In 2008 three employees of the city of Cincinnati wanted to volunteer for the presidential campaigns, two for Obama and one for McCain. None of them could though. It turns out that Cincinnati had a law on the books for the past 80+ years that prohibited any political involvement by city employees.
The law was enacted because of local councilman and Republican chairman George “Boss” Cox. During his reign Cox would shower his supporters with city jobs, but that came at a price – a demand to donate 2.5% of their paycheck to the Republican Party. Cincinnati decided it was time to prevent such political corruption from running rampant again, so they enacted the law.
Attorneys for the complainants argued successfully that the law was to broad. It was an essential gag order against city employees, even banning them from discussing politics at a barbecue in their own backyards.
A settlement was reached in the U.S. District Court today to revamp the rules and allow city employees more freedom in campaigning and donating money. One of the complainants had this to say after the settlement was reached: “If the city attempts to hinder my First Amendment rights like communist North Korea I won’t hesitate to sue again.” I can’t say I don’t blame him at all.