, , , , ,

Come to the Free Press FREE film night – Free For All

Come to the Free Press FREE film night – Free For All
Tuesday, October 23 — 7:30pm

Free For All is a documentary film by John Wellington Ennis. John Ennis is planning to be here for the showing. This is a re-release of his original film with updated information.
How did America get so off track? Nagging doubts about the legitimacy of the 2004 election force John Ennis to get off his sofa and investigate Ohio leading up to the 2006 elections – even though he is just some dude. He meets with journalists, politicians, election officials, attorneys, activists, and everyday Ohioans in a search for truth. Along his journey, Ennis uncovers a web of schemes that swing U.S. election. Re-released with updated information including the mysterious death of Mike Connell.
Followed by a discussion.

Free and open to the public as part of the Free Press Film Night at the Drexel. This screening is co-sponsored by the Free Press, the Columbus Film Council, the Central Ohio Green Education Fund, and the Drexel.

Location: Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main St., Bexley
Phone: 253-2571
Email: truth@freepress.org

, , , , , ,

Employees of Romney Family’s secret bank tied to fraud, money laundering, drug cartels and the CIA

by Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis
October 20, 2012

As previously reported in by the Columbus Free Press, the Romney family, namely Mitt, Ann, G Scott and Tagg Romney, along with Mitt’s “6th son” and campaign finance chair have a secretive private equity firm called Solamere Capital Partners. This firms ties to Romney’s campaign and bundlers is already well documented, along with its connection to the manufacture and distribution of voting machines. What is not as well documented is a subsidiary of that secret bank hiring employees of a failed firm tied to a ponzi scheme that has a long history of money laundering for Latin American drug cartels and to the Iran-Contra scandal.

As reported by ThinkProgress, Solamere Capital Partner’s subsidiary Solamere Advisors is a investment advisory group, providing advice to Solamere clients and boosting sales. Would-be corporate pugilist Tagg Romney is a director. According to the New York Times, all but one of its 11 employees came from the Charlotte office of the Stanford Financial Group, the US investment arm of convicted felon R. Allen Stanford’s offshore banking and fraud network that comprised a host of companies including the Stanford International Bank, Stanford Capital Management, The Bank of Antigua, Stanford Trust and Stanford Gold and Bullion. Three of these employees, Tim Bambauer, Deems May, and Brandon Phillips, received incentive compensation related to their direct sales of securities linked to a fraud that brought down this banking network.

Tim Bambauer has left his position as managing partner at Solamere Advisors. May and Phillips remain employed as partner and chief compliance officer respectively.

Allen Stanford is currently serving a 110-year prison sentence for convictions on 13 counts of fraud. His companies were placed in receivership. $8 billion of Stanford’s stolen money has yet to be recovered and the victims are in court to recover those funds and incentive pay bonuses to Stanford employees (including Bambauer, May and Phillips) for fraudulently getting people to invest in an operation that later bilked many of them out of their life’s savings.

Stanford’s shady history and criminality did not begin with the fraudulent investments that lead to his downfall, nor was it unknown at the highest level of United State’s Government. In a 2006 diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, the US Ambassador to Antigua advised “Embassy officers do not reach out to Stanford because of the allegations of bribery and money laundering. The Ambassador managed to stay out of any one-on-one photos with Stanford during the breakfast. For his part, Stanford said he preferred to conduct his business without contacting the Embassy, resolving any investment disputes directly with local governments. It is whispered in the region that Stanford facilitates resolution with significant cash contributions.”

Similarly investigations by the SEC, FBI and Scotland Yard into Stanford’s empire stalled or failed all the way back to the 1980s. The Independent Newspaper in the UK alleges that Stanford’s network was on the FBI’s radar for more than 20 years. Stanford set up his first offshore bank in 1986, just as Eugene Hausenfaus, shot down while gun running for the CIA in Nicaragua, was being connected to another company named Stanford, in this case the “Stanford Technology Trading Group” owned by Richard Secord, Albert Hakim, and 4 unknown other persons, perhaps including Allen Stanford. According to Iran-Contra Whistleblower Al Martin (Lt. Cmdr. USNR ret.) “Anything with the name Stanford on it belonged to Secord”. When finally brought to trial, Stanford employed the same defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin, as Iran-Contra defendant Oliver North.

As the Iran-Contra explosion crippled the CIA’s Caribbean bank of choice, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), Stanford’s offshore banking empire got using the same techniques and embracing the same moral category of clients. Stanford’s banks were known to have laundered money from the Juarez Cartel and alleged to have done so earlier for the Medellin Cartel, and one of his private planes has been seized by the Mexican government in a drug case.

On top of legal woes in the United States and Mexico, the London Daily Telegraph reported that Stanford’s Venezuelan offices were raided by Venezuela’s military intelligence over claims that its employees were paid by the CIA to spy on the South American country. When asked about this in a CNBC interview which was cited in a story by independent journalist Tom Burghardt, Stanford declined to comment on any involvement with the CIA rather than outright deny it.

All of the these dealings by Stanford, and the complicity of his employees in facilitating them, was public information before January 2010, when Mitt Romney addressed the first full meeting of Solamere’s investors. Yet his son Tagg chose to hire into his family these alleged white collar criminals as soon as Stanford’s criminal empire collapsed. The Romney family stands by the new employees associated with their secret bank, as evidenced by Tagg’s response to interview questions from ThinkProgress regarding Solamere’s ability to reign them in: “Hey guys, We’re done here”.

, , , ,

Does the Romney family now own your e-vote?

by Gerry Bello, Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
October 18, 2012

Will you cast your vote this fall on a faulty electronic machine that’s partly owned by the Romney Family? Will that machine decide whether Romney will then inherit the White House?

Through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and three out of five board members in Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7. Hart machines will also be used elsewhere in the United States.

In other words, a candidate for the presidency of the United States, and his brother, wife and son, have a straight-line financial interest in the voting machines that could decide this fall’s election. These machines cannot be monitored by the public. But they will help decide who “owns” the White House.

They are especially crucial in Ohio, without which no Republican candidate has ever won the White House. In 2004, in the dead of election night, an electronic swing of more than 300,000 votes switched Ohio from the John Kerry column to George W. Bush, giving him a second term. A virtual statistical impossibility, the 6-plus% shift occurred between 12:20 and 2am election night as votes were being tallied by a GOP-controlled information technology firm on servers in a basement in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In defiance of a federal injunction, 56 of Ohio’s 88 counties destroyed all election records, making a recount impossible. Ohio’s governor and secretary of state in 2004 were both Republicans, as are the governors and secretaries of state in nine key swing states this year.

As we have previously reported, H.I.G. Capital has on its board of directors at least three close associates of the Romney family. H.I.G. Capital directors John P. Bolduk and Douglas Berman are major Romney fundraisers. So is former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve. H.I.G. employees have contributed at least $338,000 to Romney’s campaign. Fully a third of H.I.G.’s leadership previously worked at Romney’s old Bain firm.

But new research now shows that the association doesn’t stop with mere friendship and business associations. Mitt Romney, his wife Ann Romney, and their son Tagg Romney are also invested in H.I.G. Capital, as is Mitt’s brother G. Scott Romney.

The investment comes in part through the privately held family equity firm called Solamere, which bears the name of the posh Utah ski community where the Romney family retreats to slide down the slopes.

Unlike other private equity firms, Solamere does not invest in companies directly. Instead, Solamere invests in other private equity funds, like H.I.G. Capital. Solamere calls them “partners.” These partners, like H.I.G., then invest in various enterprises, like Hart Intercivic, the nation’s third-largest voting machine manufacturer.

As reported by Lee Fang of The Nation, Solamere was founded by Tagg Romney and Spencer Zwick, Papa Romney’s campaign finance chair. Ann Romney and Mitt’s brother G. Scott Romney are also invested. Mitt himself threw in $10 million “seed money” to get the fund going, and spoke personally to its first full investors conference. Solamere’s public web presence has been reduced to a front page only, so a complete list of it’s “partners” can not be found. But reportage by the New York Times, Boston Globe, Esquire and the Nation have slowly given us a partial picture of which funds are being funded by Solamere. Some $232 million has been raised so far, according to SEC filings and industry publications.

In addition to Romney’s finance chair Spencer Zwick, Solamere has also provided the campaign with its finance director, Richard Morley, and a western regional finance coordinator, Kaitlin O’Reilly. O’Reilly is listed as an “executive assistant” at Solamere, and also at SJZ LLC, which was founded by her boss Spencer Zwick. The SJZ LLC campaign finance consulting firm has billed Mitt’s campaign over $2 million this election cycle as well as doing another $9,687,582 in billing to various Congressional Campaigns. The host of the private fundraiser at which Romney made his infamous “47%” speech was Marc J. Leder, co-CEO of Sun Capital, another “partner” of the Solamere fund.

As in virtually every close presidential race, Ohio may well hold the key to the Electoral College decision as to who will become the nation’s next chief executive. The presence of Hart Intercivic machines in Hamilton County, home to Cincinnati, means there is a high likelihood the votes that will decide the presidency will be cast on them. Major media like CBS have begun reporting that Cincinnati could be “ground zero” in this year’s election.

But these Hart machines are deeply flawed and widely know to be open to a troubling variety of attacks and breakdowns. There is no legal or other means to definitively monitor and re-check a tally compiled on Hart or other electronic voting machines. Ohio’s current governor and secretary of state are both Republicans.

Does this mean the Romney investment in Hart Intercivic through H.I.G. Capital and Solamere will yield it not only financial profits but the White House itself?

Tune in during the deep night of November 7, when the electronic votes in swing state Ohio are once again opaquely reported to the nation and the world, without meaningful public scrutiny or legal recourse.

Gerry Bello is chief researcher for Free Press. Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of five books on election protection, including WILL THE GOP STEAL AMERICA’S 2012 ELECTION? an e-book at Free Press.

, , , , , ,

Free Press FREE Film Night: Pay 2 Play

Tuesday, October 23,2012, 7:30pm
PAY 2 PLAY is a documentary on the costs of running for office, weaving compelling characters and campaign drama with art and activism to show the path to reform.
PAY 2 PLAY shows the need for campaign reform through the compelling stories of first-time candidates in the battleground state of Ohio. From the Supreme Court decision Citizens United to the billionaire Koch Brothers, the film outlines a corporate strategy spanning decades to manipulate the media, the courts, and the public to turn our elections into one big game of Pay to Play politics.
And that’s why PAY 2 PLAY uses a game to make these challenges fun and comprehensive. We use an analogy to the game Monopoly, to show how candidates running for office face costly monopolies in their quest for public service, and how improving the rules of the game through political reform would help our country flourish.
This screening is co-sponsored by the Free Press, the Columbus Film Council, the Central Ohio Green Education Fund, and the Drexel.
Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main St., Bexley
253-2571
truth@freepress.org

, , , ,

Free Press FREE Film Night: Pay 2 Play

Tuesday, October 23,2012, 7:30pm
PAY 2 PLAY is a documentary on the costs of running for office, weaving compelling characters and campaign drama with art and activism to show the path to reform.
PAY 2 PLAY shows the need for campaign reform through the compelling stories of first-time candidates in the battleground state of Ohio. From the Supreme Court decision Citizens United to the billionaire Koch Brothers, the film outlines a corporate strategy spanning decades to manipulate the media, the courts, and the public to turn our elections into one big game of Pay to Play politics.
And that’s why PAY 2 PLAY uses a game to make these challenges fun and comprehensive. We use an analogy to the game Monopoly, to show how candidates running for office face costly monopolies in their quest for public service, and how improving the rules of the game through political reform would help our country flourish.
This screening is co-sponsored by the Free Press, the Columbus Film Council, the Central Ohio Green Education Fund, and the Drexel.
Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main St., Bexley
253-2571
truth@freepress.org

, , , , ,

New Book: Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement’s Rise and Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People’s Vote, 2000-2008

Bob Fitrakis
October 5, 2012

CICJ Books has just released “Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement’s Rise and Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People’s Vote, 2000-2008” by Marta Steele.

Marta Steele has done yeoman work for the election integrity movement. She has plowed through more websites and blogs than one can even imagine. She set out with the nearly impossible task of writing the definitive historical narrative of the folly of electronic voting in the United States between 1988 and 2008. More shockingly, she accomplished that task.

Electronic voting machines are perfectly designed to steal elections. That’s their principle purpose. Ireland has just gotten rid of them altogether. Germany, Japan, Canada, Switzerland all use paper ballots. Why? Because you can actually count them in public, and then count them again.

But here in the US, elections are corporate-owned and operated. Anyone who experienced pushing the e-spot for John Kerry and having the name George W. Bush light up—as happened so often in Ohio 2004—knows all too well that what Marta Steele documents in this remarkable book has become the defining reality in American election theft.

What she has done by way of documentation is truly impressive. Never again will those who question the validity of electronic voting be called “conspiracy theorists.” Through sheer tenacity, the author has scoured the vast morass of cyberspace and brought back all the essential data and assembled it in an understandable and analytical fashion. Readers can only draw one conclusion from her work – those who deny the death of democracy are foolish “coincidence theorists.”

She accumulated mountains of incidences that show the so-called “red shift” in favor of the Republican Party is not an anomaly or computer “glitch,” but evidence that there is systematic tampering of computerized voting machines by private companies connected to the Republican Party. Although our newspaper, the Columbus Free Press, and our website freepress.org published plenty on the flaws of electronic voting and election irregularities, we were nonetheless overwhelmed by the research documented in this volume. Those who read this book will no longer fall for the easy propaganda lines and talking points put forth by Karl Rove and his cohorts in explaining away impossible election results.

This book is important because its research is so detailed, its history so clear, and its analysis so convincing. The book destroys the mythology that “it can’t happen here” – that our system is an old and infallible democracy that can’t be corrupted. This powerful work will force all who read it to take a side, but more importantly, to take action, perhaps even direct action.

A key breakthrough that the book allows is to shatter the absurd notion that the empire of the United Stated may very well meddle in and steal election abroad, but would never use these tactics at home. The fact that the Bush family, with their patriarch George Herbert Walker Bush being the CIA director, is so inextricably linked to the rise of electronic voting and improbably election results, should be no surprise. That’s why it is no coincidence that she starts her history of election voting irregularities in the year that George H.W. Bush wins the New Hampshire and becomes president.

The Bush family ascendancy corresponds to black box, nontransparent voting in America. The more we’ve privatized our software and hardware and called it “trade secrets,” the better the Bush family candidates have done, against all odds. Their presidential victories, with the official exit polls falling well outside the margin of errors and predicting victories for their opponents, would easily be denounced by election observers in a Third World country.

Small wonder that when push came to shove, Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell refused to allow United Nations observers into the Buckeye State polling places to check the veracity of the 2004 balloting.

We believe this book does more than any other to expose the evils of electronic voting. The endnotes alone amount to a giant step forward in revealing the crimes of privatized e-voting in our nation.

As Al Gore and John Kerry refused to do, we must now face the reality that as long as our balloting process is dominated by electronic machines, the outcome of any election can be flipped by a governor or secretary of state with a few late-night key strokes. Considering the hundreds of millions the rich and super-rich are willing to spend to control the government, would you ever doubt they would hesitate to buy an election?

What Marta Steele has done is to confirm far beyond any reasonable doubt that as long as electronic machines are at the core of our vote count, there is no such thing as democracy in the USA. What we have instead is an electronic corporatocracy….proprietary, secretive, anti-democratic and for sale (or lease) to the highest bidder. The real question is: now that Marta had made this all perfectly clear, what are we going to do about it?

———————-

~ with Harvey Wasserman

Buy this book at the Free Press Online Store

, , ,

New Book: Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement’s Rise and Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People’s Vote, 2000-2008

Bob Fitrakis
October 5, 2012

CICJ Books has just released “Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement’s Rise and Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People’s Vote, 2000-2008” by Marta Steele.

Marta Steele has done yeoman work for the election integrity movement. She has plowed through more websites and blogs than one can even imagine. She set out with the nearly impossible task of writing the definitive historical narrative of the folly of electronic voting in the United States between 1988 and 2008. More shockingly, she accomplished that task.

Electronic voting machines are perfectly designed to steal elections. That’s their principle purpose. Ireland has just gotten rid of them altogether. Germany, Japan, Canada, Switzerland all use paper ballots. Why? Because you can actually count them in public, and then count them again.

But here in the US, elections are corporate-owned and operated. Anyone who experienced pushing the e-spot for John Kerry and having the name George W. Bush light up—as happened so often in Ohio 2004—knows all too well that what Marta Steele documents in this remarkable book has become the defining reality in American election theft.

What she has done by way of documentation is truly impressive. Never again will those who question the validity of electronic voting be called “conspiracy theorists.” Through sheer tenacity, the author has scoured the vast morass of cyberspace and brought back all the essential data and assembled it in an understandable and analytical fashion. Readers can only draw one conclusion from her work – those who deny the death of democracy are foolish “coincidence theorists.”

She accumulated mountains of incidences that show the so-called “red shift” in favor of the Republican Party is not an anomaly or computer “glitch,” but evidence that there is systematic tampering of computerized voting machines by private companies connected to the Republican Party. Although our newspaper, the Columbus Free Press, and our website freepress.org published plenty on the flaws of electronic voting and election irregularities, we were nonetheless overwhelmed by the research documented in this volume. Those who read this book will no longer fall for the easy propaganda lines and talking points put forth by Karl Rove and his cohorts in explaining away impossible election results.

This book is important because its research is so detailed, its history so clear, and its analysis so convincing. The book destroys the mythology that “it can’t happen here” – that our system is an old and infallible democracy that can’t be corrupted. This powerful work will force all who read it to take a side, but more importantly, to take action, perhaps even direct action.

A key breakthrough that the book allows is to shatter the absurd notion that the empire of the United Stated may very well meddle in and steal election abroad, but would never use these tactics at home. The fact that the Bush family, with their patriarch George Herbert Walker Bush being the CIA director, is so inextricably linked to the rise of electronic voting and improbably election results, should be no surprise. That’s why it is no coincidence that she starts her history of election voting irregularities in the year that George H.W. Bush wins the New Hampshire and becomes president.

The Bush family ascendancy corresponds to black box, nontransparent voting in America. The more we’ve privatized our software and hardware and called it “trade secrets,” the better the Bush family candidates have done, against all odds. Their presidential victories, with the official exit polls falling well outside the margin of errors and predicting victories for their opponents, would easily be denounced by election observers in a Third World country.

Small wonder that when push came to shove, Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell refused to allow United Nations observers into the Buckeye State polling places to check the veracity of the 2004 balloting.

We believe this book does more than any other to expose the evils of electronic voting. The endnotes alone amount to a giant step forward in revealing the crimes of privatized e-voting in our nation.

As Al Gore and John Kerry refused to do, we must now face the reality that as long as our balloting process is dominated by electronic machines, the outcome of any election can be flipped by a governor or secretary of state with a few late-night key strokes. Considering the hundreds of millions the rich and super-rich are willing to spend to control the government, would you ever doubt they would hesitate to buy an election?

What Marta Steele has done is to confirm far beyond any reasonable doubt that as long as electronic machines are at the core of our vote count, there is no such thing as democracy in the USA. What we have instead is an electronic corporatocracy….proprietary, secretive, anti-democratic and for sale (or lease) to the highest bidder. The real question is: now that Marta had made this all perfectly clear, what are we going to do about it?

———————-

~ with Harvey Wasserman

Buy this book at the Free Press Online Store

, , , ,

Protect the Vote! Election Protection & Video the Vote volunteers needed by Free Press Staff

Protect the Vote! Election Protection & Video the Vote volunteers needed
by Free Press Staff
October 5, 2012

Election Protection Observers
The Free Press (Freepress.org) in conjunction with the Green Party will be placing observers for the 2012 election. We need volunteers. All observers must be eligible voters in Ohio.
If you are new to this, you may not know that we can appoint one observer at the county level. County level observers can observe in a different county from their county of residence. County level observers can observe at any precinct throughout the day, and also can observe the vote counting* process in the evening of election day (approximately 7:30 to midnight) Our goal is to place one county level observer in 44 of the 88 Ohio counties, and have that county level observer spend the evening at the county BOE.

If you are willing to help, I need some feedback.

1. Can you observe at the county level outside of Franklin County and spend the evening at that Board of Elections? If so, which county would you prefer?

2. Can you observe at the county level outside of Franklin County but not able to observe in the evenings? If so, which county would you prefer?

3. If in Franklin County, please send me the precinct in which you live, or tell me in general, or specifically, which precincts/polling place you would like to be responsible for. A list of polling locations can be found by clicking the link here: http://vote.franklincountyohio.gov/voter/

4. If you are unsure if you can observe, that is OK, just tell me that but give me your polling place/precinct anyway.

Contact me at pete@caseohio.org or 614-946-0614
Pete Johnson, coordinator.

ALSO We need Video the Vote volunteers!

Those interested in videotaping on Election Day have two meetings to attend to learn what is expected and get training. Videocameras can be provided. We also need people to work in the office on Election Day to upload videos.

First workshop is Oct 9 at 7:30p at Whetstone Library branch in Clintonville.

Second is Oct 25 at 7:30p at the MLK Library branch just north of the Franklin Park Conservatory.

Both will cover the same content and are FREE.

JR McMillan

, , ,

Taking us back to 1851: Far Right Law Center seeks to bring SB5 battle to local Ohio governments

Bob Fitrakis
June 8, 2012

(listen to Fight Back below with Sean and also Donald Goldmacher, Director of Heist-TheMovie)

Under Ohio law, a temporary tax issue such as the 5-year levy passed by Westerville Schools cannot be repealed. So instead, the group is seeking to repeal the permanent 2009 tax issue instead, and have elicited the help of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.

Why do they call it the “1851 Center for Constitutional Law”? The date refers to the adoption of the current Ohio Constitution. But what their moniker doesn’t tell you is that the organization yearns to return to the “good old days” of pre-Civil War America. The Center is doing legal work for Right-to-Work anti-union so-called Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment. Its Executive Director Maurice A. Thompson was the lead attorney in the 2008 Ohio Republican Party RICO (Racketeering, Influence and Corruption) suit against ACORN (Association of Communities Organizing for Reform Now).

Under the guise of “improving the business climate” in Ohio, the Center is pushing the agenda of the Koch brothers already defeated by Ohio voters by 25 points in the vote against Senate Bill 5 last year. The Center has printed a guide to show citizens how they can “roll back tax levies.”

On the 1851 Center website, they note that, “On May 7, 2012, taxpayers for Westerville Schools, with the representation of the 1851 Center, commenced circulation of an initiative petition to repeal the $6.71 mil tax increase narrowly approved in March….”

The Center goes on to claim that, “The Westerville effort marks the inaugural action of the 1851 Center in assisting taxpayers in using a previously obscure section of the Ohio Revised Code to lower their school district’s tax burdens, while forcing Ohio school districts to control spending and reign in labor costs rather than raising taxes.” The Center is also advocating that the government of Ohio “reduce the number of times per year school districts may place tax increases on the ballot from three to one.”

Bradley A. Smith serves as the chairman of the Center’s board. A law professor at Capital University, he’s perhaps the leading advocate in America for allowing the wealthy to contribute unlimited funds to candidates. His book, Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform, published in 2001, was a precursor to the Citizens United decision. He also has represented the Chamber of Commerce in litigation.

Historically, the public and scholars assume that 1% of the population giving unlimited funds to influence campaigns is inherently corrupt, elitist and undemocratic.

Smith was appointed to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) where he argued that unlimited spending was simply a form of free speech. In 2004 he served as Chairman of the FEC. Not surprisingly, Unfree Speech was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in its controversial Citizens United decision.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a throwback to the 19th century robber barons. It is anti-worker, pro-plutocrat, detests the idea of public schools, and works for the wealthiest 1% while cloaking their beliefs in the rhetoric of freedom.


Originally published by The Free Press, https://freepress.org

, ,

Taking us back to 1851: Far Right Law Center seeks to bring SB5 battle to local Ohio governments

Bob Fitrakis
June 8, 2012
(listen to Fight Back below with Sean and also Donald Goldmacher, Director of Heist-TheMovie)

News Director Sean Gilbow of WVKO 1580AM recently outed an extreme right-wing organization that is behind the attempt by Taxpayers for Westerville Schools to repeal the Westerville Public School levy. Westerville Schools, considered one of the premier school districts in central Ohio is coming under heavy attack from a small group of anti-government zealots that are bringing the politics of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and the Kochs to Ohio.

Under Ohio law, a temporary tax issue such as the 5-year levy passed by Westerville Schools cannot be repealed. So instead, the group is seeking to repeal the permanent 2009 tax issue instead, and have elicited the help of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.

Why do they call it the “1851 Center for Constitutional Law”? The date refers to the adoption of the current Ohio Constitution. But what their moniker doesn’t tell you is that the organization yearns to return to the “good old days” of pre-Civil War America. The Center is doing legal work for Right-to-Work anti-union so-called Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment. Its Executive Director Maurice A. Thompson was the lead attorney in the 2008 Ohio Republican Party RICO (Racketeering, Influence and Corruption) suit against ACORN (Association of Communities Organizing for Reform Now).

Under the guise of “improving the business climate” in Ohio, the Center is pushing the agenda of the Koch brothers already defeated by Ohio voters by 25 points in the vote against Senate Bill 5 last year. The Center has printed a guide to show citizens how they can “roll back tax levies.”

On the 1851 Center website, they note that, “On May 7, 2012, taxpayers for Westerville Schools, with the representation of the 1851 Center, commenced circulation of an initiative petition to repeal the $6.71 mil tax increase narrowly approved in March….”

The Center goes on to claim that, “The Westerville effort marks the inaugural action of the 1851 Center in assisting taxpayers in using a previously obscure section of the Ohio Revised Code to lower their school district’s tax burdens, while forcing Ohio school districts to control spending and reign in labor costs rather than raising taxes.” The Center is also advocating that the government of Ohio “reduce the number of times per year school districts may place tax increases on the ballot from three to one.”

Bradley A. Smith serves as the chairman of the Center’s board. A law professor at Capital University, he’s perhaps the leading advocate in America for allowing the wealthy to contribute unlimited funds to candidates. His book, Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform, published in 2001, was a precursor to the Citizens United decision. He also has represented the Chamber of Commerce in litigation.

Historically, the public and scholars assume that 1% of the population giving unlimited funds to influence campaigns is inherently corrupt, elitist and undemocratic.

Smith was appointed to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) where he argued that unlimited spending was simply a form of free speech. In 2004 he served as Chairman of the FEC. Not surprisingly, Unfree Speech was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in its controversial Citizens United decision.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a throwback to the 19th century robber barons. It is anti-worker, pro-plutocrat, detests the idea of public schools, and works for the wealthiest 1% while cloaking their beliefs in the rhetoric of freedom.


Originally published by The Free Press, https://freepress.org