Fwd: Ohio AG Revenge
Attorney General launches revenge attack on Election Protection
Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman
In a stunning legal attack, Ohio's Republican Attorney General has
moved for sanctions against the four attorneys who sued George W. Bush
et. al. in an attempt to investigate the Buckeye State's bitterly
contested November 2 election.
Fitrakis, Susan Truitt, Cliff Arnebeck and Peter Peckarsky were named
by Attorney General James Petro in a filing with the Ohio Supreme
Court. Petro charges the November Moss v Bush and Moss v.
Moyer filings by the Election Protection legal team were
"frivolous." Petro is demanding court sanctions and
"Instead of evidence, contesters offered
only theory, conjecture, hypothesis and invective," the Attorney
General's January 18th memo about the suit said. "A contest
proceeding is not a toy for idle hands. It is not to be used to make a
political point, or to be used as a discovery tool, or be used to
inconvenience or harass public officials, or to be used as a publicity
Arnebeck says it has been Petro and Ohio's partisan Republican
Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, who have stonewalled the
election challenge legal proceedings. Both have refused to submit any
evidence to the court to refute the allegations in the election
challenge case - claiming George W. Bush did not win a majority in
Ohio - and Petro's office has also refused to allow any Ohio public
election official to be deposed.
cage has been rattled and they popped their cork," Arnebeck said.
"The chairman of the Ohio Republican Party is going berserk
because he can't stand the fact we are not going away. We are still
pursuing the legal investigation and the legal interrogations. They
are just besides themselves because they cannot withstand cross
filing is widely viewed as revenge for the heavy toll on the
credibility of the Ohio GOP and Petro's cohort, Secretary of State
Blackwell, caused by grassroots activists. Spurred by the lawsuit, by
extensive coverage at http://freepress.org and other web sites, and by
a nationwide grassroots campaign that was escalated by Rev. Jesse
Jackson and a series of public hearings around Ohio and in Congress,
some three dozen Senators and Representatives mounted the first-ever
challenge to a state's Electoral College delegation.
unprecedented campaign by citizens concerned about a wide range of
disturbing and suspicious flaws in Ohio's voting process, Sen. Barbara
Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) exercised their
rights under an 1887 federal statue to force a two-hour debate in both
houses of Congress on whether the Ohio Electors designed for George W.
Bush should be seated. Both Ohio's Republican Senators, George
Voinovich and Mike DeWine, angrily denounced the action.
arose from widespread irregularities largely blamed on Blackwell, who
both administered the election and served as co-chair of Ohio's
Bush-Cheney campaign. In the past week, Ohio media widely reported
that Blackwell has sent out a fundraising letter soliciting
contributions from corporate donors, which is illegal under Ohio law.
Petro's office has yet to indict Blackwell. Blackwell says the letter
was "a mistake" and pledged to send back any such
contributions. He also claimed credit in the letter for delivering
Ohio's electoral votes to Bush, a boast that has infuriated many
Ohioans who believe the election was administered in a partisan
to sanction the four election protection attorneys could result in
stiff fines. The Ohio Supreme Court is dominated by Republicans. Chief
Justice Thomas Moyer was re-elected in a bitterly contested November
vote about which the election protection team raised challenges in
its Moss v. Moyer filing. Nonetheless, Moyer refused to recuse
himself. Among other things, Moyer's court refused to require
Blackwell, Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Presidential Advisor
Karl Rove to be comply with a notice of deposition. Those refusals,
and the January 6 Electoral College vote for Bush, prompted the team
to withdraw both filings.
since filed another action attempting to stop Bush's inauguration.
That filing, in U.S. District Court in Ohio's Southern district, was
filed late last week and seeks to depose Blackwell for his role in
election "fraud" that awarded Bush the state's presidential
vote and a second term as president.
also been discussion of the possibility of filings based primarily on
civil rights violations against African Americans and students who
were denied the right to vote on November 2 for a wide range of
reasons, most importantly a shortage of voting machines in critical
brief repeatedly scorns the now-dismissed 2004 presidential election
challenge as a frivolous suit, without any basis in fact. However,
what his brief does not state is how the Secretary of State's office,
assisted by Petro's office, effectively administered a gag order on
almost all presidential voting records and election officials after
the election challenge team could not prove election fraud, as
required by Ohio law. The challenge legal team, as in other lawsuits,
sought to use the discovery process to boost their claims. Needless to
say, Petro's office used every avenue to deny them that right - and
then seeks to sanction them for improperly using the court discovery
action raises suspicions that revenge and an attempt to chill further
legal actions are the core motivations for this latest GOP assault on
the election protection process.
tactics will not end scrutiny of Ohio's 2004 presidential vote.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have requested a federal
GAO report on election irregularities in the state. Those Democrats
have also produced a report detailing many Election Day problems that
is now part of the congressional record and will be the basis for
federal legislation later in the 109th Congress, many representatives
and senators have said.
Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors, with Bob Fitrakis, of
OHIO'S STOLEN ELECTION: VOICES OF THE DISENFRANCHISED, 2004, a
book/film project upcoming from www.freepress.org.