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Nader sued twice in Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports: Fighting for a spot alongside President Bush and John Kerry, Nader was buffeted by legal challenges from two sides yesterday. In Harrisburg, a group of Democrats challenged the validity of 45,000 nominating-petition signatures he filed Aug. 2. In Philadelphia, he was hit with a suit filed on behalf of dozens of petition circulators, many of them homeless, who say Nader owes them money.

The nominating-petition challenge was led by the top two Democrats in the State House. Their 1,000-plus-pages case was bolstered by an army of Democratic volunteers who spent a week poring over tens of thousands of signatures after being alerted by mass e-mails. And attorneys in both cases are Democratic Party officers. ...

In the lawsuit accusing Nader of not paying workers, filed as a potential class action, lawyer Louis Agre said lead plaintiff Ralph Dade is a longtime client. Agre, a Democratic ward leader in Roxborough, said Dade showed up at his office looking for help.

"I just try to get people their money," said Agre, a labor lawyer. "If this was Wal-Mart, do you think Ralph Nader would say it was OK? He knows the rules."

Zeese said checks were given or mailed to all except those who turned in flawed petitions. The issue has drawn scrutiny since the campaign abandoned its Center City office last month after police arrived to settle a dispute over pay between staffers and homeless circulators.

In the ballot challenge, Nader's foes argue that his petitions featured massive fraud and other improprieties. Gregory M. Harvey, an attorney for the group, said 85 percent of signatures collected statewide were flawed, marred by outright forgery, incomplete data, and other problems.

Among them: repeated appearances of the same name, evidence of "round robin" signing in which every 10th line featured the same handwriting, and numerous reports of Nader circulators' obscuring their candidate's name in an effort to get people to sign. -- Nader's battlegrounds: Petitions and payment