FEC Drafts Opinions for Guyana-Born Man About Presidential Run

Alex Knott
Roll Call
8/26/2011

The Federal Election Commission is showing signs that it might allow a Guyana-born American citizen to file papers and raise money to run for president of the United States.

The agency released two draft advisory opinions Friday that could permit New York lawyer Abdul Hassan to go through the initial steps to run for president. But the FEC’s pending decision won’t be the last word on the constitutional issue of whether someone born outside the United States can be president.

Hassan was born in the South American country in 1974, and he asked the FEC in July whether he could raise funds as a candidate for president.

The request put the FEC in the rare role of deciding a large constitutional issue that has only a few intersections with campaign finance law. The two commonly held constitutional requirements to run for president are that the candidate be 35 years or older and be a “natural born citizen.”

The agency quickly signaled that it would decide the technicalities of filing requirements while leaving the broader issue of who can run for president to the judicial branch. In an email to Hassan on July 18, the FEC stated that he understood “that although the Commission can respond to the questions asked in [his] advisory opinion, the Commission cannot make any determination as to whether [Hassan] can, as a naturalized citizen, serve as President.”…

The article continues at Roll Call.

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