“No big deal. We were waiting for this so we can appeal,” Mark Brown, a capital law school professor who represents the Ohio Libertarian Party [LPO], told Plunderbund Saturday.
Attorney Brown’s plan to appeal another judicial turn down comes on the heels of a ruling by a federal judge that justice may have to wait a little longer after The Libertarian Party of Ohio, who had sued Secretary of State Jon Husted and voter Greg Felsoci, alleging they were part of a scheme to selectively enforce Ohio election law to help Republican Gov. John Kasich’s re-election bid, got the case rejected a third time.
Kasich Dodges Same Bullet Thrice
Previously, the case lost 5-2 at the Ohio Elections Commission, then languished in the court docket of a Franklin County administrative judge who rejected it shortly before resigning from the bench, prompting Team LPO to appeal it to federal court.
The Plain Dealer reported Friday that U.S. District Judge Michael Watson’s ruling rejected the party’s claims because it “failed to prove any conspiracy was involved when Husted disqualified Earl and the party’s attorney general candidate from the ballot for petition violations.”
Judge Michael Watson’s ruling saved Gov. John Kasich and some of his top insider advisers from revealing their documented cooperation to bump the LPO’s 2014 candidate for governor, Charlie Earl, from the ballot for fear he would take base votes away from Gov. Kasich enough that, if the election was close, might mean the difference between winning and losing if Democrats put up a strong challenger. The Democrats didn’t put forward a strong challenger, and Gov. Kasich went on to win a second and final term by a lopsided margin.
Indeed, Judge Watson’s ruling appears to conveniently ignore the actual interaction, cooperation and planning that went on behind the scenes, as numerous emails attorney Brown uncovered in the court of information gathered from depositions clearly show happened. A well-connected law firm with a partner very friendly to Republicans in general and John Kasich in particular was hired by Terry Casey, a long-time friend and political operative for Mr. Kasich. Brown tracks Mr. Casey’s orchestrations in challenging Earl’s spot on the ballot as a possible pot hole for Team Kasich. The bills racked up by Terry Casey, which are known to be at least $600,000 and maybe more, were paid for by the Ohio Republican Party with help from Matt Borges, Gov. Kasich’s hand-picked selection who previously plead guilty to influence peddling while chief of staff for former Republican Auditor of State, Joe Deters..
Mr. Casey’s improbably defense is that he was a “self starter” who acted on his own, and lucky for him, Mr. Borges and the ORP came to rescue him by paying the bill.
Judge Watson admitted that an email trail exists that shows Mr. Casey communicating with the state party chair and Kasich’s campaign, but the judge concluded, despite the clear connection between the dots, that they did not prove the parties worked together to get the Libertarian candidates disqualified.
“While these messages show Casey’s proclivity to involve himself in Republican politics, the messages do not provide any support for Plaintiffs’ claim of civil conspiracy between a private actor and a state actor,” the judge wrote, the PD reported.
The PD’s report, Mr. Brown said, is misleading. “Watson simply ruled, as he had already, that the Kasich Campaign and the ORP are not state actors. Thus we failed to show a conspiracy between Casey and a state actor. This says nothing about whether Casey and the Kasich Campaign conspired. They did,” Mr. Brown, Capital’s Newton D. Baker/Baker and Hostetler Chair of Law, told Plunderbund Saturday via email.
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