Fox News Channel will soon face a legal complaint with the Federal Election Commission from Fred Karger, the gay candidate it excluded from a Republican presidential debate last week.
Karger says his lawyers are sure that Fox "completely screwed up" in deciding that Karger hadn't met the qualifications to enter the Iowa debate. So he's filing a complaint with the FEC and plans to personally deliver it to Fox News headquarters in New York Thursday "to make sure Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, who are the respondents in this thing, have it."
Since first writing the network to say he'd averaged 1% support in five national polls (as seemed to be the threshold required for debate participation), Karger says he's had no luck making contact with Fox.
"I have tried repeatedly, my staff has, I have written them two letters, and I have not heard word one," Karger told The Advocate.
Fox's vice president for news, Michael Clemente, did tell The Advocate in a statement before the debate that the polls cited by Karger either were too old, with the latest coming from April, or that the Internet-based polling methodology used by Zogby and Harris Interactive was insufficient. The rules had required polls to be "recent" and did not mention polling methodology.
If the FEC sides with Karger, then he says Fox could be found to have made an "in-kind donation" to all the candidates who it allowed on the debate stage and onto national television.
"I am not going to take the second-class treatment," said Karger, who has made it his mission to be allowed into a national debate, which he expects would be a platform to defend equality against a plethora of candidates on the other side of the issue. The most recent entrant is Texas governor Rick Perry, who has a history of antigay views and hosted a prayer rally with the American Family Association, which is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "hate group."
This will be the second FEC complaint filed by Karger during the election season. The first came after the Iowa Christian Alliance hosted a candidates' forum but kept out Karger because it claimed he wasn't a legitimate candidate. Karger notes, though, that the group's president, Steve Scheffler, hasn't missed every opportunity to hear what he has to say and was spotted in the crowd at one of his speeches.