Attorneys Square Off in Ohio Elections Commission Testimony About Issue 2

posted by Jarrod Allen - 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Two sides in the fight over Ohio Issue 2, the Drug Price Standards Initiative, have both pleaded their cases and made rebuttals during a hearing of the Ohio Elections Commission.

Attorney Don McTigue represents interests in favor of Issue 2. He claims PhRMA, or Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, has been subverting the legal system to pump up the cash amount in their campaign warchest.

"At the heart of campaign finance law is disclosure. Mr. Gilligan likes to talk about First Amendment rights. He's correct. But what has consistently been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and Appellate courts is disclosure requirements," Mr. McTigue testified to the Elections Commission. "They've all said, 'the word "earmark" is not in the law.' That's true. Earmark. The world 'laundering' is not in the law, either. 'Grand conspiracy' is not in the law. But these are terms of art, these are terms we use, these are terms people understand."

"If I write a check to the Ohio Democratic Party and I say, 'here, Mr. Chairman, is $10,000, and I want to make sure you give this to candidate X. That is what we are here today on. That is it. That's the heart of the first two cases," McTigue added.

"Ohio statutes don't really spell-out what Mr. McTigue uses is this term, 'earmark'. Then he wants to get into laundered money. What does that have to do with this case?" In rebuttal, Attorney John Gilligan, representing PhRMA, calls McTigue's claims absurd. "He has conjured-up this notion that there is earmarking going on. There's no evidence in any form of laundered money. But, dark money, laundered money, earmarks. It all conjures up all of these notions of bundlers in the back room taking in these checks and somehow concealing," he said.

The Ohio Elections Commission barely validated any of the complaints. The complaint that PhRMA and its allies did not property disclose campaign contributions was upheld by 4-2 vote.

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