The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers has filed a motion in the latest COAST/Cincinnati Public Schools litigation seeking to establish a right in public employees to campaign while on the job and while on public property. A 2002 Agreement between CPS and COAST prohibits that misuse of public resources. The latest legal maneuver by the CFT seeks to have portions of that Agreement declared unconstitutional.
As COAST reported here, for the third time in a decade, COAST sued CPS in October for campaigning using tax dollars. The most recent suit arose from the 2012 CPS tax levy campaign in which volunteers were recruited through the schools and donations were funneled through the Superintendent's office, all using taxpayer resources.
The latest suit seeks to enforce a 2002 settlement agreement arising from the use of schoolyards to post pro-levy signs. In 2010, COAST sued under that same agreement when it learned CPS was busing Hughes High School Students to the Board of Elections for early voting (during the school day), instructing them to vote the Democrat Party ticket, and then rewarding them with Graeters ice cream afterwards.
The 2012 suit was filed because, as a result of public records obtained by COAST; and other information provided to COAST, CPS was again caught red-handed using tax dollars for campaign purposes -- something that is both illegal and a violation of the 2002 Agreement.
Last week, the CFT filed its lengthy motion to intervene as a party in the in the COAST/CPS litigation seeking to have portions of the 2002 Agreement declared void because it allegedly violates the "right" of CPS employees to campaign either while on public time or on CPS property. It is those two things that the 2002 Agreement expressly prohibits.
COASTers may recall that in 2011, it sued Council member Luare Quinlivan for her illegal use of public employees and public property in her Council office to run her Cincinnati City Council campaign. In that litigation, Quinlivan amazingly sued the City in an effort to establish a constitutional right for her to abuse public resources to advance her own campaign. That suit is remarkably similar to the latest CFT motion. Ultimately, she settled by accepting a permanent injunction against such illegal conduct, dismissing her action and reimbursing the City for her use of public resources.
"We obviously have hit a nerve," said COAST Chairman Tom Brinkman. "Demo-Labor establishment has a long history in misusing taxpayer resources to campaign for liberal democrats and higher taxes. COAST has employed broad political, media and legal strategies to expose and stop this abuse of tax dollars. The fact that CFT is fighting so hard to maintain this illegal privilege is testimony to the need of COAST to be vigilant on all fronts against this pernicious conduct."
The COAST/CPS litigation is in front of Judge Steve Martin. He also will hear the CFT Motion to intervene.