Corruption

Kasich Cronies Are Causing Libertarian Candidates' Woes

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Governor Beshear

The Libertarian Party of Ohio (LPO) has been grappling in court all year with Republican pals of Gov. John Kasich, and insists that the Ohio GOP is using unethical tactics to snuff them out. Their claim just earned some more credence.

The Associated Press (AP) reports on the latest revelation:

A Republican consultant and appointee of Gov. Kasich was responsible for hiring the law firm whose challenge pushed two [LPO] candidates off the statewide ballot.

Terry Casey worked for Kasich's 2010 campaign and the governor has since appointed him to the $70,000-a-year job chairing the state personnel review board.

Casey's role hiring Zeiger, Tigges & Little emerged in a case in which Libertarians are asking federal Judge Michael Watson to restore governor candidate Charlie Earl and attorney general candidate Steven Linnabary to November's ballot.

In a new court filing, the [LPO] also says Bradley Smith, hired to oversee the disqualification hearing by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, didn't disclose he was working for Ohio's Republican attorney general, Mike DeWine, doing pro bono work at the time.

It was previously unknown who hired the Zeiger firm, and the Ohio GOP chairman swore under oath that his party played no role in Libertarian woes.

Some background is necessary: In March, Earl got enough signatures to run, but Husted had him disqualified on a technicality, because the person Earl hired to collect signatures failed to list the LPO as his employer. The would-be candidate took the case through the court system claiming that the signature collector's First Amendment rights, specifically his right to not declare his employer, were being denied by Husted, but the courts ruled against Earl, saying the burden on his rights were minimal.

Charlie Earl

In order to get the ball rolling on that disqualification, though, Husted needed a registered member of the LPO to challenge Earl's bid. Casey hired the Zeiger law firm, which convinced a local Libertarian named Gregory Felsoci to sign the challenge. Significantly, Judge Watson described Felsoci as a "guiless dupe" who "lacks even a basic understanding of the nature of the protest he agreed to sign." That's putting it lightly. Felsoci thought he was signing a petition to help Earl get on the ballot.

Judge Watson also acknowledged that the GOP or its affiliates orchestrated a plot against the LPO, and higher courts admit that this plot undermines the LPO's status as a "ballot-qualified party" and therefore could do "severe and irreparable harm" to it. To regain its status as ballot-qualified would require jumping through new, burdensome hoops thanks to a GOP-crafted law that recently took effect. 

Casey brushed off the LPO's most recent complaint as a mere distraction from the third-party's own shortcomings, and then he pulled a quintessential '80s teen movie antagonist move: He "thanked Libertarians for the free publicity" because it'll help him find donors to pay Zeiger's legal fees, according to the AP.

None of the Republicans' meddling has any legal bearing on the fact that Earl did break the rules by not disclosing a signature collector's employment status, but is that one technicality anywhere near as anti-democratic or downright unetical as the fact that the GOP is squashing voters' alternative choices like this? 

NEXT: Mass NSA Phone Metadata Collection in Federal Appeals Court Crosshairs

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  1. This case really pains me personally. Brad Smith and Z,T&L should be on the side of the angels.
    So, yeah. Just fuck.
    Sigh.
    Fuck.

    1. Is this the same Brad Smith who used to serve on the FTC? My impression is that this a different guy (e.g., not the libertarian campaign finance reformer)…

      1. I hope you’re right, that this is a different Bradley Smith. I will make certain.

        1. Nope. It’s the same Bradley A. Smith, former F.E.C. commissioner.
          I imagine that Brad (unlike any partisan hack they could have hired for the job) felt himself constrained to follow the letter of the law. Actually, this could be proof that Husted is an evil genius, except it’s John Husted.

  2. These retards don’t seem to realize – the Libertarian Party is among the most aggressive 3rd parties on ballot-access activism. If ballot access were easier, then the lefty, lazy parties would have an easier time getting on the ballot and “stealing” votes from the Dems, balancing out the Liberians’ “stealing” votes from the Republicans.

    I put things in these Machiavellian terms because it seems that mere appeals to voting rights and the basic principles of republican (small r) government will be mere background noise to these fools.

    1. balancing out the Liberians’ “stealing” votes from the Republicans

      First, the Mexicans came and stole our jerbz and how those damn Liberians are stealing our votes! Close the borders now!

      1. Well, so much for my hopes of a Spelling Bee championship.

        1. My hopes of winning the grammar bee have also went downhill pretty fast.

    2. Libertarians don’t steal votes from Democrats and Republicans, we EARN votes from voters. If any candidate can’t earn enough votes to be elected, that’s their problem. Adults call this situation a “competition”, or sometimes a “race”.

      My advice to the Ohio GOP: don’t feel bad if your candidates lose, I’ll put a gold star sticker on your backpack. TWO gold star stickers even, because you guys are swell.

  3. Republicans are just democrats with bibles.

  4. I think the Rs are idiots. The Libertarian Party is a great outlet for ineffectual gadflies (like me) to blow off steam without ever sullying their precious GOP. If they force me to register Republican, I’ma gonna feel the need to stir up all kinds of trouble from the inside.

    1. Look, we don’t need no more troublemakers, we already have that damn curly haired guy from Kentucky causing enough problems.

    2. Wait a minute… I had a 2nd read of that post. You THINK the Rs are idiots?

      1. Well, we Ls are all idiots, of course. But I thought that went without saying.

        1. I think the emphasis was on “think”, meaning that anyone with sense shouldn’t merely think it, but should hold that truth to be self-evident.

  5. Judge Watson also acknowledged that the GOP or its affiliates orchestrated a plot against the LPO…

    And in a just world that would lead to conspiracy charges. Not holding my breath for that to happen, of course.

  6. At least Ohio GOP is not sending in armed thugs, like the Illinois GOP.

  7. It’s worse.

    Per the Motion to Expedite linked from this article, Smith had decided in favor of the Libertarian Party of Ohio, but was called and emailed by the Republican challengers who “explained” to him why he should really rule against them.

  8. I always get Kasich and the Morning Joe guy mixed up. Are they really different people?

  9. The LPO did not list the petitioners as employees because they were not employees, but rather independent contractors. And there is a world of difference between the two.

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