Anti-abortion group: It should be legal to post false claims about candidates
A national anti-abortion group, the Susan B. Anthony List, has filed a lawsuit over a state election law that prohibited the group from putting up a billboard against a Democratic congressman, according to the Associated Press.
The group claims Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH), a first-term anti-abortion Democrat, “voted for taxpayer funding of abortion,” because he voted for the new health care laws.
The planned billboard would have read, “Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion.”
Driehaus denied the claim and filed a complaint with the Ohio Election Commission. The commission ruled in Dreihaus’ favor, saying that there was probable cause that the planned billboard included false statements.
The Susan B. Anthony List filed suit Monday, claiming that the election law barring false statements about a candidate’s voting record is vague and unconstitutional.
“The Susan B. Anthony List speech is chilled because the Susan B. Anthony List is unable to post its planned billboards,” claims the group’s lawsuit.
Despite being banned from putting up their billboard, the group has begun a radio ad campaign in Cincinnati that claims Driehaus voted in favor of taxpayer funded abortions.
A spokesman for Driehaus said the campaign may file another complaint against the anti-abortion group.
In addition to campaigning against Driehaus, the Susan B. Anthony List is also targeting other Democrats in the House.
The group is spending $1 million dollars on a direct-mail campaign aimed at turning out 42 House Democrats.
“The pamphlets, which feature photographs of a sleeping baby juxtaposed against close-ups of the targeted lawmaker, President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, equate a vote for the health care law with support for taxpayer-financed abortion,” reports the Associated Press. “The law walled off federal money from paying for the procedure, and an executive order Obama signed earlier this year affirmed long-standing restrictions on taxpayer-financed abortion, but activists on the issue argue that neither is sufficient.”
The campaign is expected to reach 2.3 million voters in 42 competitive congressional districts across the nation.
The group says it plans to spend $6 million on “voter education.”
According to The Hill, the Susan B. Anthony List is targeting the following Democrats:
• In Arizona: Ann Kirkpatrick, Harry Mitchell, Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords;
• In California: Jerry McNerney, Dennis Cardoza and Loretta Sanchez;
• In Colorado: John Salazar;
• In Florida: Allen Boyd, Ron Klein and Suzanne Kosmas;
• In Georgia: Sanford Bishop Jr.;
• In Illinois: Debbie Halvorson, Bill Foster and Phil Hare;
• In Indiana: Joe Donnelly and Baron Hill;
• In Massachusetts: Barney Frank;
• In Michigan: Mark Schauer;
• In Minnesota: Jim Oberstar;
• In Missouri: Russ Carnahan;
• In North Carolina: Bob Etheridge;
• In New Hampshire: Carol Shea-Porter;
• In New Mexico: Martin Heinrich;
• In Nevada: Dina Titus;
• In New York: Dan Maffei;
• In Ohio: Steve Driehaus, Marcy Kaptur, Betty Sutton and John Boccieri;
• In Pennsylvania: Kathy Dahlkemper, Patrick Murphy, Chris Carney and Paul Kanjorski;
• In South Carolina: John Spratt;
• In Texas: Ciro Rodriguez;
• In Virginia: Gerry Connolly;
• In Washington state: Rick Larsen and Adam Smith;
• In Wisconsin: Ron Kind and Steve Kagen;
• And in West Virginia, Nick Rahall.