[from the Fitrakis’ Free Press]

Republican candidate for mayor of Columbus William Todd has direct ties to two controversial election organizations that are linked to the White House scandal surrounding the firing of U.S. attorneys.

Todd, an attorney at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP, is challenging Columbus’ first African American Mayor Michael Coleman in this fall’s election. Between 1993 and 2006, Todd served as an attorney at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey whose website stated that, “Mr. Todd served as litigation counsel in these election matters for groups such as the Free Enterprise Coalition, the American Center for Voting Rights and the Ohio Republican Party.”

The Free Enterprise Coalition (FEC) and the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) emerged as key players in the Bush administration’s voter suppression plan in the 2004 presidential election. Financing from the FEC funded a racketeering charge against grassroots voter registration groups including the NAACP. The ACVR is widely regarded as a fake voting rights organization created to repress minority and poor voters in urban areas while perpetuating the myth of “voter fraud” among Democratic voting blocks.

The Squire, Sanders & Dempsey website also showed Todd as general counsel for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and its affiliated Citizens for a Strong Ohio (CSO). In 2005, the Ohio Election Commission fined the CSO for operating illegally as a Political Action Committee (PAC) and making illegal corporate expenditures to influence Ohio Supreme Court races.

The CSO was also linked directly to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In a legal complaint against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, election rights attorney Cliff Arnebeck exposed the fact that the Chamber had illegally moved $14 million in funds to Republican Supreme Court candidates between 2000-2004, to take over the highest court in Ohio. The role of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Karl Rove and the Bush White House needs to be explored in more detail.

Brad Friedman of Bradblog, an expert on the ACVR, pointed out that Todd’s connection to the ACVR would likely be enough to sink his candidacy. “Even the mainstream media is paying attention now,” he said. It will be interesting to see if the Columbus Dispatch reports on Todd’s connections to voter suppression groups and his ties to the U.S. attorney scandal.

 

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