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Ohio Law Threatens Republican Convention

MrT

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An Obscure Ohio State Law Could Shake Up the Republican Convention - ABC News

If Republican presidential hopefuls are planning eleventh-hour wooing of delegates on the convention floor in Cleveland this July, they’d better be careful -- they might be breaking the law in the state of Ohio.

The Republican National Committee rulebook is silent on restrictions on horse-trading between campaigns and the roughly 130 delegates who are free to vote however they choose on the first ballot of the GOP convention. The RNC instead points to Federal Election Commission guidelines on campaign expenditures as the main relevant authority. Experts say it’s likely candidates are legally allowed to pay for delegate expenses during the convention.

But Ohio's revised code section 3599.01 offers a unexpectedly pointed and specific rebuke, saying people who “give, lend, offer, or procure ... money, office, position, place or employment, influence, or any other valuable consideration” to delegates at a party convention are guilty of bribery, a fourth-degree felony. It also bans “intimidation” and “coercion” of delegates to party conventions.

What makes this law even more interesting is the fact that the language in the law was passed specifically to address a contentious Republican convention held in Cincinnati in 1876. And this law has been used as recently as 2012 when the Ohio GOP attempted to sue members of the Obama administration for giving away free pizza to college students.

There is a question of whether this law can be enforced against a Presidential candidate and, of course, there are federal anti-bribery laws that may be more applicable. However, the fact that the convention will take place in Ohio where this law exists will add even more intrigue to the RNC convention.
 

Paleocon

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An Obscure Ohio State Law Could Shake Up the Republican Convention - ABC News



What makes this law even more interesting is the fact that the language in the law was passed specifically to address a contentious Republican convention held in Cincinnati in 1876. And this law has been used as recently as 2012 when the Ohio GOP attempted to sue members of the Obama administration for giving away free pizza to college students.

There is a question of whether this law can be enforced against a Presidential candidate and, of course, there are federal anti-bribery laws that may be more applicable. However, the fact that the convention will take place in Ohio where this law exists will add even more intrigue to the RNC convention.

Since the convention will put a candidate on the ballot in Ohio, it would seem to be applicable (as would, by the same argument, any similar law in any state). Of course the forfeiture provision could only apply to the Ohio ballot (which is, of course, a rather important one).
 

DifferentDrummr

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As a practical matter, any kind of "verbal contract" that took place on a convention floor would be difficult to prove in court.
 
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