Wednesday, October 29, 2014

COAST wins again against Ohio Elections Commission

As our attorneys at the Finney Law Firm explain here, Federal District Court Judge Michael Barrett issued last week a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of Ohio's "False Claims" statute as it relates to ballot issue campaigns.  That decision is here.  Judge Barrett has promised a more extensive ruling on the motion for permanent injunction in the coming weeks.

You may recall that in 2010, Rob Richardson, Jr. as Chairman of Cincinnatians for Progress -- the pro-streetcar group -- filed two false statement complaints against COAST and COAST Candidates PAC claiming that Mark Miller's tweets about Streetcar funding were false.  As it turns out, the Ohio Elections Commission found that Rob Richardson's allegations were false, and dismissed both Complaints, but COAST's able legal defense team had to prepare numerous Affidavits and gather evidence, as well as travel twice to Columbus to 'splain ourselves to the omniscient OEC.  It was that work and the intimidation arising from the power that the OEC holds that is the constitutional offense (not any finding of guilt).  This regime tends to "chill" legitimate free speech for fear of prosecution.

Last month, Federal District Court Judge Timothy Black issued a permanent injunction against the Ohio Elections Commission false claims statute as it relates to candidate campaigns.  That decision is here.

Both cases ascended to the United States Supreme Court on standing, and COAST prevailed in both of those actions in June of this year.  You may read that 9-0, Clarence Thomas-authored opinion here.

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