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Boston cabbies object to discount for Dems

The plan now being discussed would require [Boston] cabbies working the airport to accept discount vouchers and multiple riders [for the Democratic Convention]. Estimates on the value of the vouchers have been placed at $10 or more, but cabbies said compared to their regular multiple-rider fares, they would lose money.

"People can't be forced to do this,'' [cab driver Bill] Ford said. "If they do this, they would in effect be forcing us to make a donation.''

Other cab drivers have objected to the setting of a precedent, suggesting they'll be asked to honor discounts for other conventions down the road.

Ford said he was told by an FEC official last week that there appears to be a violation of campaign finance laws. An FEC spokesman told the Herald that while businesses and individuals are free to make cash or in-kind donations to host committees, the regulations do not specifically address a scenario in which licensed cabbies would be required to accept discounted fares or lose airport business.

Host committee spokeswoman Karen Grant noted the Boston convention host committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, and that no taxi plan exists as yet. She declined to comment on a potential FEC complaint. -- Election 2004 News: Fare plan drives hub hack to eye FEC gripe (BostonHerald.com)