Congressman Gets State Election Commission to Shut Down Pro-Life Organization
by Steven Ertelt
October 15, 2010
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — Unhappy that a pro-life group wanted to run billboards against him because he violated his pro-life views and voted for the abortion-funding ObamaCare health care bill, Ohio congressman Steve Driehaus has successfully pressured the state elections commission to shut down the Susan B. Anthony List.
Driehaus filed a criminal complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission using a rarely-employed Ohio statute under which it is a violation to make "a false statement concerning the voting record of a candidate or public official."
The complaint was spurred in part by the Susan B. Anthony Lists intention to put up four billboards across his Congressional district. Driehaus ordered Lamar Companies not to put up the billboards until the matter was settled by the Ohio Elections Commission.
The law goes on to say it is illegal to "post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it is false or not."
Yesterday, a three-member panel of the Ohio Elections Commission ruled in Driehaus’ favor, saying the billboards talking about Driehaus’ support for taxpayer funding of abortions under the ObamaCare bill were not allowable.
The panel determined there was "probable cause" and now a full hearing will take place to determine whether the Susan B. Anthony List broke Ohio law with the billboards in the Cincinnati congressional district.
The ruling allows attorneys for both Driehaus and the SBA List to take depositions in the case and Driehaus Cincinnati attorney, Paul DeMarco, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he plans to depose SBA List officials.
The commission has not yet set a date for the next hearing and, if it rules against the pro-life group, it can recommend a public reprimand or prosecution resulting in fines or jail time.
This is a big deal, Driehaus said, according to the paper. The media made a big deal about this, [pro-life opponent] (Steve) Chabot [is] calling me a liar and now the Ohio Elections Commission came out on my side.
SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser told LifeNews.com that Driehaus, "in an act of desperation and fear, Rep. Steve Driehaus is attempting to use a criminal statute to silence his critics."
"It is a fact that Steve Driehaus has voted for a bill that includes taxpayer funding of abortion. His own affidavit refers to an Executive order which purports to undo the harms of the actual bill for which he voted," she added. "The bill retains the language which Rep. Bart Stupak referred to as an accounting gimmick that allows for federal dollars to go to insurance plans that cover abortion."
"Driehaus’ claim that he did not vote for taxpayer funding of abortion in the health care bill is only supported by the partisan Democrats for Life of America and the splinter group, Catholics United. However, the National Right to Life Committee, Americans United for Life, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ohio Right to Life, and numerous other organizations and policy experts agree that the bill uses taxpayer dollars to fund abortions," she continued.
"At the very least one must conclude that the point is one of national dispute rather than one that comes under a criminal statute that is designed to punish blatant falsehoods," Dannenfelser said.
The SBA List president says she believes the Ohio Elections Commission and the residents of Steve Driehaus’ congressional district will see the truth and vote for his opponent.
Dannenfelser says Driehaus’ tactics are backfiring because of the press he is getting on his vote and because her group will do more to defeat him, now.
"Because of these tactics, we will spend more resources to make sure that Steve Driehaus’ constituents know the truth of his vote," she promised.
The National Right to Life Committee has come to SBA List’s defense in the case and filed an affidavit saying the pro-life group is right that he voted for abortion funding under the bill.
Related web sites:
Susan B. Anthony List – https://www.sba-list.org
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