ICYMI: Ohio Taxpayers File Public Records Requests, Call on Frank LaRose for Answers About Costly Office Move
October 19, 2023
Will LaRose finally provide answers on his costly move?
Columbus, OH – Yesterday, Ohio taxpayers announced they’ve submitted three separate public records requests to state agencies, calling for answers on Frank LaRose’s costly decision to move the official Secretary of State office to his campaign HQ – costing Ohio taxpayers $600,000. Despite calls from Ohioans, media outlets, and lawmakers, LaRose has been dodging questions for weeks, leaving Ohioans in the dark about his wasteful spending of their tax dollars. As LaRose’s recent scandal grows, “serious questions” are being raised as more “ethical lines” are crossed.
Read more about Ohio taxpayers calling on LaRose for answers about his costly office move:
WSYX: Ohioans Submit Public Records Request to Get Answers on LaRose’s Decision to Move His Office
Ohio Capital Journal: Details behind LaRose move again demanded
October 19, 2023
- There was another call on Wednesday for Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose to provide documents explaining his decision to move his state offices into the same building as he registered his campaign for U.S. Senate.
- But he refused to answer last week when asked whether he was engaged in campaign activities in the same building the secretary of state’s offices are moving into — something he appears already to have done on at least one occasion.
- For LaRose to administer next year’s Senate election in the same building he campaigns out of would raise serious ethical questions, experts have said. For one, LaRose and his staff would be strongly tempted to use taxpayer resources meant to run a fair election to instead try to win that election, they said.
- Late last month, 13 Democratic lawmakers sent LaRose a letter demanding information about the move, which could be complete as early as next month.
- Then on Wednesday, the state Democratic Party organized a press conference in front of the offices the secretary of state has occupied for the past two decades. It featured three Ohioans who have submitted open-records requests to the state Department of Administrative Services — which handles state leases.
- “LaRose refuses to be transparent with us,” said Armando Telles, one of those speaking at Wednesday’s press conference.
- He, Kathryn Seewer and Alfred Navarro submitted identical open-records requests to the Department of Administrative Services asking for all communications between the secretary of state’s office and DAS about the move since the start of last year.
- “This is a conflict of interest at the expense of Ohioans,” Telles said.
Statehouse News Bureau: Ohio Secretary of State gets requests for records on his plans to relocate his office
October 18, 2023
- Three people have filed public records requests for information about Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s decision to move his office to a building that houses the law firm that filed paperwork for his U.S. Senate campaign.
- The Ohio Democratic Party brought together the three who are concerned about the move of the secretary of state’s office from its 4th Street location, where it’s been for nearly 20 years. LaRose has said relocating the office to a building a few blocks away will save taxpayer dollars — though there will be a $600,000 upfront cost to ready the new space and move into it.
- “I think Mr. LaRose is not being forthright about the intentions of the move, the timing of the move, let alone the exposures of the integrity of his office, coincidentally being the same building of his U.S. Senate office, and how that’s a conflict of interest as well as an unethical move at the time,” said Armando Telles, a Columbus strategist and activist who is one of those who filed the public records requests.
- “LaRose claims that the move will pay for itself. But in reality, taxpayers like me will be paying off LaRose’s latest scandal until 2077, when I’m going to be 75 years old,” said Katie Seewer, an Ohio State University student who also filed a public records request.
Dayton Daily News: Dems question Secretary of State office move amid LaRose Senate campaign
October 19, 2023
- Ohio Democrats publicly demanded answers from Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose on Wednesday regarding his recent decision to move the secretary’s office from its longstanding home to an office building connected to LaRose’s campaign for U.S. Senate.
- The move came under scrutiny in September when Columbus news channel NBC4 reported that the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office would move from 180 Broad St. in Columbus, where it’s been located for nearly 20 years, to 200 Civic Center Drive — an address that also appears on LaRose’s official federal filings for candidacy for U.S. Senate.
- Reeves Oyster, a spokesperson with the Ohio Democratic Party, said that the proximity of LaRose’s government office to a suite connected to his Senate campaign raises “serious ethics concerns,” and might intermix political campaigning with government duties.
- Videos posted to LaRose’s X account (formerly Twitter) shows that LaRose has participated in several interviews directly involving his Senate campaign in a high rise building overlooking Columbus’ Scioto Mile looking westward, a view that matches that of 200 Civic Center Dr.
- Cianciolo and Ben Kindel, spokesperson for LaRose’s Senate campaign, would not answer whether LaRose has officially campaigned from 200 Civic Center Dr. or from what suite those interviews might have come from.
- According to the secretary’s filings with the Ohio Controlling Board, it will cost the state an estimated $600,000 to adequately prepare the space at 200 Civic Center Drive for the move — $400,000 up front and $200,000 added over the course of the first year’s rent.
Ohio Capital Journal: Does Sec. of State LaRose have no Senate campaign HQ, or is it where he’s moving his state office?
October 17, 2023
- Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose last week flatly refused to answer questions about whether he’s campaigning for a seat in the U.S. Senate from the same building where he’s moving his state offices. If he is, it raises questions about whether the state’s top elections officer will be blurring his duty to run a fair election with his attempt to win one of the state’s most coveted offices in the same election.
- LaRose’s refusal to comment comes after he certainly appeared last month to do a campaign interview with provocateur Steve Bannon from the building at 200 Civic Center Drive. Perhaps tellingly, LaRose’s office didn’t answer questions before that story was published, nor did it dispute it after.
- Current and former employees of the secretary of state’s office earlier this month told The Columbus Dispatch that LaRose’s laser focus on the Senate campaign has already led to costly mistakes and high staff turnover.
- When asked last week to provide documentation of the first public announcement of the move, LaRose’s office didn’t respond.
- Among the questions LaRose’s office didn’t respond to last week was one asking why LaRose wanted to be exempted from competitive bidding to lease space in a building that also happens to house his campaign attorneys, BakerHostetler.
See also: Ohio Taxpayers Demand Answers from Frank LaRose after Spending $600,000 to Move Official Office to Campaign HQ; BOMBSHELL REPORT: “Turnover Plagues” Secretary of State’s Office As Frank LaRose Is “Laser-Focused” on Senate Campaign; NEW: Frank LaRose Caught Campaigning At Taxpayer Funded Office Amid Growing Scandal; Frank LaRose’s “Latest Political Controversy” Escalates, Ohioans Agree LaRose Misusing Taxpayer Funds; Frank LaRose Continues Dodging Questions From Ohioans, Media, and Lawmakers on Latest Scandal; Ohio Lawmakers Call On Frank LaRose To Answer for Latest Scandal Costing Ohioans; LaRose’s Math Not Adding Up as Taxpayers Cover Steep Cost to Move Secretary of State Office to His Campaign HQ; As Scandal Grows, LaRose’s “Answers” Just Raise More Questions About Steep Cost to Move Secretary of State Office to His Campaign HQ; A New Scandal For Frank LaRose: Taxpayers Foot Steep Bill to Move Secretary of State Office to Campaign HQ