Plaintiff attorneys representing the Libertarian Party of Ohio [LPO] and its candidate for governor in 2014 just won’t give up. Their case that exposes what Gov. John Kasich and his political friends and allies will do behind the scenes to assure him a win by eliminating his competition has another life to live, this time in an appeal filed Monday with the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth Appellate District.
Plaintiff attorneys Mark Brown and Mark G. Kafantaris filed the appeal after it was dismissed by out-going Republican Franklin County Administrative Judge Patrick Sheeran, who ruled in March that the Ohio Elections Commission made the correct decision when it voted 5-2 in May of 2015 to not investigate coordinated activities between Mr. Kasich’s campaign staff, the Ohio Republican Party and a long-time friend and political operative to derail LPO’s candidate for governor, Charlie Earl. At the time, Camp Kasich thought Earl popular enough that he could drain enough votes away from Gov. Kasich and make the election with the Democratic candidate closer than Camp Kasich wanted it to be.
The Walking Dead Of Court Cases
According to the court document outlining the reasons for an appeal, LPO’s team of lawyers argued that Judge Sheeran erred in his decision to dismiss the case. “The Common Pleas Court erred in concluding that the Commission’s record ‘absolutely refuted’ the possibility that the full Commission’s dismissal might have been on the merits,” Plaintiff attorneys wrote.
Plunderbund has lead Ohio media on reporting on this case, so much so that an article on it was part of the official filing by Brown and Kafantaris.
101 Refresher on Kasich Dirty Tricks Squad
In a short refresher course, the filing says the case to dump Earl from the 2014 ballot, which with the help of Ohio’s Secretary of State was successful, starts with the 2014 gubernatorial election in Ohio, when LPO had on January 7, 2014 won back its right to participate in Ohio’s elections. That presence, the argument goes, threatened “Kasich’s hegemony in Ohio. Not because its candidate, Charlie Earl, would win the election; but because Earl threatened to siphon votes away from Kasich’s campaign.”
When Mr. Earl qualified for the ballot, the filing says, “Kasich’s campaign became concerned that Earl could draw votes away from Kasich in the general election. Earl had to be stopped.”
Gov. John Kasich’s dirty tricks squad went to work, but it’s task wasn’t easy. “As the record makes clear in this case, it cost almost $600,000. For legal and political reasons, the Kasich Campaign went to great lengths to distance itself from Earl’s removal. It constructed a ‘secret client,’ Terry Casey, to take care of the needed financial transactions. It was Casey, a secret operative, who hired the lawyers (the Zeiger firm or “ZTL”) to remove Earl. Casey hired the Zeiger firm; Casey received the bills from the Zeiger firm; Casey agreed to insure that the bills — which came to $600,000 — were paid,” the filing says. Mr. Casey has been a friend of John Kasich’s going back to Mr. Kasich’s first run for office in the late 1970s. When Kasich became governor in 2011, one of his first appoints was to install Mr. Casey to headsup the state’s powerful personnel review board. Casey has argued he was a “self starter” and did not take direction from anyone from Kasich’s team.
“Political espionage is a nasty business. When allowed to prosper in the shadows, it grows. It infects. Soon, the political process is consumed by this cancer. Only public disclosure and strident enforcement can prevent it,” Brown and Kafantaris argue in the brief.
This State’s campaign finance laws must be enforced, the appeal says. “This case is about enforcing Ohio’s plain and understandable campaign finance laws. It is about preventing political espionage like that perpetrated by the Kasich Campaign.”
Gov. Kasich, who is running for president for the second time in 16 years, and who finds himself one of three Republican candidates still in the 2016 race for GOP nominee, has not had to explain the findings of fact presented by LPO in this case. Mr. Kasich’s reliable refrain is that he’s above politics and only wants to bring people together. His record, from his early days to today, show that claim to be false on nearly all accounts.
As he struggles to remain relevant as voters in one state after another not choosing him but Donald Trump or Ted Cruz instead, Ohio’s term-limited governor has managed to avoid any serious scrutiny from state or national media, who are more interested in his town hall meeting song playlist or his faux pas of eating pizza with a fork in New York City. Mr. Kasich has lots of scandals on his watch waiting to be delved into, and his underhanded tactic to take down a potential challenger that smacks of Nixonian era dirty tricks appears to have little interest among social media reporters who appear too lazy to look into the case let alone even mention it.
You can read the full brief here: EarlAppellantBrief