Project Veritas, a conservative non-profit organization that has come to fame by exposing liberal politicians, companies and non-profits, sued the Ohio Elections Commission in order to be able to record politicians undercover for the 2020 election.
The group alleges in a July 19 lawsuit that Ohio’s election board is enforcing an “unconstitutional law” that prohibits undercover videos in campaigns. According to Ohio law, a person can’t “place another person” in an election campaign with the “purpose of reporting information to the employee’s employer or the agent’s principal without the knowledge of the candidate or the candidate’s organization.”
In 2018, the Ohio Elections Commission filed a complaint against the conservative non-profit arguing it had violated this law.
The Project Veritas lawsuit argues that the definitions of the terms “intent to affect the outcome,” “campaign,” “outcome,” and “elections campaign organization” are unclear.
“State and federal constitutions were written to limit government and protect citizens from it,” said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson. “Ohio’s reporting restriction turns these constitutional guarantees upside down. While elected officials claim the authority to violate our privacy at an unprecedented level, Ohio’s political class simultaneously insists upon protection from the scrutiny of investigative journalism.”
1851 Center is representing Project Veritas in this lawsuit.
Project Veritas published a video in 2016 exposing former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, an Ohio Democratic Senate candidate at the time, for his true beliefs on guns and coal. Current Sen. Rob Portman defeated Strickland by 21 percentage points: 58 percent to 37 percent.
The video also showed Democratic campaign workers stating that the race against Portman was “not looking good” and saying if Portman won “it would not be the end of the world.”
Additionally, the group obtained video of Strickland’s wife, Frances, saying his gun position was “evolving” to a more common-sense approach.
“I think that he is evolving, and he’s going to lose votes from the people he represented in southern Ohio, because they don’t want any, so he’s going to have to convince them what he’s doing is common sense,” she said.
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