Last Updated on Thursday, 08 August 2013 19:09
Open Letter to Ohio Legislators
I write to you as an Ohioan and conservative. Because of Governor John Kasich’s relentless push to expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, you face a momentous decision in the next sixty days: do you give in to Governor Kasich and Democrats by expanding Medicaid, or do you resist the pressure and keep greater control over Ohio’s future finances? Make no mistake, given the forty-four year history noted in Figure 7 below, expanding Medicaid is akin to writing a blank check
because no one has any real idea about (1) how many new enrollees will show up and (2) how much each of those new enrollees will cost. Estimates of expansion range from Governor Kasich’s low-ball estimate of 275,000 new enrollees to the Kaiser Commission’s estimate of nearly 900,000 new enrollees.
Keep in mind, back when President Lyndon Johnson launched the Great Society and Medicaid in 1966, the federal government claimed it would cost $35.3 million in Ohio in 1967. In fact, it cost $67.4 million – nearly twice as much as promised. What began as a $1 billion national entitlement is projected to hit $900 billion by 2020. In 2012, Ohio Medicaid spending hit $17 billion—a 25,123% increase in 45 years!
In terms of future costs, Matt Salo, the Executive Director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors noted in testimony: “More people show up than you think will show up, and the people that show up are sicker than you expected.” If—and that “if” is a big one—the debt-ridden federal government keeps its commitment to fund expansion at 90 percent, the 10 percent Ohioans will have to pay is 10 percent of an unknown number. That unknown number is a blank check you will not be able to control or predict no matter what expansionists say. Please don’t fall prey to the temptation that you can cut deals for expansion—whatever “reforms” you try to get will barely impact the unknown costs associated with adding hundreds of thousands of able-bodied Ohioans to the entitlement rolls. And, no politician will kick people off the rolls should Washington break its funding promise.
Every future state tax dollar spent on Medicaid expansion is a dollar that must be taken from Ohioans and that cannot be spent on other priorities like educating our kids. As Figure 9 above shows, Americans now spend more on Medicaid than on making sure our children can compete in the 21st century. Expanding Medicaid will expand that spending differential even more and swallow other spending priorities, as well.
I know I can’t compete with the campaign funding from the Hospital Industrial Complex, the emotional appeal of liberal-progressives, the bully pulpit of Governor Kasich, and the collective lobbying by and adoration of the major newspapers to expand Medicaid. I can only appeal to your fiscal prudence and principles. I am confident you did not run for elected office so you could expand one of the largest federal entitlement programs in existence that already costs too much and gets mediocre to poor results for current recipients. I know you did not throw your hat into the arena of politics to expand one of the core components of the Great Society. I firmly believe you did not ask for the campaign contributions, votes, and volunteer efforts of Main Street Ohioans so you could begin or end your political career leaving a legacy of an expanded Medicaid program that will require ever higher levels of government spending and taxes.
Voting to expand Medicaid – when you have a chance for once to say “Enough!” to Washington – would be wholly inconsistent with the core philosophies of limited government, fiscal restraint, and good government. That is why 65 percent of Republican voters and 62 percent of independent voters in Ohio oppose Medicaid expansion (at p. 182). More specifically, Republican and independent voters oppose Medicaid for two overarching, common sense reasons: (1) Medicaid already is so riddled with waste, fraud, abuse, and bureaucracy, that expanding it would be reckless (at p. 214) and (2) the huge level of uncertainty on the future costs of expanding Medicaid renders expansion fiscally irresponsible (at p. 246).
That is also why more than twenty other states have rejected Medicaid expansion, thereby preventing half a trillion dollars in deficit spending that our kids and grandkids would have had to pay. The only Ohio voters who support expanding Medicaid are Democratic voters who will not vote for you no matter what you do (at p. 182). With your enormous fundraising advantage, the Hospital Industrial Complex won’t dare fund the Democratic House and Senate Caucuses given the realities of redistricting.
And you should ignore the threat of the Hospital Industrial Complex to put a ballot initiative to voters in 2014—a midterm election experts believe will be a referendum on ObamaCare. Between the lack of support for expansion by Republicans and independents and the month-by-month deterioration of support for ObamaCare plus the 2011 supermajority vote by Ohioans for the Healthcare Freedom Act, no amount of spending will convince a majority of Ohioans to expand a federal entitlement program that costs too much, gets weak results, and requires a blank check by Ohioans. Let them waste money trying.
So whether you are a first term legislator just starting out or a conservative caveman in your 35th year, stick with your base and the persuadable middle, your conservative principles, and your common sense knowledge that expanding Medicaid will cost more than they say and not truly help those they claim to be helping. We’ll never get the power and money out of Washington if we keep expanding its power over our lives and pocketbooks.
You have a fundamental choice to make. Make the right one.
Matt A. Mayer (Dublin, Ohio)
Mr. Mayer is the former President of the Buckeye Institute and the current President of the Opportunity Ohio www.OpportunityOhio.org
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 October 2013 11:50
Governor Kasich Bypasses Will of the People
to Ram Medicaid Expansion Through Backdoor
Cleveland, Ohio, October 13th 2013
Showing complete contempt for an estimated 75% of his Republican base who oppose Medicaid Expansion, Governor Kasich is set to bypass the Legislature and force Obamacare/ Medicaid Expansion on Ohioans. A whopping 66% of Ohioans voted to reject Obamacare in 2011 with a majority against the system in all 88 counties.
Governor Kasich is set to ignore his own Legislators by requesting that the Ohio Controlling Board appropriate Obamacare funds after the Legislature refused to support his plan. By using this ruse the Governor hopes to get his hands on Obamacare dollars which effectively backdoors Obamacare into Ohio. Mediatrakers Ohio
reports that the broad coalition of groups who support Kasich's move are the usual suspects whose addiction to government hand out has resulted in the current US governments $16Trillion debt crisis.
"This arrogant action by the Governor needs swift and assertive counteraction by every prolife/ pro-family person in Ohio. Obamacare is anti-life - plain and simple. Most Right to Life groups in Ohio are unified in their opposition to this train wreck approach including major metropolitan groups such asToledo
" said Molly Smith, President of Cleveland Right to Life, one of the largest prolife groups in Ohio.
"Make no mistake, Medicaid Expansion will fund Planned Parenthood and other abortion industry providers" said Smith. "So while the governor is asking us to congratulate him and his administration for defunding Planned Parenthood on the one hand, he is at the same time refunding this death-selling industry through Medicaid Expansion!"
"As an organization that takes no government funding and yet successfully helps the underprivileged, we see no need to trap able-bodied working citizens into a lifestyle that grows the welfare state and helps so many lose their dignity by forcing them onto welfare just so as the Governor can get his hands on Obamacare dollars" continued Smith.
Smith pointed out that "....Planned Parenthood and Ohio hospital systems will benefit greatly from this expansion. Hospitals such as University Hospitals who provide abortionists to PreTerm and Planned Parenthood will be funded with these dollars. When we permanently remove Planned Parenthood from neighborhoods we see a huge reduction in teen pregnancy and chastity returns to our youth".
Smith quotes the findings of American Life League
in a recent analysis of Planned Parenthood's effectiveness in the Texas Panhandle counties where in 16 years Planned Parenthood facilities went from 19 to zero according to government data, and teen pregnancy was slashed by more than half.
Smith urged all prolife citizens to contact the Governor's office
to insist that he accepts the will of the people, and once and for all put to rest the ludicrous idea of expanding Medicaid in the state. She concluded with this request "Please also contact your state Representative
and ask that they demand that the Governor withdraw his request to the Ohio Controlling Board to appropriate Obamacare funds."
Last Updated on Sunday, 23 February 2014 16:55
By now most political observers have heard the major finding from the recently released CBO report on Obamacare – the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will reduce the hours worked in the U.S. economy by 1.5-2.0 percent between 2017-24 resulting in a decline in full time workers of 2.5 million by 2024. The CBO explains why,
“In CBO’s view, the ACA’s effects on labor supply will stem mainly from the following provisions, roughly in order of importance:
The subsidies for health insurance purchased through exchanges;
The expansion of eligibility for Medicaid;
The penalties on employers that decline to offer insurance; and
The new taxes imposed on labor income.” (Emphasis added.)
The President, elected Democrats, and the mainstream media are spinning furiously to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. They tell us that the disincentives in the labor market caused by the ACA are a positive development making it possible now for Americans to choose not to work. It turns out that with Obamacare, we have the opportunity to focus on our families and our passions instead of work. Congressman Keith Ellison even claims it’s hard to be an American and we deserve a break,
“You know, if you look at international comparisons country by country, Americans work way more than an average of industrialized countries around the world. And you know, we might want to look at our work - our work-life balance and this is something that gives us a great opportunity.” (Real Clear Politics transcript of ABC’s “This Week,” Feb. 9, 2014)
Governor Kasich has a little spinning to do himself. He spent 2013 telling Ohioans that Medicaid expansion was not about the ACA, but about getting the most vulnerable “out of the shadows” and into the workforce. Speaking with Joel Riley of 610 WTVN Governor Kasich said,
“Well, the Medicaid expansion is different than Obamacare. Basically, what we wanna do is to be able to bring back $14 billion of our money, Ohio taxpayer money, to distribute to people who treat folks who are addicted, the alcohol and drug community organizations. We want to give people a chance to get rehabbed and get back to work.” (Freedomworks’ transcript of WTVN’s Kasich interview, August 26, 2013)
The CBO report, however, states the opposite – not only is Medicaid expansion about Obamacare, but it is one of the primary components of Obamacare that is bringing about a declining labor market.
There are a few other tidbits buried in the CBO report as well:
By 2018, the CBO projects that approximately 80% of those eligible for Medicaid expansion will live in states that have expanded Medicaid.
It’s only fair to ask, then, how big will the influx be in Ohio of people looking to take advantage of Governor Kasich’s largesse? And, how will these new Ohioans vote?
The CBO predicts the ACA will reduce aggregate labor compensation in the economy by about 1 percent between 2017-24. According to the CBO, this decrease in earnings will be borne primarily by lower-wage workers who are most affected by the disincentives inherent in Obamacare such as Medicaid expansion.
Governor Kasich often speaks of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion as a helping hand to those on the lower end of the income scale. Now we learn from the CBO that the effects of the ACA actually take money away from low-income workers in the form of lost wages, effectively widening the income gap.
The CBO estimates that slower economic growth over the period 2014-2023 will add another $1 trillion to the nation’s deficit. Smaller wages, salaries and corporate profits will lead to lower federal tax revenues thus increasing the deficit.
Voters were told the ACA would be a boon to the economy and bring the deficit down. The American people will bear the consequences of these false promises.
Starting in 2017, the CBO expects 24-25 million people each year will gain insurance through the ACA’s exchanges. The CBO estimates that about 80% of these new participants will receive premium subsidies.
Between 2015-24, the CBO expects enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) to increase by 12-13 million people each year.
Together, the ACA’s premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion will lead to a staggering growth in government dependency.
Between 2016-24, the CBO projects 6-7 million fewer people each year will have employer based health insurance.
The CBO’s projected decline in employer provided health insurance stands in stark contrast to President Obama’s statement on June 28, 2012 after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Obamacare ruling. President Obama said,
“First, if you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance — this law will only make it more secure and more affordable.”
Between 2015-24, the CBO projects the ACA will cost taxpayers $2 trillion dollars in the form of Medicaid expansion, CHIP, premium subsidies, and tax credits. Another $517 billion is projected to be spent by the private sector on excise taxes and on penalties incurred by non compliant individuals and employers.
Despite the country’s $2.5 trillion investment in “affordable care,” the CBO projects that approximately 30 million U.S. residents will still be without health insurance in 2024.
Hmm, 30 million sounds familiar. Referring again to his June 28, 2012 remarks concerning the Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling, President Obama said,
“Now, if you are one of the 30 million Americans who don’t yet have health insurance, starting in 2014 this law will offer you an array of quality, affordable, private health insurance plans to choose from.”
Feels like the movie, “Groundhog Day.”
The ACA is certainly not what it was cracked up to be. Ohioans were sold a bill of goods when Governor Kasich advocated for the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and then rammed it through the Controlling Board.
In light of Obamacare’s disastrous roll-out, the findings in the CBO report, and Governor Kasich’s fallacious statements on the nature and the effects of Medicaid expansion, now is the time for the General Assembly to step in and roll back the Obamacare-directed Medicaid expansion that was foisted upon Ohio through questionable means. Statehouse Republicans can do so by passing a veto-proof repeal of Governor Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid.
It’s time Ohio’s elected representatives heed the ACA warning signs that come daily from Washington. Between Congressional hearings on an insecure website, the endless Executive Orders delaying portions of the bill, and a CBO report that confirms the worst, there is plenty of evidence that the ACA is harming the economy, weakening the labor market, drastically increasing government dependency, and making it more difficult for Americans to carry affordable, high quality health insurance.
It is incumbent upon Statehouse Republicans to protect Ohioans from the destructive effects of the ACA by repealing Medicaid expansion before they are voted out of office by a disgusted Republican base and the one million new Medicaid enrollees in Ohio not interested in a Republican platform.
The CBO report can be found here.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 January 2014 13:45
Ruling opens path for Libertarian challenger to Kasich
By Joe Vardon, Columbus Dispatch
A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction against a Republican-backed bill that would have made it harder for minor-party candidates to make the ballot, meaning Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Charlie Earl is more likely to face GOP Gov. John Kasich and a Democratic challenger in November.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Watson in Columbus ruled in favor of the Libertarian Party and Earl, who along with two others filed suit in November to block Senate Bill 193, dubbed by critics as the John Kasich Re-election Protection Act. The bill, which Kasich signed hours after it was passed by GOP lawmakers, would have blocked minor parties from holding a primary election this year, changed the rules for gathering signatures, and significantly increased the number of signatures required for minor parties to be recognized in 2014 - thus making it more difficult for Earl to qualify.
With the judge's ruling, Earl would only need to file 500 signatures by Feb. 5 to qualify for the May 6 primary; he would likely then proceed to the general election. Some pundits, Democrats, and conservatives have argued the presence of Earl on the Nov. 4 ballot could siphon votes away from Kasich, who will likely also be facing Democratic candidate Ed FitzGerald.
"It was intentional and it was ludicrous and the court saw through it," Earl said in a phone interview with The Dispatch .
Central to the Libertarians' filing and Watson's ruling was the issue of retroactivity. The bill would have gone into effect on Feb. 5 — the filing deadline for all Ohio primaries this year. Watson that signature gathering for the upcoming elections was under way without a law in effect governing minor parties' access, so implementing new guidelines on Feb. 5 would be a violation of their constitutional rights.
It is believed that under Watson's ruling, the law would go into effect in January of 2015.
"The Ohio legislature moved the proverbial goalpost in the midst of the game," Watson wrote.
The bill was sponsored by Republican Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati, said I "continue to be amazed that the federal judiciary continues to intervene in every piece of election law we pass and wonder when it will ever end.
"They have argued themselves into a trap," said Seitz, of Libertarians. "All they have done is postponed the day of reckoning."
In 2015, the signature requirement for minority party ballot would be equal to 1 percent of the vote in the prior presidential or governor's race, Seitz said. To remain recognized for four years, a minor party must get at least 3 percent of the vote. The thresholds would have been lower for both in 2014 had the law stood this year.
A spokesman for Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, who was ordered by Watson to grant some minor parties automatic ballot access (consistent with Husted's own directive from last year), said it was not immediately known if Husted would fight the ruling.
"From a political standpoint, we were always prepared to have multiple parties on the ballot, so from that perspective this ruling doesn't really matter," said Ohio Republican spokesman Chris Schrimpf, de facto spokesman for Kasich's campaign.
Schrimpf also questioned the impact Earl would have on Kasich's vote total, given Earl's support of gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana. Libertarians commonly share more liberal views on social issues, but the suggestion that Earl's presence on the ballot could cause problems for Kasich stems from a perceived anger toward the governor from tea party-conservatives.
Watson, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2004, was chief counsel to GOP Gov. George V. Voinovich in the mid-1990s.
Last Updated on Saturday, 15 February 2014 08:58
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Ohio Political Establishment Facing
Unprecedented Challenges from Conservatives in Primaries
Akron, OH: The Ohio Citizens PAC announced today that a coalition of TEA Party, pro-life and pro-marriage advocates, home schoolers and other conservative groups worked together to place an unprecedented number of challenges to incumbents on the ballot during Wednesday and Thurday's filing deadline. Highlighting this effort are primary challenges to seven of the eight Ohio Republican Senators, challenges to Republican Congressman John Boehner and Dave Joyce, dozens of challenges to both Republican and Democrat incumbents in the Ohio House, plus over 20 challenges to incumbents on the Republican State Central Committee, hundreds of conservatives filing for county central committee seats in both the Democratic and Republican parties and a yet to be counted number running in local races against incumbents.
Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, said "The past two days conservatives once again demostrated to the political establishment that, despite their wishful thinking to the contrary, our movement is in fact growing in size and strength and is willing and able to challenge them in unprecedented ways. We understand that we will never get the governance we seek until the people voting on policy are there to represent the people and not special interest. The two establishment parties have hijacked not only our government but also our political process. Through bribes, intimidation and suspect legal tactics they work to make sure that the only choice citizens have on the ballot is to choose between the candidates the elites choose for us - which is no choice at all. By recruiting common citizens to run for office, and by other citizens committing to work to elect and hold accountable those elected to serve, we seek to resort our representative form of government. That is why today in Ohio you are seeing all of these challenges to incumbents. Citizens are simply sick and tired of being lied to and taken advantage of and they are willing to do something about it."
Zawistowski went on to say that "While we are fully aware that our candidates will be out-spent by millions of dollars, we intend to compete accross the board and expect to win important seats at all levels. The political establishment may have a lot of money, but they are going to have to spread it very thin to cover all the challenges they face, and their money can not buy anything approaching our ground game. This is a win-win for Ohio citizens and a lose-lose for the political establishment and their union and crony capitalist backers. Voters just need to decide one thing, do they want to vote for an elitist incumbent who has already been bought by those controlling the party or do they want to vote for a citizen like themselves who can not be bought and will always represent them? Thomas Paine said "All that is required for good governance is common sense." I would add integrity as well. Those are the kind of poeple we have recruited to run for office and I am extremely proud of them anx everyone who helped put this effort together."
Last Updated on Saturday, 22 February 2014 14:57
Lawsuit settlement may clean up Ohio's elections
By Darrel Rowland The Columbus Dispatch • Monday January 13, 2014 5:02 PM
Ohio’s effort to clean up its voter rolls led to the first of-its-kind federal lawsuit settlement today, amove one of the groups suing called “historic.” “It’s good (for Ohioans) because there is added assurance that their elections are going to be cleaner,” said Tom Litton, president of Judicial Watch. “There are nationwide problems on this issue...To Ohio’s credit they took notice and acted.”
Matthew McClellan, spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, said, “Today's settlement simply formalizes current practice. Secretary Husted takes the accuracy of the voter rolls very seriously, as is evident by the work we have already done.”
Judicial Watch and True the Vote sued in U.S. District Court for southern Ohio in August 2012, contending that Husted was not following a provision of the National Voter Registration Act (often dubbed the “Motor Voter” law) requiring updates of voter rolls.
Under the terms of today’s settlement, which goes through November 2018, the state agrees “to take or continue to take” nine actions:
To participate in the State and Territorial Exchange of Vital Events (STEVE) to obtain out-of-state death information.
To participate in the Interstate Voter Registration Cross-Check program administered by the Kansas secretary of state to identify registered voters who have moved out-of-state.
To use Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles data to identify registered voters who move within Ohio, with frequent updates being sent to local officials.
To use an online voter registration change of address website to encourage voters to keep their registration information current. (This requires legislative approval.)
To conduct a special, monthly, duplicate registration elimination program, within defined technical thresholds, for all Ohio county boards of election voter lists.
To keep online, and available for public access, a current voter registration list.
To require the county boards of election to send accurate survey information to the secretary of state’s office, to be compiled and forwarded to the federal Election Assistance Commission for “ motor voter” surveys.
To use reasonable efforts to promote the expanded use by recent college graduates of Ohio’s online voter registration change of address system, including education to remind college graduates to keep their voter registration addresses and information current and to request necessary updates; and to endeavor to coordinate these activities in conjunction with Ohio’s colleges and universities.
To direct boards of election to send confirmation notices annually to voters who may be inactive; and to query boards of election on a regular basis as to whether this direction is being followed.
Although the groups that filed the suit have sometimes been accused of encouraging voter suppression, Litton said the actions should lead to higher voter participation.
“Every eligible voter ought to be able to vote one time in an election,” he said. “If people on the rolls are dead, or they’ve moved away, people’s confidence in the administration of elections is undermined.”
True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said in a release:“This settlement demonstrates the positive impact citizens can have when they demand better accuracy in voting records. Every person fundamentally understands the problems that come with bloated voter rolls and inefficient maintenance processes. This settlement – under Secretary Jon Husted’s leadership – will bring Ohio much closer to being on the cutting edge of smart voting policy that holds records and officials accountable."
Last Updated on Sunday, 03 November 2013 08:54
OHIO CITIZENS PAC ASKS OHIO HOUSE TO
EXMEPT CURRENT SMALL POLITICAL PARTIES FROM COMPLYING WITH SB 193 UNTIL AFTER 2014
AKRON, OH - Today, Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, asked Ohio House Members to exempt currently established minority political parties from having to comply with any new regulations required by SB 193, if passed, simply out of fairness. Zawistowski said "We understand that there needs to be legislation that spells out the rules for being a political party in Ohio. However, to change the rules this close to the 2014 election put parties like the Liberterian, Green, Constituion and others in a very unfair position. If the House does not exempt them from compliance until after the 2014 election, it will look to everyone like the Republican Party is simply taking this action, at this time, to protect it's own interest, which I would sincerely hope is not the case. Do the right thing, pass SB 193, but exempt them until after 2014."
Zawistowski concluded by saying "Recent polling by Gallop showed that only 26% of Americans believe the two party system is working for America. 60% of all Americans said that they want a third party - including 52% of Republicans and 49% of registered Democrats! To pass a new law that could eliminate the opportunity for these third parties to be on the ballot in 2014 would be a detremental to all Ohioans. We will all be watching today to see what happens in the House. Will they vote the will of the people or against them and for their own selfish benefit?"
The Ohio Citizens PAC is a Ohio State PAC registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. Tom Zawistowski is the President of the Ohio Citizens PAC which was formed in 2011.
Last Updated on Monday, 09 September 2013 18:07
Next Monthly Meeting: September 17th, 7:00 PM, Maplewood Career Center, Ravenna
Bradley Smith: The Supreme Court and Ed Corsi's Life of Political Crime
How one Ohio man's blog on politics got him in trouble with campaign-finance law.
By BRADLEY A. SMITH
In the winter of 2008, Ed Corsi decided that he was tired of stewing about the politics in his home of Geauga County, Ohio, and the country at large. He started a website, put Thomas Jefferson's quote, "The price of freedom . . . constant vigilance" at the top, dubbed the site "Geauga Constitutional Council," and set about blogging his thoughts on local and national politics. So began his life of political crime.
Over the next two years, Mr. Corsi and a few friends would sometimes gather to talk politics. He occasionally sponsored meetings featuring speakers (not political candidates) on public policy issues (not elections), and charged a nominal fee for seating to offset his costs. He and two friends passed out political pamphlets they made at the Geauga County Fair.
Mr. Corsi spent $40 a month to maintain his website, and perhaps a couple hundred dollars a year in other expenses. According to the state of Ohio, however, these activities are illegal under campaign-finance laws because Mr. Corsi did not first register with the state, report to the state on his activities, and subject himself to the regulations governing the operation of a state political action.
When he was summoned to a hearing before the Ohio Elections Commission in April 2011, Mr. Corsi asked, "Do I have to hire a lawyer to [do] these things?" Commission Chairman Bryan Felmet replied, "Yeah, I guess so. I think that it's very complicated without going to those lengths." The commission ordered Mr. Corsi to register and report his activities to the state.
When the Supreme Court reconvenes in October, the big campaign-finance case will be McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which nervous censors have dubbed "the next Citizens United." McCutcheon deals with the ability of affluent Americans to contribute to political parties and candidates. Never mind that the candidates and causes these people support represent the views of millions of citizens. "Reformers" argue, and many Americans seem to agree, that "big money" in politics must be regulated.
It is inconceivable, however, that America's founders thought the First Amendment would allow the government to routinely require citizens to report their political activity, and be subjected to such complex regulations. They wanted to prevent government from doing precisely this sort of thing. Yet Mr. Corsi lost in state court. Now he waits to see if the Supreme Court will agree to hear his case.
The "big money" in politics can afford the accountants, consultants and lawyers needed to cope with campaign- finance law. The burdens frequently fall more heavily on grass-roots politics—the very thing we ought to be encouraging. There also is abundant anecdotal evidence that the main result, if not the purpose, of campaign-finance laws is to allow political insiders and government officials to harass grass-roots activists. The IRS targeting scandals are merely the most prominent example of the way these laws are used by those in power to harass their opposition.
On his blog, Mr. Corsi was critical of Ed Ryder, the chairman of the Geauga County Republican Party and a member of the county Board of Elections, and of various officials and candidates supported by Mr. Ryder. The initial complaint against Mr. Corsi was filed by Mr. Ryder, who admitted spending two months to find out who constituted the "Geauga Constitutional Council," so he could file a complaint against Mr. Corsi.
In Buckley v. Valeo (1976), and again in Federal Election Commission v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life (1986), the Supreme Court held that the regulatory requirements of operating a political action committee could not be imposed on groups that lacked the primary purpose of supporting or defeating political candidates in elections. But across the country, states are flouting that command, imposing rigid requirements on ordinary citizens who are trying to express their political opinions.
In Colorado, for example, a group of friends calling themselves the Coalition for Secular Government operate a website on which they posted a long policy paper on abortion and church-state relations. The paper concluded by urging Coloradans to vote "no" on a ballot measure. For that, the state says they must register as a political committee and report their activities, income and expenses.
Most state statutes now simply ignore the Supreme Court and require that two or more citizens who spend even nominal amounts on politics to register and report to the government. Even printing yard signs or running an email list can trigger these requirements. In Ohio, a single dollar in expenditures will do, so be careful if you talk politics over a cup of coffee.
As a former commissioner at the Federal Election Commission, I have seen the effects these laws have on citizen participation and civic-mindedness. I have read the plaintive letters from citizens who could not afford a lawyer, and could not believe their government was fining them for political activity.
In the past, both liberals and conservatives on the Supreme Court were sensitive to this problem. Liberal Justice William Brennan wrote the majority opinion in the Massachusetts Citizens for Life case. But that sensitivity appears to be vanishing.
Forty-seven years ago, in Mills v. Alabama, the court struck down a lawprohibiting election-day newspaper editorials, noting, "there is practically universal agreement that a major purpose of [the First] Amendment was to protect the free discussion of governmental affairs."
Is that still true? Will the court leave millions of Americans who want to engage in politics at risk of prosecution? Will it leave Mr. Corsi hanging?
Mr. Smith, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, is a law professor and chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, which is representing Mr. Corsi at the Supreme Court.
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 October 2013 11:50
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 11, 2013
KASICH MOVE TO BY-PASS LEGISLATURE ON MEDICAID EXPANSION
SHOWS GOVERNOR COULD NOT MAKE HIS CASE TO CONSERVATIVES
Kent, Ohio - Conservative leaders reacted negatively today, as Governor Kasich moved to by-pass the Ohio Legislature and implement Medicaid Expansion through the Ohio Controlling Board. Portage County TEA Party Executive Director, Tom Zawistowski, said "The Governor simply could not make his case to conservatives about Medicaid Expansion. He is now going to take 300,000, able-bodied, healthy Ohioans, and give them free health care, while the rest of us are seeing insurance premiums going up 80% and deductibles are going throughout the roof to help pay for it. He has turned his back on his own state party, the national Republican Party and, by our polling, 75% of the registered Republicans in the state. These are the people who elected him into office. He has simply betrayed the 66% of all Ohioans who voted to stop Obamacare buy passing the Ohio Health Care Amendment with majorities in all 88 counties in 2011. This will certainly affect his re-election bid in 2014 and that of any Republican who stands with him on Medicaid Expansion."
The TEA Party is not a political party but a grassroots cultural movement. The movement is educating American citizens about the Constitution and the uniquely American form of self-governance that has made our country so successful. Through this education, the movement is attempting to re-define what it means to be an American citizen, by encouraging individual to vote, to run for office and to attend government meeting in their area so that they can participate in their self governance. The acronym TEA stands for Totally Engaged Americans.
Last Updated on Sunday, 03 November 2013 08:53
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 21, 2013
OHIO CITIZENS PAC DEMANDS CONTROLLING BOARD DELAY VOTE ON MEDICAID EXPANSION
AKRON, OH - Today, Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, demanded that the Ohio Controlling Board delay its vote on Governor Kasich's Medicaid Expansion until December 2nd. Zawistowski said, "This bastardization of the political process by Governor Kasich, and his allies, has gone far enough and must be stopped. The botched attempt by House Speaker Batchelder to remove Representative Ron Amstutz this morning, has led Amstutz to call for a delay of the vote until the December 2nd meeting and we strongly support his reasonable request. Efforts to extort votes from Controlling Baord members, swapping out members at the last minute and generally just attempting to rig the vote against the will of the citizens of Ohio, in cooperation with Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, is an unconscionable political act by a desperate Governor who simply can not make a logical case for his destructive plan to Expand Medicaid."
Zawistowski went on to say, "With this unseemly last ditch effort, the Governor can no longer pretend that his actions are anything but self serving. This is not about public policy, this is about money. Governor Kasich needs the borrowed Federal dollars for Medicaid Expansion so that he can distribute it to his friends in the hospital and insurance industries who will then kick back millions to his 2104 re-election campaign. They will also pay state taxes on the money that will balance the state budget. The fact that he has basically told Senate President Keith Faber that the state medicaid program will go bankrupt, because Kasich is already expanding medicaid benefits without having the federal money, is the same Obama like tactic that says, we have to raise the debt ceiling or I will default on our debt. It is nothing less than extortion and is certainly not constitutionally based representative governance. The governor is putting his own needs above the needs of his state party, his national party and the 66% of democrats, independents and republicans who overwhelmingly passed the Ohio Health Care Amendement in 2011."
The Ohio Citizens PAC is a Ohio State PAC registered with the Ohio Secretary of State. Tom Zawistowski is the President of the Ohio Citizens PAC which was formed in 2011.