Columbus, OH — In case you missed it, the Columbus Dispatch today detailed newly-released documents tying yet another major corruption scandal directly to Ohio Republicans. Campaign finance records detailed in the report show that high-level officials connected to the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) made donations to Republican officials who were in a position to help the charter school, which defrauded taxpayers by lying about enrollment numbers and has since failed to pay back the taxpayer money it owes the state.
Ohio Republicans, including Mike DeWine, Jon Husted, Frank LaRose, Dave Yost, Keith Faber and Josh Mandel, all took massive donations from ECOT founder Bill Lager.
“All of the contributions went to Republican party accounts and nearly all of the candidates backed by ECOT were Republicans. And roughly $1.4 million of the candidate contributions went to legislative candidates. Lager and his associates ramped up political giving over the years and strategically donated to politicos who were positioned to help or hurt the online school,” reports Laura Bischoff for the Columbus Dispatch.
The latest ECOT revelations come as we continue to find out more information about the GOP-led public corruption scandal, the largest in state history, in which high-level Republicans took multi-million dollar bribes to raise the cost of energy bills for hardworking Ohioans.
“Every day, we seem to get more and more information about another major ongoing scandal connected to Ohio Republicans. It’s clear these politicians are only looking out for themselves and can’t be trusted. After decades of Republican rule that has seen historic corruption and grift, Ohioans deserve leadership that’s looking out for working families, not special interest donors in Columbus,” said Matt Keyes, spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party.
Read more from the Columbus Dispatch HERE and below:
There were days when Bill Lager wrote check after check to political parties and candidate campaigns, sending tens of thousands of dollars out as he built the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow into the Ohio’s largest online charter school.
Campaign finance records turned over in response to a federal grand jury subpoena issued in February 2019 show that Lager and his associates contributed $1.66 million to candidate committees and another $300,000 to political parties from 2000 to 2019.
Lager and his associates ramped up political giving over the years and strategically donated to politicos who were positioned to help or hurt the online school. Recipients included legislative leaders and committee chairs, candidates for governor and state auditor, supreme court justices and state school board candidates.
The donations hit a crescendo in June 2017 when Lager and ECOT Director of Operations Melissa Vasil each contributed $12,000 to Republican Larry Householder’s campaign committee and each contributed $38,000 to the Ohio Republican Party – $100,000 donated in the span of four days.