This is Taft’s gift to Ohio in 2006 carrying on the great tradition of Rare Coin Dealer and Former Bowling Green University and Ohio Board of Regents Trustee Tom Noe.
My beef is not that Governor Taft is rewarding his contributors.
It’s an age-old tradition to reward your campaign contributors.
In a world where our state's economy is booming because of strong synergy between the business and academic worlds, where every Ohioan can afford to pursue as much education as his or her god-given talents allow, where University budgets reflect the fiscal discipline of successful institutions it wouldn't be a big deal that seats on University Boards continue to be for sale in exchange for campaign contributions.
But that is not Ohio in 2006. Tuition has soared as the state subsidy to higher education has diminished. Our Universities have not begun to realize the opportunity for job creation from partnerships with local business communities and we have too many University Presidents earning more that $200,000 per year.
And the politically appointed boards of trustees, have stood silent as the leaders of our state have allowed tuition to increase 50 percent in the last five years by reducing the state's support of higher education.
Here's a crazy idea.
Appoint Trustees whose loyalty is to access to higher education, or at least to the school they are responsible for directing.
Appoint trustees whose passion is leveraging our higher education assets to improve our state's economy.
Or, appoint trustees who have the guts to stand up to overpaid university presidents and bureaucrats.
Or better yet, appoint trustees who have the guts to come down to Columbus to lobby the Governor to increase budget dollars and reduce tuition while improving the quality of education to Ohioans who want to prepare themselves for the 21st century economy.
That hasn't been happening. With a new way of doing business in Columbus is would happen and the State would be better off.
Reacting swiftly to threats made by Jim Petro, Bob Bennett, and other Republicans, (see the Cleveland Plain Dealer story) State Senator and Ohio Attorney General candidate Marc Dann today established the “Truth Seeker” Fund to support Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim Hagan’s lawsuit that seeks to end the Ohio GOP’s corrupt pay-to-play system.
Joined by other Democratic statewide candidates and officeholders at a press conference at Ohio Democratic Party Headquarters in Columbus, Dann said it is critically important for the suit to move forward. “More than anything else in the world, Jim Petro, Bob Bennett, Betty Montgomery, Ken Blackwell, and Brian Hicks fear having to testify under oath about the inner-workings of their corrupt pay-to-play system,” Senator Dann stated. “That is why we have to do all we can to support Commissioner Hagan’s efforts to compel them to do just that”
Senator Dann, whose suit to compel the governor to release documents related to the Coingate scandal and to allow current and former aides to submit to depositions under oath is pending before the Ohio Supreme Court, said cases like his and Mr. Hagan’s were the one avenue available to Democrats who are seeking the truth about the connection between the Republican power structure, their big-time campaign contributors, and the millions of dollars in no-bid contracts and special interest legislation those contributions have been buying for more than a decade.
“Because the Republicans who benefit from this corrupt system have repeatedly refused to empower a legislative committee to investigate these abuses, we’ve been forced to turn to the courts to seek the truth,” Senator Dann said. “Now, because they fear what will happen when the truth finally does come out, GOP leaders are attempting to subvert the judicial system by using threats and intimidation. We cannot allow that to happen, and that is why we must do all we can to ensure that Tim’s case moves forward.”
Senator Dann asked that information about the fund be posted on all Democratic websites in the state including those maintained by candidates, the state and local parties, and current officeholders.
To contribute to the Truth Seeker Fund please make checks payable and mail to: The Truth Seeker Fund, 545 East Town Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. Proceeds will be used solely to support Commissioner Hagan’s lawsuit and to pay the small administrative costs associated with establishing the fund. Contributions to the Truth Seeker Fund are not tax deductible.
The Plain Dealer agrees with us: It's time to take responsible steps to end pay to play since the people who should do it won't becuase they are making way too much money milking the corrupt system.
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
How many times $1,000?
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Because of the immense amount of unbid "special counsel" work that the Ohio at torney general's office ladles out, law firms find it in their self-interest to cozy up to whoever happens to occupy the office.
In competitive and politically charged environments, few things say, "We really like you - and want a slice of special counsel work," better than a campaign donation.
A succession of attorneys general (and secretaries of state) has long insisted there is no correlation between checks taken in and legal work parceled out. We're not so sure.
There is, however, an easy way to allay any such suspicions - a minor change in campaign finance that would go a long way toward clearing up the matter once and for all.
Currently, Ohio election law places a $1,000 cap on the contributions that an individual in a law firm can donate within a 24-month period and still remain eligible for unbid state work. Attorney General Jim Petro's reading of the law is literal. He believes the caps were designed for individuals - not entire firms.
Therefore, if 30 lawyers in the same firm want to give him $1,000 each, for a total of $30,000, that firm remains eligible for unbid work.
But other strict constructionists contest that interpretation. They say the intent of the law was to limit any entity that receives unbid state work from giving more than &36;1,000 over the course of two years.
The Ohio Elections Commission says it is considering issuing an advisory opinion - a measure that could shed some useful light. Just as useful, however, would be a legislative rewrite of the law to make it clear that firms that receive unbid work are tightly restricted on what they, or the sum of their employees, can give.
- Both sides in the debate over construction and demolition debris
landfills agree there is an issue of fairness involved when it comes to
exempting certain facilities from proposed rules limiting where they
can be located.
The question is fair to whom, the owners or the public? Or as Sen.
Marc Dann, D-Liberty, put it, the special interests or the public
The issue was one of several debated at a meeting Tuesday of about 40
people with some interest in a bill that would stiffen regulations on
the C&DD landfills. They included industry representatives,
lawmakers, citizens, local officials, regulators and an environmental
In a Nov. 18 letter to Hagan's lawyer, [regarding Hagan's lawsuite] Ken Seminatore, Ohio's Senior Deputy Attorney General Arthur Marziale warned that the state "will seek sanctions, including attorney fees and costs." He called the case "frivolous, unsupported and libelous."
The lawsuit, filed in August 2004, contends that Gov. Bob Taft, Attorney General Jim Petro and other Republican officeholders awarded billions of dollars in unbid contracts to vendors who artificially inflated their prices to cover contributions they kicked back to GOP political funds.
The 41-page filing alleges -- among other things -- that GOP county committees laundered contributions from lawyers who received unbid special-counsel contracts to candidates for attorney general. The practice allowed the lawyers to indirectly give more than the maximum $1,000 allowed and still remain eligible for state legal work, according to the lawsuit.
Instead of rounding up the "bad apples" like GOP Chair Bill Bennett promised, Petro has taken to pushing back to maintain the corrupt system that has benefitted himself and other Republican office holders at the expense of Ohio's working families. It makes the previous CFC post seem that much more realistic doesn't it?.
Contact Tim Hagan and tell him to stand tall. Tell him we've got his back.
Tim Hagan: CNTFH-at-cuyahogacounty.us (replace "-at-" with @)
Petro's ethical issues will kill him in the general. He's going to get lambasted with not enforcing Noe and with his special counsel appointments. The Dems would love to be up against him. One firm alone is alleged to be getting over 7 million a year - and the firm no surprise is also rumored to have committed to raise Petro $1 Million towards the '06 primary.
The operative word is "alleged." But it still doesn't matter whether this is true or not. Just the fact that there's a rumor being spread within GOP circles helps to confirm the climate corruotion that pervades the state GOP and the offices they hold.
Today's Toledo Blade carries new Zogby poll numbers. Taft's favorablilty at 6.5%. Here's why: Jim Samuels, the guy who forgot to tell Taft about the state's investment in rare coins and the billion dollars of lost opportunity is chomping at the bit to become the states newest pay to play lobbiest.
Columbus-- When Betty Montgomery was attorney general, a
lawyer said he and his law partners donated to
Ohio campaigns because of her
high standards -- not because she awarded the firm millions of dollars in state
"My expectation is she's going to be somebody who I'm going to align
myself with in the future," William Earley, managing partner of the
Diego firm, told The Plain Dealer two years ago.
"There aren't that many politicians like Betty who have the quality and
standards she has."
Apparently, there is at least one more.
Luce, Forward, Hamilton and Scripps have donated $30,000 to Attorney General
Jim Petro, who is running against Montgomery and two others to become next
year's Republican nominee for governor. Since Petro became attorney general in
2003, he has awarded the
firm $3.2 million in state legal business.
Petro, Montgomery and Earley all have insisted that there is no correlation
between law firms that give and those that receive.
Still, Earley's firm finds itself at the center of a burning legal question:
Just how much can outside lawyers give to an attorney general and still be
eligible for lucrative, unbid legal contracts, known as "special
Columbus attorney Rick Brunner
posed the question to the Ohio Elections Commission on Tuesday when he asked
the panel for an advisory opinion.
On its face,
Ohio's law seems
simple. It states that a firm cannot receive an unbid state contract for more
than $500 if an individual from the firm or a spouse, partner, shareholder,
administrator, executor or trustee has contributed more than $1,000 over two
years to the person awarding the contract.
Brunner's reading of the law: Outside lawyers such as those employed by
Luce, Forward cannot give Petro more than $1,000 over two years and still serve
as special counsel.
A spokesman for Attorney General Petro disagreed.
The law says no "individual" can give more than $1,000, Petro
spokesman Mark Anthony said. It does not say no "law firm," and
therefore individual members of the firm can each give $1,000, he said.
"All contributions to the Petro campaign are legal and fully
reported," Anthony said. "Since 1974, attorneys general and
secretaries of state have said the $1,000 [limit] applies to individuals."
When Democrat Anthony Celebrezze Jr. was attorney general from 1993 to 1991,
he agreed with Brunner's reading of the law, said Mike O'Grady, who supervised
the claims section for the office.
"The law is real simple," O'Grady said. "You and your spouse
can't give more than $1,000."
Phil Richter, executive director of the Elections Commission, said the panel
is not required to issue an advisory opinion but probably will.
He said he has not yet read Brunner's filing but did note that the
lawyer and his wife, Jennifer, are considered among
election law experts.
Jennifer Bruner is seeking the Democratic Party's nomination for secretary
People across Ohio are emptying their drawers and pockets to support our effort to bring permanent change to Ohio. Please join our effort by gathering and counting your loose change and send that amount by credit card through this link to Marc Dann for State Senate.
They used our money to buy rare coins. Let's use our coins to take back our state.
Thank you for joining our fight to improve the lives of the hardworking families of Ohio.
Marc Dann for Senate, 4531 Belmont Ave., Suite C. Liberty, Ohio 44505 (330) 759-4155 or toll-free (866) 431-DANN.
Paid for by Marc Dann for Senate, Bruce Lev, Treasurer.