Plunderbund has set the standard for coverage of Gov. John Kasich’s secret and successful derailing of Ohio Libertarian Party candidate Charlie Earl from the 2014 ballot. The case brought by the Ohio Libertarian Party is now in a federal appeals court and briefs are due on July 15th.
Clerk of the Court Deborah S. Hunt wrote on June 7, “Upon review of the plaintiffs-appellants’ motion for emergency relief pending appeal and/or to expedite briefing, it hereby is ORDERED that briefing in this appeal be expedited. The clerk is directed to enter a briefing schedule, with briefing to be completed by July 15, 2016.”
The case—Libertarian Party of Ohio, et al v. Jon Husted, et al—alleges that the Kasich campaign conspired with the Ohio Republican Party and other Kasich campaign agents, especially Terry Casey, a long-time political friend and operative to John Kasich, to take down LPO’s candidate Earl in order to avoid any political obstacles that could tarnish Gov. Kasich’s widely expected victory that fall. The case now rests in a federal appeals court, arriving there following a succession of defeats that started with the Ohio Elections Commission, then went to a Franklin County Common Pleas Court administrative judge before it was dismissed by a Federal District Court judge.
U.S. District Judge Michael Watson’s rejected the plaintiff’s claims, saying in his ruling that it “failed to prove any conspiracy was involved when Husted [Ohio’s Secretary of State] disqualified Earl and the party’s attorney general candidate from the ballot for petition violations.” , who said the plaintiffs Mark Brown, a Capital University law professor working as co-counsel with Mark Katsantonus, said Watson only ruled that their case failed to show a conspiracy between Terry Casey and “a state actor.”
“The news report moreover is misleading,” Brown told Plunderbund about the article posted by The Cleveland Plain Dealer at Cleveland.com. Brown said Judge 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.”
Attorney Brown responded to a question from Plunderbund on the road forward for the case that, even though it exposes the seamy side of politics practiced by a public official who has decried partisan politics even though he appears to be a master of the dark side of it, has been turned down on legal grounds that have prevented the core of the case to be heard in open court.
Plunderbund has learned that briefs in the case that recalls Richard Nixon’s dirty tricks squad, are due July 15th. Plaintiffs have their work cut out for them, as Camp Kasich and The Ohio Republican Party, two key players key to orchestrating the secret scheme to remove Earl from the GOP ballot, hope to escape one more time from giving up information, including emails between and among Matt ORP Chairman Borges, a convicted influence peddler who John Kasich installed to the state political party in a palace coup that dethroned its success leader, Kevin DeWine. It also finds Mr. Casey as the key operative carrying out the plan that cost at least $600,000.
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,” Judge Watson wrote.
Even though the case by LPO and its attorneys has lost three times to date, a reversal by a federal appeals court would open up a Pandora’s Box of political riches that would show to what lengths Gov. Kasich, his political friends and allies would go to assure an obstacle free path to reelection in 2014. Winning big for Mr. Kasich was absolutely essential to his run for the White House this year, the second one since the first one in 2000 fizzled on the runway.
The good news for Attorney Mark Brown is the expedited schedule gives plaintiffs another chance to win relief before the November elections.
In separate but related news, Ohio Libertarians won’t have an Ohio Libertarian candidate for president to vote for because the state organization didn’t apply for recognition as a minor party. Ohio Libertarian will instead put their energy into collecting 5,000 signatures to put the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, on the November ballot. Aaron Keith Harris, LPO’s spokesman, said gathering 30,600 signatures of registered Ohio voters wasn’t the focus this year, the Plain Dealer reported.