ICYMI: Cleveland.com Editorial: Jon Husted should resign his seat on a private bank’s board of directors
June 24, 2022
For Immediate Release:
Friday, June 24, 2022
“That appointment is loaded with potential conflicts of interests.”
Columbus, OH — In case you missed it, the Cleveland.com Editorial Board called out Jon Husted for his blatant conflict of interest in taking a paid position on the board of Heartland Bank. The editorial demands Husted resign his side gig and focus on his elected duty to the people of Ohio. Aside from taking his six-figure taxpayer-funded salary, Husted is being compensated by the bank for his work on the board, but he won’t say how much they are paying him.
“Husted’s decision could open a floodgate for elected officials to use their seats of power to secure lucrative positions in the for-profit universe, raising immediate questions about whether they sought office to serve the public or to fill their pockets with cash.” writes the Cleveland.com Editorial Board.
Cleveland.com now joins the Toledo Blade in taking Husted to task over his decision to accept paid work while in office. The Blade previously called the decision a “pathetic judgment” and “tone deaf to the concerns of the people of Ohio.” The Ohio Democratic Party has also called on Husted to answer key questions about his move to take a paid corporate gig while in office.
“Jon Husted and Republicans aren’t even trying to hide it anymore: They’re just openly lining their own pockets from special interest buddies rather than doing the jobs they were elected to do. Ohio deserves transparency and accountability from leaders, something we are sure to keep losing if Mike DeWine and Jon Husted remain in office,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson Matt Keyes.
Read more on the calls for Husted to resign the bank post here and below:
- It is hard to understand how Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted does not see a problem with serving as a paid board member for a private Ohio bank that is regulated by and does business with the state of Ohio.
- You may recall that Heartland BancCorp, which does business as Heartland Bank, recently announced Husted’s appointment to the company’s board of directors. The post is a paid position, although neither the bank nor Husted disclosed his compensation.
- Husted was elected to the board in March after he and his wife invested in Heartland, but the banking company didn’t announce his appointment until May.
- That appointment is loaded with potential conflicts of interests.
- As lieutenant governor, he also heads state initiatives to promote workforce training and streamlining of regulations and tends to serve as a point person for Gov. Mike DeWine’s business and economic development-related initiatives. That includes having influence at JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development arm.
- Heartland Bank has several points of overlap with the state government.
- As a state-chartered bank, it is regulated by the state Department of Commerce. It is certified as a public depository, meaning it’s eligible to hold cash and other investments owned by the state government. Through a title company subsidiary called Transcounty Title Agency, Heartland participates in an electronic lien and titling program administered through the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which falls under the governor’s office. Transcounty received $813,100 in state grants, administered through the state Public Works Commission, from 2013 through 2015, according to the state.
- Effective government requires transparency and public confidence that those holding positions of public trust are acting free from undue outside influences. As such, the standard for officeholders should be to avoid any appearances of potential conflicts or impropriety.
- Husted’s decision could open a floodgate for elected officials to use their seats of power to secure lucrative positions in the for-profit universe, raising immediate questions about whether they sought office to serve the public or to fill their pockets with cash.
- It’s hard to accept that “trust me” is the proper guardrail for public confidence in state government. Husted should resign from this position immediately, and if he does not, voters should take note when they go to the polls in November.