Limbaugh off the hook for voter fraud

Ohio officials say it is unlikely that the radio host will be charged for encouraging Republican voters to switch parties and vote for Hillary Clinton.

Published March 28, 2008 8:30PM (EDT)

For all the War Room readers out there who are also avid Rush Limbaugh fans, rest assured, it's highly unlikely your hero will end up in prison for voter fraud.

An article in today's Columbus Dispatch reports that, at present, Ohio governmental officials have no intention of prosecuting Limbaugh. The radio host is the leader of Operation Chaos (Operation Chaos hats are available on Rush's Web site), an effort to get Republicans in Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states to vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries in order to extend the party's nomination process. Recently, stories in both Wired and the Nation suggested that Limbaugh's attempts to influence the outcome of the primaries could violate Ohio's voting laws. According to the Wired article, in Ohio, when a voter switches his party allegiance, he is required to sign an affidavit confirming that he supports the tenets of his new party. If the voter does not actually believe in them, "then he would be committing election falsification," which is a felony.

However, as Leo Jennings, a spokesman for Ohio's Democratic attorney general, Marc Dann, suggests in the Columbus Dispatch article, it would be exceedingly difficult to prove that party-switching voters had lied.

As for Limbaugh's chances of facing charges, Jennings said, "We have no intention of prosecuting Rush Limbaugh because lying through your teeth and being stupid isn't a crime."

Addressing the issue on his radio show this week, Limbaugh tried to downplay the chances that he will be charged. On Wednesday, referring to himself as "a harmless, lovable little fuzzball" who has merely exploited "a loophole in Democrat primaries," Limbaugh assured his listeners, "I know more and more of you are writing me e-mails about the possibility of you being indicted or charged with voter fraud. I, of course, am under the same threat, just now contained in the state of Ohio. It's bogus. I wouldn't worry about it. Look at this as a badge of honor, ladies and gentlemen. If anybody gets indicted, if anybody has to go jail, it will be me -- and I'll do my program from jail for the short amount of time I will be there before I am excused and the charges dismissed." Limbaugh then went on to add that for years, "manipulating election results has been the sole responsibility of the Drive-By Media."

By Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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