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LetOhioVote asks Ohio Supreme Court to stop state investigation

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March 2, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio: In an effort to halt Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's investigation of LetOhioVote.org's funds, the group called on the Ohio Supreme Court to intervene. In a brief to the court, filed March 1, the group's attorney said,"Secretary Brunner is patently and unambiguously without authority to issue subpoenas, to compel testimony, to command production of documents, or to seek to enforce the subpoenas in furtherance of an investigation into whether LetOhioVote.org violated any campaign finance laws."[1]

The state began investigating LetOhioVote, sponsors of the proposed Ohio Slot Machines Veto Referendum, in February after $1.6 million in funds were reported from one source and no individual donors were listed. Brunner said,"Using a 'straw person' out-of-state corporation to hide the real sources of funding not only violates the public trust, it looks like concealment, which is against the law." LetOhioVote argues that Brunner is only allowed, by state law, to review the campaign finance reports and determine compliance. However, any violations must be referred to the Ohio Election Commission.[2]

Of the organizations actions, Brunner said that she was not surprised. The secretary of state said she continues to stand by the investigation and reiterated that it is "required and authorized by law." Additionally, she said,"Going to court probably worsens its case in the court of public opinion."[3][4]

UPDATE: On March 2, 2010 the Ohio Supreme Court granted LetOhioVote.org’s request to halt the investigation until justices determine if the secretary of state has proper authority. The high court requested evidence and written arguments in the next 30 days.[5]

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