For-Profit Charter School Operators Prop Up Ohio Republican Party

Will Republican Candidates That Oversee Charters Call on Ohio GOP to Return Contributions?


Please see below for our updated statement from Chairman David Pepper on the Ohio Republican Party’s statement today:

“Respectfully — the Ohio Republican Party needs to stop worrying about what’s good for them and start caring about what’s best for Ohio’s kids and the taxpayers of this state. The Ohio GOP took big-dollar donations from people associated with the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, despite the fact the e-charter still hasn’t repaid the people of Ohio the $60 million we’re owed. They gave the contributions back only after they were called out.

“Now that the Ohio Republican Party has seen the light, it’s time for Dave Yost and Mike DeWine to do the same and refund any contributions they’ve taken from ECOT-affiliated individuals or entities. It shouldn’t take a reporter asking questions for Ohio Republicans to do the right thing, but it appears Yost and DeWine care about Ohioans even less than the Ohio GOP does.”

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Republican Party is taking big dollars from for-profit charter school operators — $86,000 from Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow donors and $37,597 from the founder of charter operator White Hat Management in 2017 so far — and that’s a big problem for Attorney General Mike DeWine and Auditor Dave Yost.

“Dave Yost is supposed to be investigating the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow and cracking down on improprieties by charter school operators, while Mike DeWine is supposed to ensure the state gets paid back when charters defraud the taxpayers,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “Both Yost and DeWine have taken contributions from ECOT-linked donors, and the Ohio Republican Party is still taking max-out checks from ECOT founder Bill Lager and his top deputy.

“DeWine and Yost can’t claim impartiality if their campaigns don’t return the contributions they’ve taken from ECOT. In addition, we’re calling on DeWine and Yost to demand that the Ohio Republican Party, which is still benefiting from Lager’s largesse, give back those donations.”

The Ohio Republican Party’s State Candidate Fund received the following contributions in the latest reporting period:

  • $38,000 — William Lager

  • $38,000 — Melissa Vasil

  • $37,597 — David Brennan

The Ohio Republican Party’s State Account also received $10,000 from Vasil.

The June 26 contributions came just three days after reporters questioned Yost about ECOT’s use of taxpayer dollars to fund television commercials to lobby the General Assembly.