This article originally appeared at Politico.com on December 3, 2010.
By Alex Isenstadt
Democratic Rep. Steve Driehaus is reviving his fight against the Susan B. Anthony List, the anti-abortion group that aggressively attacked him during his failed reelection bid.
Driehaus, a freshman Ohio congressman, announced Friday that he was filing a defamation lawsuit against the conservative organization in federal District Court for attacks during the campaign accusing him of supporting taxpayer-funded abortions because he voted for the health care bill – but the billboards leveling the charges were halted before they went up, pending the resolution of an earlier complaint filed by Driehaus.
That complaint against SBA List, filed with the Ohio Elections Commission, was slated to be addressed at an early December hearing, but Driehaus dropped the complaint in mid-November.
“I have chosen to proceed against the SBA List in federal court because the issue at stake goes beyond the purview of the Ohio Elections Commission,” Driehaus said in a statement. “As more and more interests are able to anonymously spend unlimited sums of money in attempts to defame public servants and influence our elections, it is imperative that groups such as the SBA List be held to account for their behavior. Lies have consequences.”
SBA List Executive Director Emily Buchanan accused Driehaus of trying to distract from his vote in favor of the health care bill.
“The voters of Ohio’s First District are the ones that cost Steve Driehaus his livelihood,” Buchanan wrote in an e-mail. “Driehaus’ problem was not that the entire pro-life movement and the SBA List lied about his vote for taxpayer funding of abortion in the health care reform bill. The problem was that he took the wrong vote and he paid the consequences on Election Day.”
Driehaus, a former state House minority whip who has proclaimed himself to be anti-abortion rights, lost his race for reelection against former GOP Rep. Steve Chabot, whom Driehaus ousted in 2008.