School District Superintendent Sought Gag Order Against Critic
From yesterday’s opinion in Cozad v. Ohio Elections Commission, decided by the Ohio Court of Appeals:
In September 2019, John M. Stafford, an elector and resident of the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School District, filed with the commission a complaint against Citizens for Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools—a political action committee formed to promote the passage of a tax levy on the May 2019 primary and special elections ballot—its treasurer, Andy Lowrey, and its campaign chair, [Douglas] Cozad, who is also the Superintendent of the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School District. Stafford alleged that the political action committee had violated Ohio election laws by failing to disclose in its campaign finance filings the value of in-kind contributions it had received from the school district…. [F]ollowing its preliminary review of Stafford’s complaint, the commission concluded that there was probable cause, and scheduled the matter for a hearing.
In December 2019, several months before the scheduled hearing on Stafford’s complaint, Cozad filed with the commission a motion for a protective order, pursuant to Civ.R. 26(C). Ostensibly to protect himself and the other respondents from annoyance, embarrassment, and oppression, Cozad requested an order broadly prohibiting Stafford from:
(1.) Issuing any public comments about this action in any form whatsoever, including, but not limited to social media (e.g. Facebook);
(2.) Disseminating, disclosing or commenting to the public any information, documents or other things gleaned through discovery or from subpoenas issued to third-parties;
Article from Reason.com