COLUMBUS, Ohio (CN) – Ohio Secretary of State candidate Sandra O’Brien, who claims on her Web site that she will “get our election process off the front page and out of the courts,” has sued the Ohio Election Committee, claiming a state law that limits the amount of money she can contribute to her own campaign is unconstitutional.
O’Brien, a Republican and the former Ashtabula County auditor, ran unsuccessfully for state auditor in 2006. Her Web site describes the Board of Elections as “an asset not an obstruction” that “should be treated with respect.”
O’Brien is running on a platform of regaining trust in the voting system and using technology to improve voting.
O’Brien wants to “loan” her campaign at least $150,000 – the state limit is $100,000. O’Brien claims the statute “punishes self-financing candidates for exercising their right to contribute an unlimited amount to their own campaign.”
O’Brien already has loaned her campaign $95,000, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
In her federal complaint, O’Brien cited Buckley v. Valeo, the 1976 Supreme Court case that “struck down limits on the amount of personal funds that the candidates for federal office could expend on their own campaigns,” finding that such limits violated the First Amendment.
In 2008 the Supreme Court rejected the “Millionaire’s Amendment” to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which also limited how much self-funded candidates could contribute to their own campaigns.
O’Brien claims the Ohio law “penalizes the self-financing candidates and threshold-exceeding candidates by completely releasing the opposing candidate from all limits on campaign contributions.” O’Brien says her opponent for the Republican nomination, John Husted, will be “released from the limits on contributions,” but she will still have to “comply with those limits.”
O’Brien seeks declaratory judgment and an injunction. She is represented by David Langdon of Cincinnati.