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.”
He also charges that when the Partnership claims in its advertising that it’s “not authorized by a candidate or a candidate’s committee” that they are making an illegal “false statement.”
Arnebeck is lead attorney in the on-going King-Lincoln-Bronzeville class action lawsuit stemming from the theft of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio. We are co-counsel and plaintiff in this lawsuit. On Sunday, October 24, Rove was served with a subpoena agreed to by Ohio’s Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, in conjunction with that lawsuit.
The new complaint was filed at the Ohio Election Commission in downtown Columbus on Thursday, October 28.
The complaint reads that “…we identified Karl Rove as the principal perpetrator in an Ohio racketeering conspiracy.” The complaint goes on to explain that: “in the current election cycle the election corruption enterprise of Rove and [Tom] Donahue [head of the US Chamber of Commerce] is being manifested through the influx of billionaire/global corporate money where the actual source of the funding and speech is concealed.”
Arnebeck wants the Election Commission to find that there is probable cause to believe that “…this secret money is an in-kind contribution to these campaigns.” Arnebeck hopes that the finding of probable cause from the Commission “will enable private parties seeking to uphold the integrity of the election process to conduct discovery to prove their case which under the Ohio racketeering statute must be done as a pre-requisite to an assertion of criminal liability.”
The filing has resulted in the scheduling of a hearing at 9am Monday, November 1, in Columbus. If the Commission grants Arnebeck’s probable cause request, it would open Rove and the Chamber of Commerce to widespread discovery that, according to Arnebeck, could lead to criminal prosecution based on charges of racketeering, money laundering and conspiracy.
According to Arnebeck, the United States Supreme Court’s recent Citizens United decision allows independent contributions from wealthy private and corporate donors. Coordinated activities between partisan candidates and groups like the Chamber of Commerce’s Partnership for Ohio’s Future and Rove’s American Crossroads are illegal.
The complaint also discloses new information about the December 19, 2008, air crash death of Michael Connell, Rove’s computer guru. Connell was deposed one day prior to the November, 2008, presidential election. He has been linked to construction of a computer apparatus that was tied directly to Rove and was capable of election manipulations. These activities have been at the center of the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville lawsuit. We will report further on this matter in an upcoming story.
“Tom Donahue, head of the United States Chamber of Commerce, has been quite outspoken and proud of his accomplishments in delivering vast sums of money to Karl Rove and to Karl Rove’s operation, often through non-profit corporate entities, the names of which conceal the identity and character of the actual contributors,” Arnebeck says.
Arnebeck’s complaint suggests there may have been illegal contributions from a foreign corporation. “In a meeting I had with Lloyd Mahaffey, of the United Auto Workers,” Arnebeck writes, “he told me that when representatives of Daimler-Chrysler were confronted by the union concerning their expenditures to influence the Ohio Supreme Court race in 2000, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, their representatives assured Mahaffy that the decision to make that contribution was made in Germany.” Such a decision-making process for contributing funds to a U.S. political campaign would be clearly illegal.
Arnebeck asserts that he has “…a confidential source who personally witnessed Karl Rove and Tom Donahue coordinating their activities to determine the outcome of a state Supreme Court election.” Such coordination would also be illegal under state and federal election laws.
The injection of huge sums of cash into partisan election operations has re-defined the process of American democracy in this and several previous election cycles. This filing with the Ohio Election Commission is a critical step in testing the legalities of these coordinated efforts.
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman have co-authored four books on election protection and are co-counsel and plaintiff in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville class action lawsuit.