Ohio Superintendent Accused of Theft in Office, Pay to Play, Perjury Resigns Effective Next Week – Governor Kasich Allows Superintendent to Avoid Criminal Investigation, Collect Another $4500 From Taxpayers

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Today, Ohio Superintendent Stan Heffner announced his intention to resign from office effective next Friday, August 10, almost 10 days following release of a report from the Ohio Inspector General that confirmed “reasonable cause” for violations of state ethics laws. The report also raised serious questions that Heffner may have engaged in theft in office, pay to play and perjury.

Following release of the report, Governor Kasich claimed that “dismissal [of Heffner] seems too far.” In response to today’s latest news that Kasich has not yet called for a criminal investigation, and Heffner will continue to collect a paycheck from Ohio taxpayers until next Friday, Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern released the following statement:

“It’s incredibly alarming that Governor John Kasich elevated Stan Heffner to Superintendent after these allegations of illegal activity first arose, and he continues to act as if the allegations of theft in office, pay to play, and perjury are no big deal.

“If it weren’t for the Governor playing politics and forcing the former Superintendent from office in the first place, Stan Heffner may never have had the opportunity to commit these alleged illegal acts. But throughout this entire process, Governor Kasich has turned a blind eye to the corruption in his administration.

“Heffner has already collected over $220,000 since the day he first committed these very serious alleged illegal acts, and now the Governor is allowing him to collect even more. Instead of permitting Heffner to pick his own day of departure, Governor Kasich should finally show some leadership by calling for a criminal investigation, firing Heffner, and prohibiting him from collecting another $4500 from Ohio taxpayers. Ohioans have already foot the bill for this corruption for too long, it’s insulting of the Governor to make Ohioans pay Heffner for another week.”

The full report by the Ohio Inspector General is available here. All exhibits from the report are available here.

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BREAKING: Boy Who Cried Wolf Endorses Josh Mandel For Senate

Touts Mandel’s Ability To Consistently Repeat Previously Debunked Lies: “Us Serial Liars Need To Stick Together”

 

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Boy Who Cried Wolf announced his endorsement of Josh Mandel today, ending speculation about who the world renowned liar would support in the Ohio senate race this November.

 

“Josh Mandel shares my ideals, my values and most importantly my less-than-casual relationship with the truth,” said the Boy Who Cried Wolf. “Us serial liars need to stick together, and now that Josh Mandel’s officially been crowned King of Ohio’s Liars, the choice for me is simple. I’m honored to support Josh and I look forward to joining him and his special interest friends on the campaign trail as they lie about Sherrod and distort his record on the issues from now through November.”

 

The Boy Who Cried Wolf rose to fame for repeatedly proclaiming that his sheep were being attacked by a wolf, when in fact, no wolf had attacked his sheep. Much like the Boy Who Cried Wolf, Josh Mandel’s star has risen largely because of his penchant for repeating previously debunked lies. This week Josh Mandel earned the “Pants on Fire crown” from Politifact Ohio, an award reserved for the worst liar among all Ohio politicians.

 

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Paid for by the Ohio Democratic Party, Chris Redfern, Chairman

Retired Service Men and Women Commend Ohio Democratic Party for Joining Lawsuit to Reinstate Three Days of Early Voting Prior to Election Day for Veterans

Democrats Fighting to Reinstate Early Voting for Nearly 900,000 Ohio Veterans and their Families


COLUMBUS, OHIO –
Today, Veterans spoke out to commend the Ohio Democratic Party for joining a lawsuit to reinstate the three days of early voting prior to Election Day for nearly 900,000 Ohio Veterans, their families, and all Ohio voters.
Vietnam War Era Veteran Robert W. Crosby, Jr., Retired Lt. Colonel Claudia L. Mason, Retired Chief Warrant Officer John Jeffries, Retired Reservist and State Representative Sandra Williams, and Retired National Guard and Reservist and State Representative Teresa Fedor released the following joint statement regarding the Ohio Democratic Party’s involvement in this lawsuit:

 

“The General Assembly and Governor John Kasich arbitrarily moved to obstruct the right to vote this year when they eliminated the final three days of early voting for nearly 900,000 Veterans and their families, along with the vast majority of Ohioans. The Ohio Democratic Party joined a lawsuit to reinstate those three days of early voting prior to Election Day – which nearly 93,000 people utilized in 2008 – for Veterans and all Ohio voters. From the very beginning, this lawsuit stated support for military and overseas voters and their right to vote early through the weekend and Monday before the election.

“We are thankful that the Ohio Democratic Party honors those that fight for our freedoms every day by joining this lawsuit to reinstate early voting for Veterans, and all other Ohioans, to make sure that everyone has the right to cast their ballot in the final three days before Election Day.

“By signing on to this lawsuit, the members of the Ohio Democratic Party have shown they are thankful for and deeply respect our brave men and women that fight and die for our country’s most fundamental freedoms, including the right to vote.”

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Boccieri: Restore Equal, Fair Access to Early Voting

COLUMBUS, OH – In response to recent, but not surprising, Republican mischaracterizations of Obama for America V. Husted, a lawsuit filed reinstate the last 3 days of Early Voting and ensure that all Ohio voters can make their voices heard this November, Obama for America Truth Team Member and Lt. Col and Air Force Pilot John Boccieri released the following statement:

 

“From the very beginning, this lawsuit explicitly stated support for military and overseas voters and their right to vote early through the weekend and Monday before the election. Not only did we state this clearly to the court, we also today filed a response supporting the military organizations’ motion to intervene and welcoming these organizations to this fight. Yet while we fight to ensure all Ohioans can vote for the final three days of early voting, as they were all allowed to do in 2008, we are seeing a complete mischaracterization by some Republicans regarding what this case is truly about. This is about restoring equal and fair access to early voting and in no way asks for restrictions to voting. Anything said otherwise is completely false. Period. And as a member of the American Legion and a lifetime member of the AMVETS, I find these claims outrageous.”

 

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Politifact’s “Pants On Fire Crown,” Caught Blowing Off His Job For Campaign Events, Bad Poll Numbers: Another Banner Week For Josh Mandel

Mandel Campaign Limps Through Another Week And Waits For Next Secretly Funded Attack Ad Against Sherrod

COLUMBUS, OHIO – It’s been another banner week for Josh Mandel, who in just one week’s time, earned himself Politifact’s “Pants on Fire crown” and suspiciously appears to have been caught moving Board of Deposit meetings to fit his campaign and fundraising schedule. This news was followed by a new Quinnipiac poll showing Sen. Brown leading Mandel by 12 percentage points.

Cleveland Plain Dealer – Campaign attacks give Josh Mandel Pants on Fire crown

“The free-swinging strategy has made Mandel the Pants on Fire leader of PolitiFact Ohio.

Five of his statements have been rated Pants On Fire, a label reserved for claims both false and ridiculous, which took him past Ohio House Speaker William G. Batchelder for the state record.”

Dayton Daily News – Ohio treasurer Mandel attends rescheduled board meetings

“Mandel’s administration stuck to the date and time for every meeting until March 19, according to meeting minutes, when Mandel attended his first board meeting after missing the first 14 of his term. …

Mandel’s meeting absences and originally scheduled meetings have coincided with campaign events.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer – Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown leads challenger Josh Mandel by 12 points in new poll

“That puts Brown, of Avon, above the all-important 50 percent threshold and stakes him to a 12 percentage point advantage over Mandel, of Beachwood. …

Brown leads Mandel among independent voters, 49 percent to 38 percent, according to the poll. Women favor Brown by a 55 percent to 34 percent margin…”

“It was only a matter of time before Josh Mandel was officially crowned King of Ohio’s Liars, and coupled with another example of just how little he cares about being Treasurer, it’s no wonder that the more Ohioans learn about Josh Mandel the more they think he’s just another politician who can’t be trusted,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Andrew Zucker. “Despite $11.5 million in secretly-funded special interest cash keeping Josh Mandel’s campaign afloat, Ohioans aren’t buying what he’s peddling and no amount of outside money from the  likes of the Koch Bros. or Karl Rove will disguise from the fact that Mandel’s not on the side of Ohio’s middle class and he’d be a rubber stamp for Washington special interests.”

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Paid for by the Ohio Democratic Party, Chris Redfern, Chairman

Report Reveals Kasich Cabinet Member Possibly Violated Ethics Laws, Engaged in Pay to Play, Perjured Himself and Committed Theft in Office

Ohio Democratic Chairman Calls for Criminal Investigation of Superintendent, Administration

COLUMBUS, OHIO- In response to a formal complaint filed by State Representative Debbie Phillips, today the Ohio Inspector General released the first substantive investigation of his term finding reasonable cause to believe a member of Governor John Kasich’s Cabinet engaged in “wrongful acts” in violation of state ethics laws.

 

This report raises more questions than answers, and shows that a top member of the Governor’s Cabinet may have violated state ethics laws, engaged in pay to play, committed theft in office, and perjured himself,” said Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern. “The IG is to be commended for issuing his first substantive report, and I hope he will take action to restore oversight to this Administration, and investigate the other similar complaints that have been referred to him regarding violations of the public trust.”

 

Breaking with past practice, the Inspector General failed to directly refer the many possible ethical and criminal findings regarding Heffner, or any assistance he may have received from the Administration, for criminal investigation. Between 2006 and 2010, in nearly half of all the Inspector General’s publicly available reports where reasonable cause for a violation was found, matters were directly referred to a prosecutor.

 

“Make no mistake, this report raises very serious questions,” said Redfern. “Governor Kasich should immediately call for Heffner’s suspension, and for a criminal investigation regarding any and all possible ethical and criminal violations by Heffner, and any of those in the Administration that assisted him.”

 

Specifically, the report claimed that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan Heffner gave personally beneficial testimony in his official capacity before the Ohio Senate to support Educational Testing Services (ETS), a company with which he had recently accepted an offer of employment that he failed to disclose. The report also revealed that additional people in the Administration knew of Heffner’s inappropriate activities, but failed to step forward. Other documented instances show Heffner misappropriated state resources, and in at least one case, may have perjured himself. Heffner claimed he never used Ohio Department of Education staff to assist in scheduling personal meetings with ETS, but emails released in the report seem to indicate otherwise (see exhibits 10, 11, and 14).

 

Mr. Heffner was elevated as interim Superintendent last fall after the Columbus Dispatch reported two members of the Governor’s staff helped push the former Superintendent out of office. After this complaint was filed, Heffner rescinded the offer of employment with ETS at the root of this debacle and was appointed permanent Superintendent by the Governor.

 

The full report by the Ohio Inspector General is available here. All exhibits from the report are available here.

 

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Ohio Democratic Party Statement on Congressman LaTourette’s Withdrawal from General Election

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Today, in response to news that Ohio Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette plans to withdraw from the general election and retire at the conclusion of his term, Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern released the following statement:

 

“Ohio Republicans are in complete disarray, as they scramble to find a replacement candidate for a competitive district that they never thought they’d have to work to defend. Republicans did not see this vacancy coming, and if they had, they wouldn’t have made the 14th one of the only evenly split districts in the state.

 

“Congressman LaTourette was absolutely right when he said today that the ‘atmosphere in the House of Representatives no longer encourages the finding of common ground.’ House Republicans, led by Speaker Boehner, continue to set record disapproval levels for Congress because their radical, ideological Tea Party freshmen refuse any and all forms of compromise. A month doesn’t pass where these ideologues don’t threaten to shut down the government, or hold work hostage that is important to Ohio’s economy, like passing a Farm Bill during the worst drought we’ve seen in decades.

 

“After Senate Bill 5, the men and women of the 14th District understand just how out of touch Ohio’s Republican Party is with working families. Those men and women will rally to elect a Democrat to Congress in this seat, whether it’s this year, or in 2014.”

 

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Josh Mandel: “I Always Tell The Truth” … Wait, What?

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Yesterday, between VIP fundraisers, The Plain Dealer reported Josh Mandel said – no joke – “I always tell the truth.”

Not so, says PolitiFact.

  1. NRSC claim on behalf of Mandel campaign rated PANTS ON FIRE for being “ridiculous.”

  2. “Thrown together” Mandel claim, rated MOSTLY FALSE, “[doesn't] add up when put together.”

  3. Mandel claim rated PANTS ON FIRE and described as “overly broad; dead wrong,” “ridiculous” and “just not accurate.”

  4. Mandel claim rated PANTS ON FIRE for being “ridiculous” and a “stretch.”

  5. “Ridiculous” and “not accurate” Mandel claim rated PANTS ON FIRE.

  6. Mandel claim rated MOSTLY FALSE.

  7. Mandel claim rated FALSE for being “wrong” and “simply false.”

And lest we not forget, The Plain Dealer previously reported:

Others back down or soften their rhetoric once their statements have been publicly scrutinized, but Mandel doubles down. Consider his response in an interview last week when asked again to identify a single Ohio job that went to China because of a decisive vote by Brown.

“If that’s the level of specificity you’re looking for, you’re the reporters — you go do the grunt work,” said Mandel

PolitiFact Ohio already had done the “grunt work” and found that the examples cited by Mandel’s campaign failed to back up his claim, hence the Pants on Fire rating. Right or wrong, Mandel vowed to repeat the assertion “again and again” and said he sees no downside.

BACKGROUND

Mandel: “I Always Tell The Truth.”  In April 2012, the Cleveland Plain Dealer quoted Mandel saying “Like Sen. McCain, I always tell the truth. And I always shoot straight to people throughout the state of Ohio.”  [Plain Dealer, 4/16/12]

Mandel “Doubles Down” And Told The Plain Dealer He Will Repeat Claims Debunked As False By Nonpartisan Organizations Like Politifact.  In March 2012, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported “Others back down or soften their rhetoric once their statements have been publicly scrutinized, but Mandel doubles down. Consider his response in an interview last week when asked again to identify a single Ohio job that went to China because of a decisive vote by Brown.  ‘If that’s the level of specificity you’re looking for, you’re the reporters — you go do the grunt work,’ said Mandel, who lives in Beachwood. ‘Any reporter who doesn’t believe Sherrod Brown is responsible for jobs going to China is simply out of touch.’  PolitiFact Ohio already had done the “grunt work” and found that the examples cited by Mandel’s campaign failed to back up his claim, hence the Pants on Fire rating. Right or wrong, Mandel vowed to repeat the assertion “again and again” and said he sees no downside.” [Plain Dealer, 3/24/12]

Washington Post Plum Line: Mandel “One Of The Best Examples” Of Politicians Continuing “To Lie With Impunity.”  In March 2012, the Washington Post’s Plum Line reported “It’s often been pointed out that one of the main problems with fact-checking dishonest politicians is that they know they can continue to lie with impunity, since no one in the media cares except for a few pointy-headed truth-squadders.  Here is one of the best examples of this we’ve ever seen.  Meet Josh Mandel, the GOP challenger to Ohio Dem Senator Sherrod Brown. National right wing groups have spent huge money targeting him, and the race could be pivotal to Dem hopes of holding the Senate.  Mandel has been pilloried by Politifact for excessive lying about Brown, particularly with regard to his “pants on fire” claim that Brown is one of the politicians most responsible for Ohio jobs moving to China.  But in a confrontational interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mandel attacked Politifact as politically motived, insisted his claims are true, and went on to offer a remarkable response. Mandel said he was under no obligation to back up his own assertions, and confidently predicted he’d continue repeating them ‘again and again’ with no repercussions.” [Washington Post, Plum Line, 3/26/12]

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Paid for by the Ohio Democratic Party, Chris Redfern, Chairman

Reeling From Cronyism Scandal, Josh Mandel Holds VIP Fundraisers With McCain And Christie While Arrogantly Continuing Year Long Refusal To Disclose Staff Resumes

7th Public Records Request In Last Year Followed Reports Mandel Awarded Top Jobs In Treasurer’s Office To Political Cronies, Sent Top Aide To “Beginner’s Course In The Subject He Was Overseeing”

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Today, while Josh Mandel is hard at work doing what he loves best – ignoring his job to raise cash for his U.S. Senate campaign – there remains a glaring issue he’s all too happy to ignore: his continued refusal to disclose resumes of staffers he has hired in light of the ongoing cronyism scandal in the Treasurer’s office.

It’s been more than a year since we filed our first of seven public records requests for resumes and cover letters of Treasurer’s office staffers Mandel hired, and – surprise, surprise – we’re still waiting for a full and accurate response.

  • ODP filed its first request in April 2011.
  • In response to the requests – which can be viewed here – the Treasurer’s office sent incomplete and unnecessary information or has yet to respond.
  • ODP filed its seventh request last week.
  • To date, ODP still hasn’t received resumes from at least 47 staffers Mandel has hired, despite repeatedly requesting their disclosure and even listing the specific names of employees.

Given revelations he awarded top jobs and massive taxpayer-funded raises to political cronies and friends after campaigning against cronyism and promising to behave differently, Josh Mandel should immediately disclose the resumes for staffers he has hired, instead of blowing off work (again) to raise more cash.

Seriously. It shouldn’t be difficult (note: Josh, if you’re reading this, you can even e-mail them to us between today’s VIP fundraisers: azucker@ohiodems.org).

“Josh Mandel can ignore his job and throw as many VIP fundraisers as he wants, but it doesn’t change the fact that he surrounded himself with political cronies and friends in the Treasurer’s office and is refusing to comply with a public records request to disclose the resumes of nearly 50 staffers,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Andrew Zucker. “Between his routine absence from the Treasurer’s office, numerous questionable hires and refusal to disclose public records, Josh Mandel continues proving he has zero interest in doing his job on behalf of taxpayers and can’t be trusted.”

BACKGROUND

During 2010 Campaign For State Treasurer, Mandel Repeatedly Criticized Kevin Boyce For Appointing Politically Connected People Into Key Positions…And Promised To Operate Differently If Elected.  In March 2012, The Dayton Daily News reported “Mandel’s hires stand out because of the strong stance the then state representative took against incumbent Democrat Kevin Boyce’s hiring practices during the heated 2010 race for treasurer.  Mandel repeatedly criticized Boyce for appointing politically connected people into key slots, and pledged to operate differently if elected to the office that oversees billions of dollars in investments and bond deals.” [Dayton Daily News, 03/31/12]

Mandel: “Regardless, Cronyism Is Bad.” In October 2010, in an interview with the Dix Editorial Board, Josh Mandel said, “You know regardless, cronyism is bad, and a hallmark of our campaign, one of the main messages we’ve had in our campaign is restoring character and integrity to the treasurer’s office.” [Marc Kovac, Ohio Capital Blog, 10/5/10]

Mandel Hired Six Campaign Staffers To Positions Ranging From Debt Management And Policy Advising To Community Outreach.  In March 2012, The Dayton Daily News reported “To see if Mandel was fulfilling his pledge not to hire political friends the Daily News reviewed personnel files and other records from the treasurer’s office.”  The Dayton Daily News went on to note that Mandel “…hired six campaign workers whose average age is 26 and assigned them duties ranging from debt management to policy-advising to community outreach.”  [Dayton Daily News, 03/31/12]

Mandel’s Debt Management Director, Joe Aquilino, Attended A Conference Tailored For Those New To The Subject Of Debt Management.  In April 2012, The Huffington Post reported “Days after being accused of hiring young, inexperienced staffers for key positions in the state Treasury, new evidence shows that Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, the Republican nominee for the state Senate race, dispatched a top aide to a beginner’s course in the subject he was overseeing. A roster of attendees for a seminar on the fundamentals of municipal bond law, held at the April 2011 National Association of Bond Lawyers, shows that Joe Aquilino — Mandel’s debt management director at the time — attended the conference. The seminar is tailored for those new to the subject.” [Huffington Post, 04/05/12]

The Purpose Of The Seminar Is To “Strengthen Basic Knowledge Of State, Tax And Securities Law Issues.”  In April 2012,The Huffington Post reported “According to the brochure for the NABL seminar, its purpose was to help people ‘learn the building blocks of municipal finance and gain or strengthen basic knowledge of state, tax and securities law issues in municipal finance.’” [Huffington Post, 04/05/12]

Municipal Bond Expert:  Aquilino’s Qualifications Are Troubling. In April 2012, The Huffington Post reported “Wilson White, a municipal bond expert who spent more than 60 years purchasing bonds from U.S. states, including Ohio, said Aquilino’s qualifications are troubling. White also owned his own municipal bond house and has published several textbooks on the subject. ‘Just let me say to be a director of finance of a major state at 26 in highly unusual,’ White said. ‘I know of no parallel example that I’ve come across in all my 60 years of municipal bond experience. I just find it hard to believe.’”  [Huffington Post, 04/05/12]

Municipal Bond Expert:  “To Be A Director Of Finance Of A Major State At 26 Is Highly Unusual.”  In April 2012, The Huffington Post reported “Wilson White, a municipal bond expert who spent more than 60 years purchasing bonds from U.S. states, including Ohio, said Aquilino’s qualifications are troubling. White also owned his own municipal bond house and has published several textbooks on the subject. ‘Just let me say to be a director of finance of a major state at 26 in highly unusual,’ White said. ‘I know of no parallel example that I’ve come across in all my 60 years of municipal bond experience. I just find it hard to believe.’”  [Huffington Post, 04/05/12]

“It Sounds Like Pure Patronage To Me, And If It Were In My State I’d Be Ashamed Of It.”  In April 2012, The Huffington Post wrote “The premier speaker for the National Association of Bond Lawyers seminar this year is Ben Watkins, bond finance director for the state of Florida — a position he has held since July 1995. Despite a difference in title, Watkins holds the same job that Aqulino did for the Ohio Treasury — except that Watkins is leading the seminar, while Aquilino was attending it. When asked about Aquilino’s experience and his position working for Mandel in the Treasury and now for Mandel’s Senate campaign, White said, ‘It sounds like pure patronage to me, and if it were in my state I’d be ashamed of it.’”  [Huffington Post, 04/05/12]

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Paid for by the Ohio Democratic Party, Chris Redfern, Chairman

VIDEO: Josh Mandel’s Facebook Cronies

After Waging Furious Campaign Against Cronyism, Josh Mandel Gave “High-Ranking Jobs” To Political Cronies, Then Sent Top Aide To “Beginner’s Course In The Subject He Was Overseeing”

Despite Seven Public Records Requests Spanning 12 Months, Mandel Still Won’t Disclose Resumes Of Treasurer’s Office Hires

COLUMBUS, OHIO – After campaigning furiously against cronyism during his Treasurer campaign and promising to behave differently, Josh Mandel gave “high-ranking jobs” to political cronies, then sent a top aide to a remedial course on the very subject he was in charge of.

In this new video released by the Ohio Democratic Party, watch Mandel’s political cronies celebrate their outrageous promotions and massive raises with Josh, himself… on Facebook.

Click Below To Watch The Video.

“After campaigning furiously against cronyism during his last campaign and promising to change course, Josh Mandel broke his pledge to Ohioans and awarded top jobs and massive taxpayer funded raises to political cronies, many who lacked the basic qualifications to do their jobs,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Andrew Zucker. “That Josh Mandel surrounded himself with political cronies after repeatedly slamming his predecessor for alleged cronyism is the clearest indication yet that he’s not doing his job on behalf of taxpayers and cannot be trusted.”

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Paid for and authorized by the Ohio Democratic Party, not authorized by any federal candidate or campaign committee. Chris Redfern, Chairman, 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, Ohio 43215.