Rep. Steve Driehaus's lawyer got an agreement from a billboard company--Lamar Advertising--to suspend the "posting of billboard advertisements by the Susan B. Anthony List" against Driehaus until the Ohio Elections Commission rules on the Democratic congressman's complaint that the SBA List's ad claiming Driehaus voted for taxpayer-funded abortion is false.
"In exchange for your agreement that Lamar will not post the billboards until the Ohio Elections Commission rules on our Complaint," Driehaus's lawyer wrote in a letter, "I agree that our Complaint will not join Lamar as a respondent and will not allege that Lamar has violated Ohio Revised Code 3517.21(B)(9) and (10)."
Yesterday, the Ohio Elections Commission agreed to a full hearing--which may not occur until October 28--thus enabling Driehaus to use the threat of legal action to effectively silence the SBA List throughout much of the campaign.
The National Right to Life Committee's Douglas Johnson emails:
I think that Congressman Driehaus is acting like a wimp -- trying to put [SBA List president] Marjorie Dannenfelser in jail for disagreeing with him. The pusillanimity and arrogance of the incumbent is exceeded only by the stupidity of the statute he has invoked, which establishes an incumbent-protection mechanism that is grossly offensive to the First Amendment.
I think Steve Driehaus should be ashamed to hide behind a panel of speech-regulation commissars, the majority of whom were appointed by the current governor of his political party. Apparently he is afraid that his constituents, if they hear both sides of the argument, will be unconvinced of his denials regarding the pro-abortion policy effects of the Obamacare law. Driehaus has good reason to be afraid of such an outcome, since the law he voted for contains multiple authorizations for federal subsidies for elective abortion and federal regulatory mandates that will expand access to abortion.
(Warming to the topic here:) The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) believes that certain claims made by Congressman Driehaus, in his complaint filed with the Ohio Elections Commission, regarding the substantive provisions of the health care bill that he voted for, are objectively false. Yes, Congressman Driehaus uttered falsehoods. However, NRLC takes a different approach from Mr. Driehaus, in that NRLC does not advocate that Mr. Driehaus should be criminally prosecuted for uttering those falsehoods. That's not the American way. Rather, we dispute, refute, and debate his claims. In our 23-page affidavit, we cite specific provisions of the bill, we cite analyses by disinterested parties such as the Congressional Research Service, and so forth.
We think that voters should be allowed to hear and weight the conflicting claims and reach their own conclusions. However, every interested citizen should be forewarned -- if you decide that you agree with our analysis of the Obamacare bill and not with Congressman Driehaus, and if you dare to assert that opinion publicly in an attempt to persuade others -- for example, by renting a billboard -- Driehaus might decide to have you summoned before a tribunal of political appointees, who arrogate to themselves the competence to declare whether your opinion is "false" and who will then decide, by majority vote, whether you should be punished for uttering "false" opinions about the incumbent's voting record.