After downplaying office’s own JobsOhio audit, now Yost fundraising on promise to protect Kasich
COLUMBUS — Yesterday, State Auditor Dave Yost’s campaign sent out a fundraising email imploring folks to donate to his campaign to protect Governor John Kasich and upset union workers. Even worse, with absolutely no factual basis, Yost accused his opponent John Patrick Carney of planning to abuse the power of the Auditor’s Office. Yost’s fundraising email even claimed that his “campaign was raising enough money to get the job done,” even though John Patrick Carney has outraised Yost in all but one finance reporting period so far.
In response to Yost’s fundraising email, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern released the following statement:
“Dave Yost is panicking and now making completely baseless and false attacks against his opponent in which he should immediately and publicly apologize for making. However, this email shows that a mere month after courting union member donors, Yost intends to use his office for two purposes: protect John Kasich like he did with his report on JobsOhio and go after working families’ collective bargaining rights. Ohio needs an Auditor who’s looking out for taxpayers, not fellow partisan politicians.”
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges was Yost’s campaign manager in 2010 and a friend of Dave Yost, who pressured Yost on the JobsOhio audit.
In a Columbus Dispatch column, Joe Hallett reported that: “Also turning up the temperature on Yost was his friend and 2010 [sic in original] campaign manager, Matt Borges, executive director of the Ohio Republican Party and Kasich’s choice to be the party’s next chairman.” [Source: Columbus Dispatch (3/17/2013), “Yost feeling pressure to back off of attempt to audit JobsOhio.”]
Governor Kasich also admitted that he personally called Yost to discuss the JobsOhio audit. The Columbus Dispatch reported that Governor Kasich acknowledged that he had personally talked to Yost about the JobsOhio audit while it was in process. [Source: Columbus Dispatch (3/13/2013), “Kasich says he's talking to Yost about JobsOhio audit.”]
Yost’s JobsOhio report found numerous instances in which JobsOhio ignored state ethics laws.
JobsOhio’s Directors And Officers Failed To Sign Their Conflict Of Interest Forms Until Late 2012. According to The Ohio Auditor’s Report on JobsOhio “None of the directors or officers signed the annual affirmations (i.e., Conflict of Interest form) prior to June 30, 2012. However, eight of the nine Directors signed their affirmations between November 1, 2012 and January 14, 2013. One Director, who served on the Board until July 5, 2012, did not sign an affirmation prior to the end of his term. ” [The Ohio Auditor’s Report on JobsOhio, 11/1/13]
Auditor Recommended That JobsOhio Tighten Conflict Of Interest Policies According to The Ohio Auditor’s Report on JobsOhio “We recommend JobsOhio develop and implement policies and procedures to reasonably ensure each member of the Board of Directors signs the Conflict of Interest form at the initiation of his or her term and at the beginning of each subsequent fiscal year. These procedures should include a tracking mechanism that identifies each member, his or her term, and the date the member actually signed the Conflict of Interest form. ” [The Ohio Auditor’s Report on JobsOhio, 11/1/13]
Yost’s press conference about these findings sought to minimize them. In explaining why he was not going to review the numerous instances in which his own office found that JobsOhio failed to comply with Ohio ethics laws that were written for it, or instituted ethics policies it was statutorily obligated to implement, or follow the policies it did write, Yost said “none of this is headline making stuff.” [Source: Marc Kovac at Ohio Capital Blog (11/21/2013), “Yost on JobsOhio Audit 1 of 7” around 4:07 mark.]
Two weeks earlier, Yost’s office made a finding of recovery against a private ambulance company for lack of adequate documentation to justify Medicaid payments it received. Just two weeks ago today, Yost’s office made a finding of recovery of $61,385.00 and reported the company to the Ohio Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit based on documented cases of overpayments or Medicaid payments made without supporting documentation to support them. [Source: Ohio Auditor’s Medicaid Compliance Report on Caring Hands Transportation of Ohio, LLC (11/7/2013).]
Two weeks earlier, Yost blasted a company for violating the law and poor documentation. In the State Auditor’s press release concerning Caring Hands Transportation of Ohio, LLC, Yost said: “There aren’t any shortcuts around the law,” Auditor Yost said. “Keeping an accurate and complete book is part of the job. Just get it done.” [Source: State Auditor’s Press Release (11/7/2013), “Ambulette Company Owes Ohio Medicaid $71,000.”]
However, Yost dismissed the lack of documentation in JobsOhio as an issue. When specifically addressing the lack of documentation to support tax dollars JobsOhio received from DSA, Yost remarked: “Not unusual that there is some lack of documentation. We don’t live in a perfect world.” [Source: Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Chrissie Thompson on Twitter (@CThompsonENQ): “Yost @OhioAuditor on incomplete receipt records: "Not unusual that there is some lack of documentation. We don't live in a perfect world."]