Fred Karger to file FEC complaint against Fox News for excluding him from Iowa debate

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger will submit a complaint against Fox News to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, The Daily Caller has learned.

At issue are criteria established for participation in the August 11 Iowa presidential debate hosted by Fox News and the Washington Examiner, ahead of the Ames Straw Poll.

The debate criteria required candidates to attract an average of at least one percent of the public’s support in five recent polls by August 9.

Karger says he met this requirement, and alleges that the network’s failure to abide by its “pre-established, objective criteria” for the debate means that the candidates who did participate benefited from illegal in-kind contributions.

Excluding him after he met the debate’s requirements resulted in “corporate in-kind donations to those eight participants,” Karger told The Daily Caller. “Which, of course, is millions and millions of dollars in air time, and then all of the publicity that comes as a result of it.”

To support his claim, Karger cites Zogby polls from July 25 and May 23, where he registered one percent; an August 4 Harris Interactive poll, in which he polled at two percent; an April 28 Fox News poll, with one percent; and a June 29 McClatchy–Marist poll, with less than one percent.

“They’re saying that four of the polls that I cited were online polls. In my complaint I address that head-on,” Karger said. “They specified ‘online’ or ‘telephonic.’ These are all reputable polling companies … They’re scientific, the way polling is done now, and Fox cites these polls all the time.”

Karger said Fox also declared that the April Fox News poll was not recent enough to count. But he found that the network reached back five months for a poll that permitted Gary Johnson to participate in the network’s May 5 South Carolina primary debate.

Karger predicted that the FEC would investigate his complaint seriously. (RELATED: FEC launches audit of Obama’s 2008 campaign)

“It takes the commission to vote in order to investigate or not,” Karger explained. “It is designed so that it is a three-to-three bipartisan commission, with three Republicans and three Democrats. So what I’m told is that it’s difficult for them to reach a majority to go ahead. But I think that this is so clear-cut that they would be in agreement, and almost obligated [to investigate].”

On Thursday, Karger will hand-deliver a copy of the complaint to News Corp.’s offices in New York. He will be arriving with a flip camera to record an iReport submission for CNN.

“The respondents in this are Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes and Michael Clemente,” Karger added.

TheDC has seen a preliminary copy of the FEC complaint, which is addressed to the commission’s Office of General Counsel.