What would you give to have Karl Rove testify under oath about the flood of millionaire cash he used to influence elections in the last election cycle?

What would you give to have Rove forced to testify about his activities during the stolen election of 2004?

Priceless, you say? Then click the link in this email to donate to the Columbus (Ohio) Institute for Contemporary Journalism’s Election Protection and Litigation Fund, and make it happen!

Ohio election attorney Cliff Arnebeck has filed a two-count complaint against The Partnership for Ohio’s Future, an affiliate of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Arnebeck charges that the Partnership is “…not truly independent, but rather has been coordinated with the Republican candidates, their agents, committees, parties and their de facto coordinated national campaign being directed by Karl Rove.”

Attorneys for the Ohio Chamber have moved to dismiss the case, and you can bet that a veritable army of highly paid Republican attorneys is ready to go to the mats to make sure that Rove is not forced to reveal the GOP’s secrets.

Arnebeck, co-counsel Robert Fitrakis, and a small band of election protection activists have borne the costs of this litigation on their own so far, but they need our help. If we give them the resources, they have what may be the last opportunity to get Rove to speak on the record about his election deceptions of the last six years. Arnebeck and Fitrakis estimate that they will need $12,000 for fees, copying costs, and other non-lawyer expenses, plus at least $11,000 for attorney costs, bringing the total to $23,000.

Here is where you can go to make a tax-deductible donation to support the litigation: https://freepress.org/store.php#donate

Here are two articles that describe the current litigation:

Here is an archive of court documents (pdfs) at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law that describes the King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association versus Kenneth Blackwell lawsuit being brought by attorney Cliff Arnebeck and his team:

The election protection community helped to raise the money for the Ohio recount after the 2004 election. Let’s get together now to raise at least the $23,000 that will get Rove back on the stand and stop the flood of unmarked dollars that are undermining our democracy.

Are you enraged about the bailouts, confused by stimulus packages, and have debt piled upon debt? Do you wonder – Where will it all end?
How did we get into such a situation with more material wealth and productivity – yet everyone is in debt to bankers? And now, all of the sudden, the bankers have no money? And to make things worse, we the taxpayers have to rescue them?

Come see:
“Money as Debt”
Free Press FREE film at the Drexel Theater
Meet the filmmaker!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 @ 7:30PM

Are you enraged about the bailouts, confused by stimulus packages, and have debt piled upon debt? Do you wonder – Where will it all end?
How did we get into such a situation with more material wealth and productivity – yet everyone is in debt to bankers? And now, all of the sudden, the bankers have no money? And to make things worse, we the taxpayers have to rescue them? Money as Debt explores the baffling, fraudulent and destructive arithmetic of the money system that holds us hostage to a forever growing DEBT — and how we might evolve beyond it!
Filmmaker Paul Grignon will be at the Drexel to lead a discussion.

Sponsored by the Free Press, the Drexel Theater, & the Central Ohio Green Education Fund.
Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main St. Bexley
Free Press – 253-2571

Boehner won but how the election proceeded was something to behold on the network screen captures.
1250 A.M. the final count changes, radically. Screen shot shows voter manipulation.

Jim suggests going to

A good place to spend your Saturday evening
Special Guest Musician, Jeff Tobin from The Apple-Bottom Gang

Second Saturday Salon
Saturday, November 13

Meet new progressive allies
Socialize and organize

1021 E. Broad Street, extra parking in rear

Fight Back November 5 – Post Election Discussion
Guest Cliff Arnebeck talks about the buying of elections by corporations.

previous Fight Back shows:

Pay2Play Movie and Rove Lawsuit
Thursday, October 28, 2010, 10:16:09 PM
29:38 minutes (27.13 MB)Comments

Fight Back Oct 8th with David Rovics
Friday, October 08, 2010, 11:52:14 AM
30:00 minutes (27.47 MB)Comments

Fight Back oct 1st Jesse Muhammad
Friday, October 01, 2010, 11:13:36 AM
31:44 minutes (29.06 MB)Comments

Fight Back – Insurgent Theater
Monday, September 27, 2010, 9:07:45 PM
28:51 minutes (26.42 MB)Comments

by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
November 2, 2010

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce will not reveal the list of individuals and corporations that have funded its election campaign in the Buckeye State, despite having promised to do so in a public hearing.

In Columbus on Monday, November 1, Cliff Arnebeck, lead attorney for the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville election theft lawsuit, argued in a racketeering complaint in front of the Ohio Elections Commission that the Partnership for Ohio’s Future, an affiliate of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, should disclose its secret donors. We are co-counsel and plaintiff in the King-Lincoln suit.

Arnebeck argued that former George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove and the Chamber of Commerce are illegally coordinating donations in Ohio. While the recent Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court decision allows for unlimited contributions from independent campaign organizations, it does not allow coordination between candidates and independent committees.

The Chamber spent more than $3 million in this year’s general election cycle to elect two Supreme Court justices, Judith Lanzinger and Maureen O’Connor, running for Chief Justice. The Chamber reported spending $1.45 million on TV ads alone. The Chamber’s $3 million dwarfed the campaign funds of the two candidates, since neither have raised $1 million.

Over the past four election cycles, the Chamber has made public its list of campaign donors. There’s been an ongoing struggle between the Chamber and its critics to list individual donors to the U.S. and Ohio Chambers, instead of their practice of listing lump-sum totals attributed to both Chambers.

Brad Smith, the Chamber’s Chief Counsel, promised in front of the Ohio Election Commission, that the Chamber would produce the names of the donors it has failed to disclose this year.

Formerly nominated by Bill Clinton to the Federal Election Commission, he chaired the Commission in 2004 under the Bush administration. Smith told the four-person Ohio Election Commission panel that “anyone who wants the list” of donors to the Chamber’s election campaigning could have it.

In his “ten-second rebuttal” before the Election Commisson’s Probable Cause panel, Smith complained that Arnebeck never asked him for the list.

In the hall after the hearing, Linda Woggan, the Chamber’s Vice President for Governmental Affairs, promised Arnebeck that she would provide the list of secret donors as well.

Arnebeck specifically asked for the list in electronic form so it could be disseminated to the media prior to Election Day.

In the wake of Smith’s promise, the Commission voted 3-1 to deny Arnebeck’s probable cause motion demanding that list. Arnebeck called Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner who agreed to have subpoenas issued to the Chamber and its affiliates. Brunner, in her capacity of secretary of state, is the party being sued in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville case, replacing former Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.

Following the hearing, Arnebeck, under the auspices of the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal case, then served subpoenas on the Partnership, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber’s Educational Foundation, as well as Woggon and Chamber President Andrew Doehrel at 11:30am at the Chamber building. The subpoenas demanded the names of the secret donors by 2pm.

Arnebeck has long maintained that the Chamber’s activities since the 2000 election year function as an ongoing illegal money laundering operation to take over Ohio’s Supreme Court. Documents submitted at the Commission hearing show the key role of former Ohio Governor Bob Taft in soliciting the secret donations through the Chamber of Commerce.

At 1:30pm, Smith called Arnebeck and assured him that the list of donors would be produced by 2pm, or no later than 3pm.

At 3:30pm, a courier delivered to Arnebeck the Chamber’s official response: a motion to quash the subpoenas, and to keep secret the Chamber’s donor list.

Despite Smith’s quite public promise to deliver the names of donors, he argued in his motion to quash the subpoenas that: “The information sought from these non-party witnesses is not relevant to this matter, nor reasonably intended to lead to the production of admissible evidence.”

In moving to quash, Smith argued that “the subpoenas seek substantially the same information he [Arnebeck] had earlier requested from the Ohio Elections Commission.” Smith failed to note that he had publicly promised to hand the list over before the Commission.

On Sunday, October 24, Arnebeck had served Karl Rove with a subpoena requiring him to testify in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville case concerning civil rights violations in the 2004 Ohio election.

Rove continues to work closely with national Chamber of Commerce chair Tom Donohue. Rove, Donohue and others have made clear their commitment to carrying Ohio for the Republican Party.

Arnebeck asserts their coordination with GOP candidates is a violation of federal election law.

However those charges play out, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce will not be telling the public who has funded its election campaigning efforts before the close of voting November 2.

Smith also has requested sanctions against Mr. Arnebeck because of the unreasonable request on the Chamber: “…particularly in light of Mr. Arnebeck’s claim this morning at the Ohio Elections Commission that the information was needed by this afternoon to prevent ‘a coup’ against the U.S. government.”

Arnebeck’s coup reference was in relation to his allegation that Rove and the Chamber are involved in an unprecedented secret and coordinated money laundering operation to shift U.S. and state politics to Republican control.

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored four books on election protection at Free Press, where the FITRAKIS FILES also appear. HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE U.S. is at Harvey Wasserman They are co-counsel and plaintiff in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville lawsuit.

Bob Fitrakis
October 31, 2010

The Daily Monopoly, Columbus Dispatch, that masquerades as a newspaper, ran the following subhead in its editorial in support of Issue 12: “City charter change would provide public with more information.”

If you vote “yes” on Issue 12 this November 2, you will be voting to allow Council to hold closed meetings when discussing certain issues. This would include personnel matters, property purchase, litigation, collective bargaining, and security matters.

So, after nearly a hundred years of open City Council meetings mandated by the Columbus City Charter, we’re now being told that we will get “more information” and “accountability” by closing Council’s chamber doors to the public.

Let’s look at the reasons Council is proposing to close their meetings. First, following Tuesday’s election, the Council will be replacing Charleta Tavares who will doubtlessly be elected to the state Senate. Council claims it needs go behind closed doors for the purpose of vetting potential candidates who seek the open seat.

The Dispatch, whose editorial board has been doing PR for the pro-Issue 12 group, the so-called Columbus Citizens for Good Government, claimed that “Many good candidates for public jobs would refuse to apply if their interviews and Council discussions about them had to be public.”

The public interviewing of candidates has a long and honorable tradition in the United States. The U.S. Senate routinely interrogates cabinet and other high-level appointments of the President publicly. This tradition has served the public well. In Columbus in the past, the Council has attempted to ignore this law and pick candidates in closed meetings.

I know. In both 1991 and 1993, I was on the short list for Columbus City Council. I met with the then-Council President in a private meeting. Perhaps the Council President didn’t want the public to hear the questions I was asked, such as how much money I could raise for the campaign and whether or not I would continue to call myself a progressive, since it was a “leftist” term.

The City Attorney ruled that the last two City Council appointments violated the City Charter because they were done privately. It embarrassed City Council President Michael Mentel when he was forced to accept the resignation of the newly-anointed Council members, and then interview them in public and re-appoint them.

Instead of taking a training class in interviewing techniques and realizing that potential public officials should learn how to speak in public, Mentel has responded by attempting to change the City Charter to hide the interview process from the public.

In the last decade and half, every City Council member was appointed first, and elected later. This bizarre, undemocratic ritual, put forth by the one-party Democratic system that has held either a 6-1 or 7-0 majority throughout that period, is designed to allow Council to choose each incoming member and the Democratic appointees to run with the unfair advantage of incumbency.

Second, the Dispatch editorial made the absurd argument that: “A public body can’t strike a good deal to buy a piece of land or establish a strategy for a lawsuit if the details of the position must be reached in public view.”

City real estate deals are negotiated by the City’s Development Department and the Mayor. All Council does is approve the final deal. Maybe the Dispatch should read its own newspaper to understand this basic concept. The October 24 paper reported the following: “City Council President Michael C. Mentel, an early proponent of moving the casino out of the Arena District, said Penn National hasn’t shared its request with him. The Coleman administration is handing talks for the city, so he said. He’ll wait for an agreement to emerge.”

Thus, Mentel openly admits that Council has nothing to do with negotiating property buys under Columbus’ strong mayor system of government. Even if Council did negotiate real estate transactions, they need not worry about getting a better deal because they can just take the property they need at fair market value. Apparently the Dispatch has never heard of the term “eminent domain,” a practice Council may use at any time for the taking of public property.

The real reason Mentel wants to go behind closed doors is to talk about giving rich corporate entities and major donors tax breaks or tax increment financing that allows a private entity to keep the tax dollars they pay for improving their property. It is much easier to come up with schemes to give away subsidies in the form of infrastructure development or tax breaks if the pesky public is not around.

On the question of litigation, again, let’s start with the obvious. City Council only approves the final deal or expenditure, which we all should want to be publicly debated. It is again the executive branch of City government, through the City Attorney, that negotiates these settlements.

Like litigation, labor negotiations are handled by the Mayor and his representatives. Again, all Council is empowered to do is to publicly debate the prudence of the resulting expenditures.

Finally, the notion that City Council needs to retire to executive session for “homeland security” is laughable. The City has a Public Safety Director and a Chief of Police, and various joint task forces with other security and police agencies. The last thing that will happen in the case of an actual emergency will be calling of parttime City Council people into an emergency session. Both federal and state emergency management agencies working with fulltime professional public safety appointees of the Mayor will handle the issue.

We need Council to make sure, after the fact, that our rights aren’t being violated. We don’t need them to be secretly briefed and compromised under some local notion of “homeland security.”

Take a look at who’s putting up the money to bankroll the Columbus Citizens for Good Government–the usual group of unnatural citizens known as wealthy corporations. Ask yourself why the Limited Brand was the biggest reported donor of $10,000 for closed Council meetings, a company that has benefited by the destruction of the City Center mall and massive public welfare checks to help increase its riches.

Nationwide is on the Council’s side, coughing up $5000, no doubt to ensure its status as one of the recipients of tax breaks that allowed them to develop the area around its headquarters downtown while shafting the Columbus Public School district.

When the Dispatch reported the major donors to the Columbus Citizens for Good Government, the names missing were those of real citizens. Issue 12 is being pushed by those “legal fictions” we call corporations and the politicians they control as a wholly-owned subsidy–like Mike Mentel.

The only way they can get their closed meetings approved is to word their ballot language in such a way that convinces voters that voting “yes” would lead to open meetings. NBC4 asked six citizens what the wording meant for Issue 12. Three felt if you voted “yes” you kept Council meetings open. The other three couldn’t comprehend what the intentionally incomprehensible language meant.

The ballot language reads: “Shall Section 8 of the charter of the city of Columbus be amended to permit council or its committees to convene in the same manner as the general law of Ohio pertaining to open meetings of public bodies when discussing issues such as personnel matters, purchase of property, litigation, collective bargaining, and security matters, as recommended by the Charter Review Committee.”

“Yes,” however, means closed meetings. You have to vote “no” on Issue 12 to keep Council meetings open.

What the wording doesn’t tell us is that the City of Columbus has a higher standard of transparency than the minimum standard required under Ohio law. This is due mostly to the fact that many Ohio municipalities are weak mayoral systems where the City Council picks the Mayor or a Council member serves as Mayor. Under these types of charters, Council actually buys property, settle lawsuits, and negotiate with employees. This has nothing to do with how the City of Columbus conducts business.

Columbus’ long legacy of transparency is at stake on Election Day. Contrary to what the Dispatch and their corporate allies say, closed meetings will not provide the public “more information.” They will provide less, and it will be an embracing of big city backroom dealing that inevitably will lead to widespread corruption.


Bob Fitrakis is a former candidate for Columbus City Council and a Professor of Political Science at Columbus State Community College.