ICYMI: U.S. Department of Justice Should Just Open Up an Ohio GOP Bureau at This Point
June 25, 2021
Cleveland, OH — In case you missed it, Laura Bischoff broke news today that the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice have opened another federal investigation into a major corruption scandal with close ties to Mike DeWine and high-level GOP politicians. The investigation is reportedly looking into donations made by high-ranking officials with the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT). Ohio Republicans, including DeWine, took massive donations from officials associated with the failed charter school as they filtered taxpayer dollars to ECOT, which lied about enrollment numbers and failed to pay back the taxpayer money it owed the state.
Now DOJ and the FBI are reportedly subpoenaing campaign contributions made by since 2000 by high-ranking ECOT officials, which is bad news for Mike DeWine, Jon Husted, Frank LaRose, Dave Yost, Keith Faber and Josh Mandel, all of whom took large donations from ECOT founder William Lager.
“ECOT-related campaign contributions became politically toxic. Lager had been a top contributor for Republican candidates and GOP organizations, giving about $2.1 million since 2000,” writes Bischoff.
“Under Mike DeWine and Republican leadership, Ohio already has the top public corruption scandal in the nation. Now, it seems the Ohio GOP is inching closer to the number two spot, as well. The connections between Mike DeWine and multiple federal scandals runs deep. He can’t continue to hide, dodge, dip and dive. He must be held accountable and answer to Ohio voters for his role in each of these corruption schemes,” said Matt Keyes, spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party.
Read more HERE and below from Bischoff and the Columbus Dispatch:
- The FBI and U.S. Department of Justice subpoenaed nearly 20 years of campaign contribution records for the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow — an indication that the now-closed online charter school and its key players have come under federal criminal investigation.
- The USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau obtained the grand jury subpoena in response to a public records request submitted to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
- ECOT-related campaign contributions became politically toxic. Lager had been a top contributor for Republican candidates and GOP organizations, giving about $2.1 million since 2000.
- In August 2017, the Ohio Republican Party returned $76,000 in campaign donations to Lager and Vasil. That refund came after former Ohio House speaker Larry Householder returned $70,000 to the Summit County Republican Party — the same amount the county party got two weeks earlier from the state GOP. Lager and Vasil each wrote $38,000 checks to the Ohio Republican Party’s state candidate fund June 26, 2017.
- In 2016, the Ohio Department of Education determined that ECOT had been overstating the number of students it served and the state demanded repayment of $80 million. That triggered a financial death spiral for the school, which abruptly shut its virtual doors in January 2018.