top automobile corporate officials -- in with MultiMillionaire Corporate Buccaneers Kerry and [Texas Oilman] Bu$h. you DISINFORMATIONALIST FUCK.

"Thank goodness most working people don't fall for it."

Fall for WHAT? what the fuck are you babbling about now? be consistent. you already said you didn't GIVE A SHIT. if you do --- WHO should they vote for?

"Your contempt for people who have to work for a living is obvious."


"You think they all suck because they choose someone who has a chance of winning over a selfish, egotistical, bourgeoise twit whose attitude toward workers is probably worse than any democrat, even the most conservative."

--ok, let's get this straight:

"they choose someone who has a chance of winning"

--who would that be? and why? would HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF CORPORATE DOLLARS have anything to do with it? Howard Dean had a "chance of winning" until a few weeks ago. Kucinich came close in Hawaii  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/02/281336.shtml What's the matter, don't you have enough faith in DEMOCRACY?

"a selfish, egotistical, bourgeoise twit whose attitude toward workers"

--here's where you're getting yourself into trouble. Kerry and Bu$h fit the above description MUCH BETTER. and why is this important or salient to the qualifications to the office of pResident?

"is probably worse than any democrat, even the most conservative."

show me a Democrat who's stood up for workers [Paul Wellstone]. you just said above that they were all the same - "a bunch of elitists" - anyway: QUIT CONTRADICTING YOURSELF. and as far as Ralph being compared to the Democrats in any respect - well, that's what his entire campaign is ALL ABOUT now, isn't it?  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/02/281193.shtml

"hasn't shown much concern for the workers, the poor, people of color, and others who are oppressed"

--and Bu$h/Kerry have/do? what a joke. Kerry voted for NAFTA/GATT. his economic stances/policies -like all the major Democrats - are indistiguishable from Bu$h. He married Republican Senator John Heinz's widow - heiress to the Several Hundred Million Dollar Heinz Ketchup Fortune  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/02/279913.shtml Only Kucinich has true concern as described above, and has actually stood publicly in demonstrations with union rank/file.

why do you keep using such bland, generic terms "the workers" anyway? the CIA PC Dictionary all you got?

I'm not defending Nader - I only reproduced the info from his website in response to your baseless assertions about his stances, you COINTELPRO FUCK.

and FUCK YOU about the "workers" DISINFORMATION. as if you know what it is to work hard labor and be ground to dust by your shit job boss 50 hours a week. you fuck.

You're just a PIECE OF SHIT SEVENTH-RATE COINTELPRO HACK. you stupid fuck. your CointelBosses need to can your candy ass.