Libertarians in Ohio cried foul Tuesday after learning a Republican consultant and appointee of Gov. John Kasich was responsible for hiring the law firm whose challenge pushed two of their candidates off the statewide ballot. Terry Casey worked for Kasich’s 2010 campaign and the governor has since appointed him to the $70,000-a-year job chairing the state personnel review board. Casey’s role hiring Zeiger, Tigges & Little emerged in a case in which Libertarians are asking federal Judge Michael Watson to restore governor candidate Charlie Earl and attorney general candidate Steven Linnabary to November’s ballot. In a new court filing, the party also says Bradley Smith, hired to oversee the disqualification hearing by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, didn’t disclose he was working for Ohio’s Republican attorney general, Mike DeWine, doing pro bono work at the time.
DeWine’s office confirmed Smith held an appointment from Feb. 27, five days before the Libertarians’ hearing, through June 30. A message seeking comment was left at Smith’s office Tuesday.
Libertarians have asked Watson to expedite a trial in their case on grounds the disqualifications were based on partisan, not principled, reasons. The U.S. Constitution prohibits government officials from removing candidates for partisan reasons.
The Zeiger firm represented Libertarian voter Gregory Felsoci in a protest of ballot petitions filed by Earl and Linnabary, but Casey hired the firm and is paying the legal bill — including through contributions from Ohio Republicans, he confirmed in an interview Tuesday.