ICYMI: “Ethics Red Flags” Go Up as Frank LaRose’s “Ability to Do that Job Impartially Has Been Called into Question” [Ohio Capital Journal]
September 15, 2023
LaRose’s Decision to Move the Secretary of State Office to His Campaign HQ Wastes Thousands in Taxpayer Dollars
Columbus, OH – In case you missed it, new reporting from the Ohio Capital Journal raises a number of questions surrounding Frank LaRose’s decision to move the Ohio Secretary of State office to the same building as his current campaign HQ. This move is the latest scandal that makes clear LaRose is looking out for his own political ambitions at the expense of Ohio taxpayers.
Delaney Marsco, senior legal counsel for ethics at the Campaign Legal Center: “That’s where my ethics red flags would go up… There’s a real concern about co-mingling the official business that he’s supposed to be doing on behalf of all people of Ohio and then the work that he’s doing as a candidate for Senate.”
Ohio Capital Journal: “Meanwhile, housing the office that runs Ohio elections in the same building where part of LaRose’s campaign operation is located begs some serious questions about whether state election administrators will appear impartial in the heat of a contested primary.”
“Frank LaRose’s latest scandal is growing and Ohio taxpayers are paying the bill for his scheme to move the Secretary of State office to the same building as his campaign,” said ODP Spokesperson Reeves Oyster. “Ohioans aren’t buying LaRose’s excuses or his phony math as it becomes clearer every day that LaRose will do whatever it takes to advance his political career, regardless of how much it hurts – or costs – Ohioans.”
Read / Watch More:
Ohio Capital Journal: Ohio Sec. of State LaRose’s office move amid U.S. Senate candidacy raises ethical questions
September 15, 2023
- Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has decided it’s a good idea to both oversee Ohio’s U.S. Senate election as the state’s chief elections officer and house part of his campaign for the seat in the same building. But the arrangement, which LaRose has done little to explain, raises serious questions about potential conflicts of interest and other ethical problems, an expert said last week.
- As secretary of state, LaRose is Ohio’s top elections administrator. His ability to do that job impartially has been called into question for several reasons.
- And this week, LaRose made another justification that strains credulity. He claimed the move would save taxpayer dollars, WCMH reported. The new lease is reportedly $11,000 a year less than the existing one, but the move is expected to cost $600,000. Given those numbers, the move won’t pay for itself until 2077.
- Meanwhile, housing the office that runs Ohio elections in the same building where part of LaRose’s campaign operation is located begs some serious questions about whether state election administrators will appear impartial in the heat of a contested primary.
- Delaney Marsco is senior legal counsel for ethics at the Campaign Legal Center. She said LaRose should already be watching his step as he simultaneously serves as the state’s top elections officer and runs for Senate. “The idea of him running for Senate at the same time he is secretary of state should make him a little bit cautious about how he uses his time, how he uses his staff time,” she said, adding that the situation becomes more delicate because LaRose is moving his state office to a building that houses aspects of his campaign. “That’s where my ethics red flags would go up… There’s a real concern about co-mingling the official business that he’s supposed to be doing on behalf of all people of Ohio and then the work that he’s doing as a candidate for Senate.”
- Last month, after the failure of LaRose’s attempt to make voter-initiated constitutional amendments almost impossible, the Libertarian Party of Ohio filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. It accused him of violating the Hatch Act, the law prohibiting the use of federal resources for political activities.
- Meanwhile, answers about the validity of the reasons LaRose gave for the move are hard to come by.
- Such questions could have been avoided if LaRose had chosen to locate elsewhere, said Marsco, the ethics counsel with the Campaign Legal Center. “Listen, I went to law school in Columbus, I’m from Northern Ohio,” she said. “There’s really no shortage of office space in the city.”
WTVN: “Democrats questioning a move today by Ohio Secretary of State. Frank LaRose is relocating his state office into the same building that houses his campaign. LaRose is running for Senate in Ohio and says this move will save $11,000 a year in rent but the cost of relocating his office is $600,000 up front so it would take over 50 years to recover that money.”
WCMH: “[LaRose’s] staffers say they considered three other buildings. NBC4 asked why none of those were chosen, but we have not heard back.”
WCMH: Secretary of state moves offices for the first time in nearly two decades
September 7, 2023
- The secretary of state is moving offices for the first time in nearly two decades – at least. A spokesperson for the secretary of state said the search for a new building was prompted because their current lease is ending.
- Right now, the office is on 180 E. Broad Street, but they are making a move to a new building on Civic Center Drive. It is the same address that Secretary of State Frank Larose (R-Ohio) lists for his U.S. Senate campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission.
- The move to the new building will cost $400,000 up front, in taxpayer dollars, to “to prepare and ready the space for the Office of the Secretary of State.” Plus, an additional $200,000 over the next two years for that same purpose.