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Tea Partier who nearly destroyed Kentucky’s libraries busted for selling opiates

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A Tea Party activist who frequently argues against anti-drug measures at government meetings has been arrested for illegally selling prescription drugs.

John “J.R.” Roth was arrested Thursday night in Highland Heights, Kentucky, and charged with felony trafficking in a controlled substance after police said he sold 10 oxycodone pills to an informant, reported the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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The 60-year-old Roth, who is a Donald Trump supporter and promotes “birther” conspiracy theories, is a fixture at local government meetings in Campbell County, where he complains about government spending for almost anything.

He was one of three plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit in 2012 to repeal the property tax that funds the county’s libraries.

Roth and two other members of the Northern Kentucky Tea Party hired a lawyer the year before, when the county library was considering a plan for a new branch, to investigate whether the library board was violating a state law regarding its debt level.

The lawyer determined the library had not exceeded its debt limit — but he found another statute that appeared to prohibit the library board from raising taxes without voter approval.

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Roth filed a lawsuit, along with Erik Hermes and Campbell County Commissioner Charlie “Coach” Coleman, seeking to repeal the property tax that funds libraries in Campbell County.

Similar lawsuits were filed in other counties throughout the state.

The tax repeal would have dramatically cut library funding and would have resulted in branch closures, reduced hours and services, and the loss of jobs.

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Tax opponents argued that library patrons wouldn’t miss much because books and movies are readily available online sellers such as Amazon — although many patrons rely on libraries for free computer and Internet access.

The lawsuit ultimately failed, after the Kentucky Court of Appeals reversed two circuit decisions last year that had found library districts in Campbell and Kenton counties had improperly raised taxes for decades.

The appeals court ruled that libraries may raise taxes without voter approval as long as the amount does not bring in 4 percent more revenue than the previous year.

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Roth, who has been previously cited for animal cruelty and accused of domestic violence, was released from jail on bond.

If convicted, the Tea Party activist faces up to five years in jail.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘They’re all laughing at you’: Trump ridiculed for claiming US economy is ‘the talk of everyone’ at G7

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President Donald Trump used his favorite social media platform to share his thoughts from Biarritz, France, where he's attending the G7 economic summit.

"Our great economy is the talk of everyone!" Trump claimed, one day after U.S. markets plummeted as his trade war with China escalated.

With many worrying Trump is causing a recession, the president was brutally mocked for his tweet.

Here's some of what people are saying:

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WATCH: Climate activists chant ‘failure of leadership’ at Tom Perez after DNC votes against climate debate

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Activists walked out of the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in San Francisco after the organization voted against allowing a climate change debate during the 2020 primary.

DNC Chair Tom Perez imposed strict rules on the debates, which prevented a climate change debate from occurring. Climate activists had forced a vote, hoping to overrule the party boss.

"The Democratic Party needs the energy, motivation, and organizing capacity of young people to defeat Trump in 2020. But Tom Perez keeps shooting the party in the foot by rejecting that energy and turning it away," the Sunrise Movement said in a statement.

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DNC votes against allowing a climate change debate amongst the 2020 hopefuls

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