Something fishy is in the air out in Ohio, where the presidential vote recount in being led by the Green Party’s ex-presidential candidate, David Cobb, with minimal support from the Libertarian Party. However well-intentioned Cobb’s pains to make every vote count seem, he may well be pulling a fast one on his supporters and Democrats, who have been battling denial since John Kerry’s loss to George W. Bush last month.
Cobb’s own performance in Ohio can be diagnosed as miserable. And that’s putting it kindly. His ticket pulled in a mere 186 write-in votes in the state (Mickey Mouse and Bart Simpson were not far behind). This alone should make anybody wonder why Cobb and his staff, which is comprised largely of new recruits, are even dealing with the recount in the first place.
For starters, Cobb’s name did not even appear on the ballot in Ohio, yet his team is the driving force behind Ohio’s 88 county recount. Too bad Cobb didn’t put this amount of energy into his own 2004 campaign. But for anyone who paid even the slightest bit of attention to the Greens this past election season, it should come as no surprise that Cobb’s actions serve the interest of the Democratic Party once again.
Writing for the Star Tribune on December 2, Cobb publicized that he has a “statutory right to demand a recount of the presidential vote in Ohio.” He claims to want every vote to be counted, and every voice to be heard. Sure he does, but what’s he getting in return? And if ol’ Cobb is so concerned with allowing everybody to have a political voice, why did he run a safe-state campaign this year, where he neglected to represent voters in all 50 states? So what’s the catch?
Revamped thanks to a plethora of recent donations, Cobb’s newly-minted website boasts that the former presidential hopeful has raised over $250,000 in just eleven days. To put things in perspective, the Cobb presidential campaign only brought in $133,576 as of October 13, 2004.
To top it off, Cobb is now asking for an additional $88,000 to aid in his Ohio endeavor. He claims to need an additional $1,000 per country in the state. And how much of this money is going to the Green Party? “None” claims Green Party headquarters.
So the question must now be raised: Where is all this extra cash going? And how much is Cobb pocketing himself? How about the rest of his staff? The Cobb camp won’t comment.
To add more spice to the charade, Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, the bookkeeper of the Cobb operation, just happens to be Cobb’s girlfriend. And as Cobb’s fancy new website explains, “Monies raised as part of the initial $150,000 have paid for re-hiring staff,” among other things. Sopoci-Belknap, not surprisingly, has been rehired along with numerous other friends of Cobb including his “Media Director” Blair Bobier Esq.
Green Party members and others should be outraged at the fiasco. Not only should they be questioning the motives behind Cobb’s Ohio recount, but they should also demand financial records to account for all the money that has rolled into the Cobb quarters since the election ended. For the odor of a con-game in Ohio is fast thickening.
JOSHUA FRANK, a contributor to A Dime’s Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils, is putting the finishing touches on Left Out: How Liberals did Bush’s Work for Him, to be published by Common Courage Press in 2005. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.