Is Something Rotten In The County Of Summit?

Ten Questions for the Ohio GOP, the Summit County Republican Party and Larry Householder

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Republican Party got caught with their hands in the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow cookie jar last week and announced they would return $76,000 in campaign contributions from ECOT founder William Lager and one of his employees — but questions remain about why the GOP reversed course so quickly.

Bill Lager has given more than $1 million to Ohio Republican politicians since 2010, and the Ohio Republican Party is hanging on to an earlier $10,000 contribution from Altair staffer Melissa Vasil, so it begs the question — what was different about the two $38,000 checks from Lager and Vasil they say they’re giving back?” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “Why did the Ohio Republican Party decide to donate $70,000 to the Summit County Republican Party? And why did the Summit County Republican Party decide to donate $70,000 to Friends of Larry Householder?

“The fact that Householder and the Ohio GOP have now decided to give back these contributions certainly contributes to the atmosphere of smoke — but does somebody know about a fire? What does the Ohio Republican Party leadership team know about those contributions and when did they know it? Is there something rotten in the Summit County Republican Party?”

This weekend the Akron Beacon Journal editorial board asked whether these shenanigans were “an attempt at political money-laundering.”

Here are 10 questions for the Ohio Republican Party, the Summit County Republican Party and Larry Householder:

1. What was different about the Lager and Vasil contributions on June 26, 2017, that convinced Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken to decide to refund them, while keeping a $10,000 Vasil contribution from March 3, 2017?

2. Why did the Ohio Republican Party decide to donate $70,000 from its State Candidate Fund to the Summit County Republican Party — the largest single expenditure from the state fund and only contribution to a county party during the first half of 2017?

3. When asked about the state GOP’s decision to give $70,000 to the Summit County GOP, why did the state party’s spokesperson say there is “no rhyme or reason”?

4. Why did the Summit County Republican Party decide to donate $70,000 from its State Candidate Fund to Friends of Larry Householder — the largest single expenditure from the state fund on its semi-annual report?

5. Since Householder’s legislative district covers Coshocton and Perry counties and part of Licking County, why did the Summit County GOP take such an interest in Householder’s campaign? As Householder’s spokesperson said, the Summit County Republican Party chairman was one of “the first… to really express interest in supporting the campaign” — why?

6. Why did the Summit County GOP chairman personally contribute $10,000 to Householder?

7. When asked about the possibility that Householder was funneling excess campaign contributions through the state party and county parties back into his account, why did Householder’s spokesperson say, “that’s something you’ll have to talk to the state party about”?

8. How do the Ohio Republican Party, Summit County GOP and Householder respond to the Akron Beacon Journal’s question as to whether their actions represent “an attempt at political money-laundering”?

9. Who are these “people who should know better,” according to state Rep. Ryan Smith? What should they know?

10. What does the Ohio Republican Party leadership team know about those contributions and when did they know it?

###