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Bob Fitrakis (born November 29, 1955) is a Professor of Political Science in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at Columbus State Community College. He has also taught political theory at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and political science at Wayne State University and Oakland Community College. He also has taught at Otterbein College and Capital University.
Fitrakis has a Ph.D in political science from Wayne State University and a J.D. from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. He was a Ford Foundation Fellow to the Michigan State legislature in 1975 and studied at the University of Sarejevo on scholarship in 1978. Fitrakis earned a J.D. from the Ohio State University/Mortitz College of Law in 2002.
He is the author of six Fitrakis Files books: Spooks, Nukes & Nazis, Free Byrd & Other Cries for Justice, A Schoolhouse Divided, The Brothers Voinovich and the Ohiogate Scandal and Star Wars, Weather Mods and Full Spectrum Dominance, and Cops, Cover-ups and Corruption, compilations of his writings at the Free Press and Columbus Alive. Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman co-wrote Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election? Essential Documents (with Steve Rosenfeld) and How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008, George W. Bush vs. The SuperPower of Peace in 2003 and Imprison Bush in 2004-2005. Fitrakis also wrote The Idea of Democratic Socialism in America and the Decline of the Socialist Party (Garland Publishers 1993). He co-wrote What Happened in Ohio? A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election with Steven Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman, and "As Goes Ohio: Election Theft Since 2004—Best of the freepress.org" and with Wasserman. Dr. Fitrakis is a frequent speaker on political, labor and social policy issues at national academic and political conferences.
He is a chapter author of “As Ohio Goes…?” pp. 191-206, in "Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008" edited by Mark Crispin Miller, published by Ig Publishing, 2008). He was a contributor to "Hacked: High Tech Election Theft in America," co-edited by Abbe Waldman DeLozier and Vickie Karp, co-authoring “Elections and Voting – Will the Major Media Finally Cover the Election Fraud Issue?” pp. 44-49 and chapter author of “E-voting Horrors,” pp. 72-87, (Truth Enterprises Publishing, 2006). He was a contributor to "The I Hate Corporate America Reader: How Big Companies from McDonalds to Microsoft are Destroying our Way of Life," co-authoring the article “Diebold’s Political Machine,” pp. 182-184, (Thunder’s Mouth Press, January 2005). He also wrote an essay on The Appeal to Reason for the "Dictionary of Literary Biographies," volume 345, American Radical and Reform Writers Second Series, p. 357, Gale, Cengage Learning, 2008 and an essay on Norman Thomas, for the "Dictionary of Literary Biographies," volume 303, Thomson Gale, 2005.
Bob Fitrakis is Executive Director of the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism (CICJ)/CICJ Books as well as the Editor of The Free Press (freepress.org) since 1993. He wrote monthly investigative news articles, including articles on Klan activities in Ohio. He both participated in, and wrote about a controversial plan by Columbus' NAACP to "out" Klan leaders in Ohio. Dr. Fitrakis produced an interactive educational CDROM on hate groups in Ohio and published the journal article with Dr. Judy Gentry "High Tech Hate" for the Ohio Association of Two-Year Colleges. In 1997, the CICJ received a grant from the Drug Policy Foundation for polling in Franklin County, Ohio on the issue of medical use of marijuana and industrial hemp.
Dr. Fitrakis is an investigative journalist, has won eleven major investigative journalism awards including "Best Coverage of Politics in Ohio" from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists. He was a columnist and investigative reporter for Columbus Alive from 1996-2002, a local alternative weekly newspaper, and was awarded First Place for Best Coverage of Government for the article "The V File" investigative report on Sen. George Voinovich and Second Place for "Spook Air" about Southern Air Transport's ties to the CIA and drug-running at Rickenbacker Air Base in central Ohio from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists (OSPJ). "Spook Air" was also awarded a Second Place in Investigative Reporting from the Press Club of Cleveland. In 1999, the OSPJ awarded him Second Place in two categories: Best Coverage of Government for his coverage of corruption in the bail bond industry "Money for Nothing" and Best Investigative Reporting for "The Shapiro Murder File" linking several of Columbus' prominent citizens to organized crime. "The Shapiro Murder File" also won an Honorable Mention nationally from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. In 1998, he won an investigative reporting award from the Central Ohio Chapter of the SPJ for his article "Striking it rich in the bail bond industry." He has also written for other national and local publications.
His articles have appeared on other national and local websites and publications including Huffington Post, Common Dreams, motherjones.com, thenation.com, Z magazine, RagBlog, Scoop.co, Bradblog, Salon.com, OpEdNews, Counterpunch, Truthout, tompaine.com, Hustler, larryflynt.com, Alternet, Buzzflash, progressive.org, and smirkingchimp.
In 2002, Fitrakis was awarded the Golden Ruler Award from the Columbus School Board for his journalism in behalf of the Columbus schoolchildren. In 2003, the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio (NAICCO) honored him with their Selma Walker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Human Rights Activism. He currently serves as the NAICCO Board President. He served on the Africentric School Advisory Board for the Columbus Public Schools and worked with the West High School College Preparation Program.
From 1990-2000, Dr. Fitrakis co-hosted a regular public access news/public affairs program, "From the Democratic Left," offering analysis of political events and social issues, locally and nationally. This program chronicled the activism of the progressive community in Central Ohio, from Gulf War demonstrations to anti-Klan protests. From June 1996-2006, he co-hosted, and hosted a weekly public affairs call-in talk radio program, "Fight Back!" first on WSMZ103.1FM and on WVKO 1580 AM 11:30am-12:30pm Saturdays. He also appeared with Charles Traylor on "The Fitrakis Files" 8-9am Thursdays. He was the drive-time weekday radio host for Columbus' Air America station in 2008. He currently has a live talk radio program on Talktainmentradio.com on Wednesday nights from 7-8pm eastern time and on the local broadcast community radio station WCRS-FM 102.1/98.3.
Dr. Fitrakis is a past President of the Columbus State Educational Association and has been President of the Columbus State Faculty Senate. He also chaired the Instructional Support Council of Shared Governance and was the faculty advisor to the Ohio Board of Regents. From 1991-93 he was a Friends of the Homeless board member, served on the board of the Neighborhood Network, and was a representative from the CICJ to Community Shares of Mid Ohio. He also serves on the boards of the Columbus Film Council, Central Ohio Green Education Fund, and Citizens for Responsive Government.
He visited Reynosa and Matamoros, Mexico as part of a human rights delegation to investigate conditions in the maquilladoras in 1993. As a result of the trip, he co-produced a video entitled "The Other Side of Free Trade" shown around the country at colleges and public access stations. He served as an international election observer in the 1994 presidential elections in El Salvador and was the co-author and editor of the report to the United Nations. In 2009, Fitrakis was part of a U.S. human rights delegation to Libya with former U.S. rep Cynthia McKinney.
Fitrakis was an Election Protection attorney on November 2, 2004 in Franklin County. Fitrakis rose to national prominence during the U.S. presidential election, 2004 and related 2004 U.S. election voting controversies by calling the first public hearings on election irregularities in Ohio and by filing a challenge in the Ohio Supreme Court to Ohio's presidential election results in the cases Moss v. Bush and Moss v. Moyer with three other attorneys. He testified on election irregularities before the Congressional Black Caucus and Progressive Caucus. He also testified at the Fitrakis serves as co-counsel in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville civil rights case. Fitrakis and Wasserman won a 2005 Project Censored Award, for an article that was listed as number three of the Top 25 Censored Stories, “How a Republican Election Supervisor Manipulated the 2004 Central Ohio Vote: In Black and White” that appeared on freepress.org.
Fitrakis was a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 12th district in 1992, running against Congressman John Kasich, and for the Columbus School Board in 1995. He was the elected Democratic Ward committeeperson in the 55th ward from 1996-2000. He currently serves as a Columbus Near East Area Commissioner. Fitrakis ran for Columbus City Council in the primary of 2003. and Columbus School Board that same year, endorsed by the Central Ohio Green Party. In 2008, Fitrakis brought suit on behalf of the Green Party of Ohio to place the Party on the ballot in the state, and served as the election attorney for Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney that year.
In 2012, Fitrakis is running for Congress in the 3rd district, central Ohio, in the Green Party primary Match 6, 2012. He serves on the Central Committee of the Franklin County Green Party and is Co-Chair of the Ohio Green Party. He also serves as legal counsel for Occupy Columbus.