Mandel Continues to Defend Suarez Letter as Status Quo Constituent Work

Yet repeatedly claims he cannot recall facts related to Suarez

COLUMBUS – In today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board interview, State Treasurer Josh Mandel again defended his letter to the State Treasurer of California in which Mandel threatened to have the Ohio Attorney General sue California over deceptive consumer practice litigation the Napa County District Attorney was pursuing against the company of Benjamin Suarez, a major source of campaign donations to Mandel’s failed U.S. Senate campaign in 2012.

In today’s editorial board meeting, Mandel defensively said, “I think that’s what constituents expect of their public officials,” when pressed on his action in the Suarez scandals after years of refusing to publicly answering questions.  But when asked about whether Mandel was personally involved in writing the letter for Suarez, about his visit to Suarez’s house, or when Mandel has ever been personally involved in other constituent requests for assistance, Mandel could not recall.

Ohio Democratic Party Deputy Communications Director Brian Hester released the following statement:

“Only Josh Mandel would believe that elected officials should exchange their official letterhead for question campaign contributions.  Ohio taxpayers expect our elected officials to put the office first, set aside petty partisanship, and deliver real results.  That’s why Connie Pillich is the perfect fit for the job. She doesn’t worry about keeping score, she just gets the job done.”

Plain Dealer columnist Mark Naymik disagreed with Mandel’s claim that his assistance for Suarez was above board.  Back in October of last year, Naymik said that it was clear Mandel failed to “filter out heavy-handed donors’ agenda attached to political money” and the whole affair made Mandel “look like a patsy.”  [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (10/22/2013), “Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s interaction with indicted political donor Benjamim Suarez is not good public service.”]


May 13th, 2011: Mandel personally asked Suarez to raise $100,000.  “Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel asked North Canton businessman Benjamin Suarez to raise $100,000 for the Republican’s U.S. Senate campaign, according to a federal indictment charging Suarez and an associate with illegally funneling about $200,000 to Mandel and a GOP congressman.” [Source: Columbus Dispatch (9/28/2013), “Josh Mandel asked Benjamin Suarez to raise campaign cash.”]

March 15th, 2011: Suarez met Mandel to discuss writing letters on SCI’s behalf. Days later, Mandel wrote a letter to Renacci asking him to act for the Suarez company.  [Source: Columbus Dispatch (6/5/2014), “Illegal campaign cash scheme began after donor met with Mandel.”]

May 23rd, 2011: Mandel sends letter to the California state treasurer. A spokesman for the California Treasurer said that Mandel’s letter read like it was written by an “ill-informed constituent.” [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (10/9/2013), “California treasurer’s office surprised by Josh Mandel’s letter on behalf of Benjamin Suarez.”]

May 26th, 2011: Mandel’s Senate campaign collects donations.  “On May 13, 2011, according to prosecutors, Mandel asked Suarez to raise $100,000 for his Senate campaign. And on May 23, 2011, Mandel sent another letter – this one to the California state treasurer. Soon after, Mandel’s Senate campaign collected the donations arranged by Suarez. That letter, along with the letter to Renacci, were sent on official treasurer’s office letterhead.” [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (06/13/14), “A closer look at Scott Guthrie, aide to Josh Mandel and behind-the-scenes figure in Ben Suarez case]

Guthrie named as the person who collected the donations.  “Michael Giorgio, a former top executive at Suarez’s company and the federal government’s star witness, mentioned Guthrie by name in testimony…identifying him as the Mandel aide responsible for collecting donations.”  [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (06/13/14), “A closer look at Scott Guthrie, aide to Josh Mandel and behind-the-scenes figure in Ben Suarez case]

It was unclear whether Guthrie was still working for the State Treasurer’s Office, the transition office, or Mandel’s Senate campaign. “It’s not clear who Guthrie was working for when documents first show him acting as the courier. Prosecutors identify Guthrie as an employee of the Senate campaign as early as March 21, 2011. Mandel at the time could not raise money for his Senate bid because he had not yet formed a campaign committee for that office.  Guthrie left his job at the treasurer’s office on Feb. 26, 2011.  Mandel filed the paperwork to establish his campaign on April 6, 2011.”

“The Josh Mandel Transition Fund, created after Mandel’s election in November 2010, paid Guthrie a total of $5,500 for consulting work in February and March of 2011.  The transition account and Mandel’s state campaign fund also reimbursed Guthrie for more than $5,000 in travel expenses from January through March of that year – including a $1,700 reimbursement from the state campaign fund on March 29, 2011.  And the Ohio Republican Party, which is closely aligned with Mandel and other GOP state officeholders, paid Guthrie $5,200 for consulting on April 14, 2011.”  [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (06/13/14), “A closer look at Scott Guthrie, aide to Josh Mandel and behind-the-scenes figure in Ben Suarez case]

Why Gutherie’s status with Mandel matters:  “This timeline is important because it continues May 23, 2011, with a missive – on official Ohio treasurer letterhead – from Mandel to the California treasurer. Guthrie, according to prosecutors, had been representing Mandel’s Senate campaign when he worked on the letters. The work resulted in action from the treasurer’s office. Soon after, donations from Suarez, his employees and their families began arriving.”

Ultimately, “[t]he question here, given that Guthrie was not an employee of the treasurer’s office at the time, is whether Mandel improperly mixed campaigning with public business.”  [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (06/13/14), “A closer look at Scott Guthrie, aide to Josh Mandel and behind-the-scenes figure in Ben Suarez case]

Kasich Refuses to Comment on State Budget Cuts that Lead to T.J. Lane Escape

COLUMBUS – Despite numerous requests from reporters, Governor Kasich has refused to comment on records showing the state’s drastic budget cuts to Ohio’s prisons lead to the overcrowding and understaffing that allowed Chardon school shooter T.J. Lane and two others to escape from Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution last week. Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director Meredith Tucker released the following statement:

“It’s reprehensible that Governor Kasich refuses to comment on a serious public safety threat simply to avoid political blowback. Under Governor Kasich, prison violence is increasing and now three dangerous criminals escaped, but rather than address these concerns the Governor is simply hiding from tough questions. With the cause of the prison escape so clear, Ohioans shouldn’t have to wait to hear about what the Administration knew before the escape happened and what he’s going to do now to keep our corrections officers and our communities safe from future escapes. Governor Kasich cannot be allowed to continue to duck tough questions until November 5.”

Increasing Prison Violence & Escapes Under Kasich

Kasich’s Plan to Decrease Prison Population Failed: “A two-year-old plan to reduce Ohio’s prison inmate population is not having the hoped-for impact, with the number of prisoners behind bars expected to spike beyond estimates, the director of the state prison system said Thursday. The state’s already high population of 50,000 could soar to 52,000 in two years and top 53,000 in six years, Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said in a presentation to a legislative prison inspection committee.” [Akron Beacon Journal, 8/29/2013]

Advocates Warned Last Year That Prison Overcrowding Could Lead to Riots, Escapes: “The union representing correctional officers and other employees at prisons said on Thursday that Ohio is forgetting the lessons it learned from Lucasville as budget cuts take their toll on staffing levels, even as inmate populations far exceed the buildings’ designed capacities. “It looks like a lot of the red flags in the early 1990s are flashing again in Ohio,” said Paul Goldberg, former executive director of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, who wrote a report on the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s needs after the Lucasville riot.” [Toledo Blade, 4/4/2013]

April Inspection Showed Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution Over Capacity: “Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution was last inspected in April 2014, when it had 1,635 inmates, over the prison’s rated capacity of 1,418. During the inspection by Ohio Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, the security of the facility was rated as “good.” [WKYC, 9/11/2014]

Former Ohio Prison Warden Calls TJ Lane Escape “Unacceptable”: “A former Ohio prison warden is calling the escape by school shooter T.J. Lane “unacceptable” and suspects staff cutbacks could be blamed. Norman Rose was longtime prison warden in Ohio and says a gradual reduction in prison staffing over recent years is among a combination of factors that contributed to Lane’s escape. “So you would have one person doing what two people used to do and then one doing what three would do and so on,” said Rose, speaking about prison cutbacks.” [ABC5, 9/12/2014]

Prison Where T.J. Lane Escaped Besieged by Budget Cuts: “There were at one time three prisons, then two and now only one at the sprawling Allen Oakwood Correctional Institute where convicted Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane jumped a fence north of Lima, Ohio. The breakout came at the end of a long string of budget cuts at the 100-year-old site; reports of unmanned guard towers and skeleton crew guard teams have mounted.” [Plain Dealer, 9/13/2014]

Yet Again—Federal Court Finds Husted Violated Ohioans’ Voting Rights

Republican Secretary of State has turned the office into a partisan lapdog, not a watchdog for voters’ rights

COLUMBUS – In response to today’s federal court ruling declaring Jon Husted’s directive and other efforts to cut early voting in Ohio before the November general elections as a violation of the constitution and of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern issued the following statement:

“Jon Husted has a documented history of filing last minute appeals and issuing unconstitutional, eleventh-hour directives that aim to prevent convenient early voting hours, and this partisan agenda has wasted over $400,000 of taxpayers’ dollars.  Ohioans deserve a Secretary of State that will fight for expansive voting opportunities for working middle class families, not add to voter confusion with last ditch appeals.  That is why Ohioans will elect State Senator Nina Turner to be the next Secretary of State.”

An August poll conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of the Ohio Democratic Party showed Jon Husted narrowly ahead of Senator Nina Turner by 46% to 43%.

FROM TODAY’S OPINION: “Secretary Husted has offered no explanation as to why uniformity, standing alone, should be considered an interest important enough to effectively make it harder for groups of citizens to vote.”[Source: Memorandum Opinion and Order, page 59-60 (9/4/2014)]


Three major Ohio editorials made it clear that these bills were being passed for no other reason than deny likely Democratic voters the vote before the 2014 election.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s editorial said that the measures “aim to limit voting by Ohioans who might vote for Democrats” and called passage of the bills “an affront to democracy” that allowed politicians to “pick their own voters.”  [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (2/19/2014), “Ohio House Republicans should walk away from bills aimed at decreasing the ease of voting in Ohio”]

The Toledo Blade editorial said the bills “would make it harder to vote among citizens whom GOP politicians would rather keep away from the polls.” On the GOP argument that the bills were need to fight “voter fraud,” the Blade noted “[t]hat argument would be more credible if those who make it could point to specific examples of fraud in Ohio voting that their measures would prevent. But they can’t offer evidence of systematic fraud, because it doesn’t exist.  These bad measures aren’t as blatant as the poll taxes and literacy tests that Southern elections officials used during the civil rights era a half-century ago to keep African-Americans from voting. But their effect is largely, and intolerably, the same, and their approval would seem to invite court challenges under federal voting rights law.” [Source: Toledo Blade (2/19/14), “Don’t suppress the vote”]

The Akron Beacon Journal editorial noted that the Republicans decided that “[r]ather than work in a bipartisan way on a comprehensive overhaul of election laws, the Republican-run legislature has proceeded on its own unfortunate course. This week, the Ohio House is working on bills that push aside important priorities and contain flaws that would make voting more difficult.” [Source: Akron Beacon Journal (2/18/2014), “Election partisans”]

Jon Husted supported cutting early voting days by a week.  According to the Columbus Dispatch, Secretary of State Husted recommends that “early voting would instead start 29 days before the election” but it end during the afternoon “the Sunday before the general election.”  [Source: Columbus Dispatch, (10/24/2013), “Husted promotes limits on early voting.”]

Federal courts already ruled in 2012 and 2014 that Husted’s prior attempts to cut general election early voting days were illegal.  In 2012, the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Ohio ruled that Ohio could not cut off early voting the Friday before the general election.  Republicans attempted to reduce the number of days of early voting, but the Ohio General Assembly reversed course after HB 194 was threatened with a referendum campaign.  [Source: Reuters (8/31/12), “Court overturns Ohio early voting restrictions in win for Democrats.”]

This relief granted by the Court was made permanent in 2014. [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, (6/11/2014), “Federal court orders Ohio restore early voting hours on 3 days before Election Day.”]

The decision declaring Republicans’ attempt to cut off early voting before Election Day unconstitutional was upheld by federal appellate courts.  The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision declaring the restriction “unconstitutional.”  “The court acknowledged an argument that ‘low-income and minority voters are disproportionately affected by elimination’ of the three days of polling for many voters and said ‘there is no definitive evidence… that elections boards would be tremendously burdened’ by returning poll access to the standard before recent changes to the state’s laws.”

[Source: CNN (10/5/2012), “Federal court upholds Ohio early voting ruling.”]

According to official records maintained by Jon Husted’s own office, more than 600,000 Ohioans used early in-person voting in 2012. [Source: Ohio Secretary of State’s website, 2012 “Absentee Ballot Report.”]

Ohio Democratic Party Sues Mandel over Refusal to Comply With Public Records Request

COLUMBUS –Today, the Ohio Democratic Party filed suit in the Ohio Supreme Court against State Treasurer Josh Mandel over his refusal to comply with his legal obligation to provide copies of requested public records for nearly two months regarding his taxpayer-funded tele-town halls and his office’s involvement to assist corrupt businessman and Mandel donor Benjamin Suarez.

At issue in the case is a July 18th, 2014 public records request in which the Ohio Democratic Party made an official request to Treasurer Mandel’s office for the following:

  • A copy of any and all documents produced from March 1, 2014 until present to Laura Bischoff, a reporter for the Dayton Daily News, in response to any public records request she filed regarding tele-town halls.
  • A copy of any and all executed contracts for services, not approved by the State Controlling Board (such as contracts not statutorily requiring approval by the Controlling Board), related to telephone town halls with constituents on behalf of the Treasurer’s Office for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014.
  • A copy of all request for bids or proposals and all received bids or proposals for services related to telephone town halls with constituents on behalf of the Treasurer’s Office for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014.
  • A copy of any and all correspondences, whether written or electronic, between Scott Guthrie and Eric Synenberg from February 2011 until August 2011 concerning either Benjamin Suarez or Suarez Corporation Industries (a.k.a. “SCI”).
  • In the event your office claims that any document requested has since been destroyed before receipt of this request, please provide me with a copy of the appropriate Certificate of Records Disposal for such records.

To date, not only has Josh Mandel’s office failed to provide the documents, but his office has failed to even acknowledge receipt of the requests despite being addressed to Mandel’s Deputy Treasurer Seth Metcalf.  This after a 3-month publicity blitz touting his record on transparency and accessibility.

With regard to the lawsuit filed, Chairman Chris Redfern released the following statement:

“Josh Mandel has a well-documented history of stonewalling public records requests for years, and avoids any and every question about his cozy relationship and willingness to help his convicted donor Benjamin Suarez.  Mandel’s unwillingness to provide any transparency or accountability of his office is as unconscionable as it is hypocritical.  It is Mandel’s duty to the taxpayers of Ohio to release the records immediately so Ohioans can find out how Josh has used tax dollars to promote himself in an election year and how his office went to bat for Suarez.”


Mandel brags about transparency and accessibility.  In an interview with the Northeast Ohio Media Group, Josh Mandel was asked how he is not hypocritical for politicizing his office after criticizing his predecessor for the same problem.  He responded, “In our administration, first and foremost, we try to be accessible to constituents. One of my pet peeves is when you see people running for public office campaign on being accessible and then when they get in there, oftentimes they are not open to the people. I’ve tried to be as accessible as possible to my constituents.”  [Source: Northeast Ohio Media Group (8/25/2014), “Josh Mandel talks about cleaning up after Kevin Boyce and connecting with the black community but remains tight-lipped on Ben Suarez: Q&A”]

In the same interview, Mandel declines to comment on his involvement with Benjamin Suarez.  When asked about comments his aides made suggesting his testimony would be “damaging” to the defense had he been called to the stand, Mandel said, “I’m not going to comment on something that never happened.”  [Source: Northeast Ohio Media Group (8/25/2014), “Josh Mandel talks about cleaning up after Kevin Boyce and connecting with the black community but remains tight-lipped on Ben Suarez: Q&A”]

Mandel ignored multiple public record requests for over a year to release resumes of staffers he hired upon taking office.  The Ohio Democratic Party sent nine record requests over 14-months requesting Mandel produce resumes of the people he hired.  [Source: Ohio Democratic Party Press Release (6/12/2012), “Ohio Democratic Party Files 9th Public Records Request For Treasurer’s Office Staff Resumes Following Josh Mandel’s 14-Month Refusal To Fully Disclose Them.”]

Mandel then again refused to produce the same records to another group requesting his staffers’ resumes.  After ignoring the requests for months, American Bridge reported that it, too, had received no records or even an acknowledgement of receipt of a record request from Mandel’s office for months.  Frustrated by Mandel’s lack of response, the group threaten to sue Mandel for failure to comply with Ohio’s public record laws.  [Source: American Bridge PAC Press Release (8/23/2012), “Josh Mandel Refusing to Comply with Ohio Open Records Law.”]

Yost Openly Campaigns on Protecting Kasich

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.”]

Despite Husted’s Efforts, Absentee Ballot Application Mailings Occur

Husted cheerleading disingenuous at best

COLUMBUS — Late yesterday, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted announced the mailing of absentee ballot applications to all registered Ohio voters. The first such statewide mailing took place in 2012 in response to a deal struck with local leaders in Cuyahoga County in 2011 following Husted’s directive barring local boards of elections from proactively mailing these applications.

In response to Husted’s announcement, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern released the following statement:

“The mailing of absentee ballot applications to registered Ohio voters is a good thing, and a practice popular in many counties before Jon Husted prevented them from doing so in 2011. Thankfully, he bowed to the concerns of local officials for the good of Ohio voters.  If Secretary Husted really wanted to make it easier to vote and reduce lines on Election Day, he would not have advocated for the elimination of the first week of early voting, and would have provided working Ohioans with evening early vote hours they can actually use.”


Husted’s repeated claim that he sends all Ohio voters an absentee ballot is misleading, at best.  While Husted mentions that he is mailing absentee ballots in the general election as his office agreed to do in 2011 in a settlement with local leaders he fails to mention that S.B. 205, will prevent the Secretary of State’s Office from doing so in the future unless the General Assembly specifically appropriates money to allow the Secretary to do so.  Also, Husted’s plan will not actually send an absentee ballot application to every registered voter.  Husted will not be sending these forms to anyone who registers to vote the first six days of October nor any voter who has been flagged as “inactive” because they have not yet responded to a postcard from their County Board of Elections seeking a confirmation of their residency and did not vote in the 2010 or 2012 general election.  [Source: Secretary of State Directive 2014-15.]

The legislature eliminated a week of early voting at Jon Husted’s urging.  The Republican legislature reduced early voting by a week by eliminating the “Golden Week” after receiving a public letter from Secretary of State Jon Husted urging them to do so.  [Source: Columbus Dispatch (10/25/2013), “Husted asks legislators to trim early voting.”]

Not satisfied with the early voting cuts made by the legislature, Husted then unilaterally issued a directive that reduced early voting hours by eliminating most evening and weekend hours.  On February 25, 2014, Jon Husted issued Directive 2014-06, (included in the ACLU’s lawsuit against Secretary of Husted), in which Husted unilaterally ended Sunday early voting the final two weeks before the election, and most evening and weekend early voting hours in Ohio. In a press release from his office, Husted said he decided to take unilateral action because the legislature “has neither . . . introduced nor adopted” these reduced early voting hours he had advocated.  [Source: Ohio Secretary Of State’s Office Press Release (2/25/2014).]

Yost Accepted Excessive Donation From Coal Executive

State Auditor Has Failed To Refund Illegal Donation

COLUMBUS –According to campaign finance data maintained by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, Wayne Boich of Miami Beach, Florida donated $11,543.70 to Yost’s campaign in November 2011 and another $12,155.52 in December 2013.  None of Yost’s campaign finance reports have shown a refund for excess donations from Yost’s campaign.  Boich is Chairman and CEO of the Boich Companies, a privately held coal mining and marketing company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

In response to Yost’s alleged excessive donation, Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern issued the following statement:

“After taking a substantial amount of money from out-of-state employees of Murray Energy, Yost appears to have taken an illegally excessive donation from another out-of-state coal executive.  How can Ohioans trust Dave Yost to protect their tax dollars when he apparently cannot even check his own campaign finance reports to ensure they comply with Ohio campaign finance laws?”

Former Kasich ODOT Employee Accused of Sexual Battery of a Minor

After surrendering law license pending discipline, Kasich appointed Spencer to ODOT’s Chief Legal Counsel’s Office

COLUMBUS –On Friday, Scott Spencer was arrested and charged with two felony counts of sexual battery after a Highbanks Metro Park ranger caught him with a bound-and gagged 14-year old girl at a park shelter.  Described by the Columbus Dispatch as appearing to have a bright future in the Ohio Republican Party in the 1980s and 1990s, Spencer served as a press liaison for the Ohio House Republican Caucus and an aide to former Republican State Senator Donald “Buz” Lukens in the 1980s.  [Source: Columbus Dispatch (8/19/2014), “Man accused of sex with teen at park lost ODOT job over porn websites.”]

In 2003, Spencer surrendered his law license while facing disciplinary actions from the Ohio Supreme Court after he was alleged to have falsified documents for a client in a lawsuit after already having his license suspended for fabricating documents in another suits.  Despite this history, the Kasich Administration hired Spencer in 2012 to work in ODOT’s chief legal counsel’s office as a program administrator charged with ensuring the agency complied with public record and equal opportunity rules.  [Source: Columbus Dispatch (8/19/2014), “Man accused of sex with teen at park lost ODOT job over porn websites.”]

By November 2012, the same year he was hired, Spencer received a written reprimand for leaving “unwelcomed” messages on a female co-worker’s voicemail after he had been “previously counseled regarding unwelcome actions in relation to other female employees.”  However, Spencer was only fired when a search of his work computer revealed he was visiting bondage fetish websites.

In response to Mr. Spencer’s arrest and history with ODOT, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern issued the following statement:

“Despite Spencer’s history of forging and falsifying documents, John Kasich gave this sexual predator a job in ODOT’s legal counsel’s office, put him in charge of public records and of all things, equal opportunity standards. Almost immediately, Spencer began sexually harassing women in the office. This guy was a sexual predator and it is simply terrifying that he worked in a chief legal office for the Kasich administration.”

Ohio Drops to 40th in Job Growth under Kasich

COLUMBUS – Today, the Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business updated its nonpartisan job growth rate given Friday’s release of the July jobs report for Ohio.

In response to today’s Arizona State University job creation ranking update, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern issued the following statement:

“Since John Kasich was elected, Ohio’s job creation has plummeted.  John Kasich campaigned for governor on the promise that Ohio would lead the country. Ohio’s economy is weak and Governor Kasich has failed.”


Nationally, the country now has more jobs than it did at its pre-recession level.  With today’s national jobs report for May, the country now has more jobs than it did before the 2008 recession.  [Source: New York Times (6/6/2014), “In Jobs Report, Two Milestones.”]

Ohio still has over 149,300 jobs to regain to return to its pre-recession levels—the fifth highest deficit in the nation.  Ohio has 149,300 jobs left to regain before returning to its pre-recession number of jobs it had in June 2007.  Alaska, Colorado, D.C., Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah all have regained all the jobs lost recession roughly a year ago, yet Ohio has the fifth largest amount of jobs left to regain to reach its pre-recession numbers.   Neighboring West Virginia reached its pre-recession jobs number back in February.  [Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics, seasonally adjusted (accessed 8/18/2014.)]

When Kasich was elected Governor, Ohio’s job creation rate was nearly twice that of the national rate.  Now, Ohio’s ranked 40th in job creation.  In November 2010, Ohio’s job creation rate was 1.02% compared to the national average of  .54%.   In July 2010, Ohio was ranked 21st in job creation.  Now, Ohio is ranked 40th in the nation with a job growth rate  (.83%) lower than it was in 2010. [Source: Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business, “Job Growth USA” website (accessed 8/18/2014)]

For the 21st straight month, Ohio’s job creation rate has been lower than the national average.  In reaction to the July jobs report, economic research analyst George Zeller noted, “July 2014 was the 21st consecutive month when Ohio’s job growth was slower than the U.S. national average, with the gap between Ohio’s rate and the U.S. rate increasing in July.” [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (8/15/2014), “Ohio lost 12,400 jobs in July: Unemployment rate up to 5.7%.”]

In 2010, Ohio created over 55,000 new jobs — more than it did in 2013 under Kasich.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio created 55,100 jobs in 2010, a year before Kasich took office, while only creating 50,400 jobs last year.  [Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, CES Survey, seasonally adjusted (accessed 5/8/2014)].

When adjusted for inflation, Ohio incomes fell the last three quarters of 2013.  According to a U.S. Department of Labor report, the “average wage fell by more than one percentage point” in the fourth quarter of 2013 after falling the second and third quarter.  [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (6/19/2014), “Wages flat in Ohio, decline locally; state job growth below national average, Labor Department says.”] 

Unemployment rate drop has been fueled by people leaving the workforce, not job creation.  Since Kasich took office, Ohioans labor market has shrunk by 91,000.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statics, 91,000 Ohioans have dropped out of the labor market since Kasich took office. In 2014 so far alone, over 43,000 Ohioans dropped out of the labor market. [Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, LAUS Survey, seasonally adjusted (accessed 8/15/2014)]

Economist: “A declining labor force doesn’t have anything to do with a healing economy.”  Mekael Teshome, an economist for PNC Bank noted that recent drops in the unemployment rate “wasn’t entirely for the right reasons” noting that “[a] declining labor force doesn’t have anything to do with a healing economy.” [Source: Youngstown Vindicator (4/23/2014), “Economists cast doubt on unemployment figures.”]

Ohio’s economy grew less in 2013 than it did in 2010.  According to the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis, Ohio’s GDP grew 2.5% in 2010 compared to the initial projected 1.8% in 2013.  [Source:  U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis, Press Release (6/11/2014).]

Last year, thirty other States had stronger personal income growth than Ohio.  According to the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis, Ohio ranked 31st in the nation, trailing the national average, in personal income growth.  Ohio also ranked 30th in the nation in per capita personal income.  [U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis, Press Release (3/25/2014).]

ConAgra Foods announces its closing two plants, laying off 170 employees.  This morning, ConAgra Foods announced that it would close two Ohio plants in a cost-saving operations consolidation move.  In 2012, 25 positions were eliminated at the ConAgra plant in Marion, resulting in a reduction of shifts.  [Source:  Marion Star (6/6/2014), “ConAgra Foods closing plants.”]

Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus Demands Independent Investigation of Sexual Harassment in Attorney General’s Office

COLUMBUS – Today, the Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus launched a petition demanding that an independent investigator be allowed to review Attorney General Mike DeWine’s handling of a sexual harassment complaint in his office.

Last year, a former intern made allegations that she was sexually harassed by a senior male staffer and close personal friend of Mike DeWine.  During the course of the investigation, a whistleblower approached the office’s EEO investigator and was promised confidentiality.  DeWine demanded to be interviewed by the investigator and forced her to turn over the informant’s name. The investigation was closed three days later without identifying the harasser.

Subsequently, DeWine’s senior staff referred the EEO investigator to the Franklin County Prosecutor for potential felony charges. No charges were pursued, and the investigator ultimately was never even disciplined internally.

Kathy DiCristofaro, Chair of the Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus, made the following statement:

“Mike DeWine’s explanations for why he interfered in this investigation and demanded a confidential informant’s name don’t add up. Now, we’ve found that DeWine’s senior staff tried to retaliate against his office’s own investigator. Ohioans deserve a thorough and independent investigation how DeWine and his staff handled these sexual harassment allegations.”

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