The Commission on Presidential Debates is run by the two major parties, Democrat and Republican, and this has been the case ever since its inception. The League of Women Voters, which organized the debates prior to that, protested the commission in 1988 and insisted that the new debate rules formed by the commission would “perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.”

After vetting the more serious candidates for presidential debates, the commission allowed Ross Perot on stage alongside George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 1992 as a third-party candidate. But as Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson pointed out after hearing of his exclusion from the debates:

The only time a third candidate has been allowed on the stage was 1992, when both parties wanted him on the stage for their own purposes. It should be noted that, when Perot was allowed on the stage, polls showed his support to be in single digits, below where Johnson and Weld are currently polling.

The libertarian boils down his philosophy in a simple way: “Fiscally conservative, socially inclusive, skeptical of military interventions, regime change, favoring free trade,” and “always come down on the side of personal choice,” adding, “Shouldn’t you and I be able to decide in our own lives?”

However, it won’t be heard the debates start on Sept. 26, which raises several questions over just who the debate commission is and how they function:

Q: Who funds the debate commission?

According to its website, most of the funding derives from “communities that host the debates,” and, “to a lesser extent,” corporate funding, non-profit donations, and private individuals contribute to ensure the CPD remains propped up. Past sponsors include several major airlines, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, the Knight Foundation, and the Ford Foundation among others.

Q: About that 15 percent threshold…

Guided by rules adopted last October, the Non-Partisan Candidate Selection Criteria requires the debate commission to answer to the Federal Election Commission and use objective criteria for who it will allow into the debates. Although it is set up to ensure fairness, many pundits argue the CPD is a bi-partisan organization out to ensure only two choices: Democrat, or Republican. Some even argue its setup is fraudulent. Others say it only requires a simple fix. The only time it featured three podiums was in ’92, when a plain-speaking Perot strutted onto the stage. And, Americans loved him.

Q: Who at the debate commission decides which polls to use?

Five polls were chosen by Dr. Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup. The methodology and sampling size in addition to poll frequency are weighed out by Newport alongside the board of directors. The polls used to  consider the candidates this year were ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News and NBC/Wall Street Journal.

Q: But isn’t the CPD a ‘nonpartisan’ entity?

Legally, yes, it’s a 501(c)(3). It can’t take donations from political parties or government organizations. Although, many of the members of its board are or at one point were in a position of leadership in one of the two parties. While the board of directors is comprised of news anchors and academics in addition to politicians, it is co-chaired by Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., the former RNC chairman and President Nixon staffer along with Mike McCurry, a Democrat who served as press secretary for President Bill Clinton.

Q: Does the debate commission choose the moderators and format?

Yes. Fox News’ Chris Wallace, NBC’s Lester Holt, ABC’s Martha Raddatz, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and CBS’ Elaine Quijano will moderate. The first debate, for instance, will be moderated by Holt and split into six segments of 15 minutes. Each segment will feature major topics to be selected by the moderator himself, and announced at least one week before the debate.

Q: What kind of rules does the debate commission set?

According to the New York Post, debate moderators won’t be able to wear an earpiece while moderating this year. It is one of many rules designed to ensure the program doesn’t devolve too much or go off the rails.

Q: Do most people think the debates should be open to third-party candidates?

Yes. According to a poll by the top-rated Quinnipiac University, as much as 62 percent of the electorate believes Johnson should be in the Sept. 26 debate and allowed to present an agenda different from those provided by Clinton and Trump. Bernie Sanders recently grabbed headlines for admitting that the 15 percent threshold is “probably too high,” something he and Trump appear to actually agree upon.

WATCH: The 15 Percent Rule for Presidential Debate Access