JobsOhio employees can lobby JobsOhio legally while they work (and be lobbied secretly.)

Section 187.03(B)(2) of the bill explicitly states that the Governor’s ethics reporting requirements do not change, but the rest of JobsOhio’s directors, executives, and staff have different requirements.  The bill specifically states that they do not need to report:

  • Income in the ranges specified as required to otherwise be filed with the Ohio Ethics Commission (R.C. 102.02(A)(2));
  • Gifts worth $75 or more paid by someone lobbying the agency (R.C. 102.02(A)(7));
  • Any free food, beverage, or travel paid for by someone other than the agency or the individual… such as someone lobbying the agency (R.C. 102.02(A)(8-9);
  • Instead, they only need to report income or gifts over $500 (R.C. 102.022.)
  • But it gets better.  Remember how I said that the bill would exempt JobsOhio from Ohio’s “revolving door” lobbying ethics statute?  Yeah, the directors of JobsOhio and its employee aren’t subject to that statute.  That not only means that they can lobby the rest of JobsOhio immediate after they leave instead of waiting for a year under Ohio’s “revolving door” statute, but they can lobby JobsOhio while they’re employed as a director or employee.  (See, R.C. 102.03(A)(1) which Sec. 187.03(A)(4-5) exempts JobsOhio’s employees and directors from having to comply.

    Now, if that person is a director, they have to disclose that relationship to the rest of the Board who may consider the matter without their vote.  Other than that, they just need to disclose the relationship to the Board.

    The only revolving door ban JobsOhio creates is  a prohibition on “any director of JobsOhio from soliciting or accepting any employment with any person that receives or has received an incentive or other assistance as a result of a decision the director participated in as a director of Jobs Ohio.” (Sec. 187.06(E))

    All other executives and employees have no bar on lobbying JobsOhio during or after their employment, or seeking work from potential applicants while their applications are pending.  Oh, and if you’re an employee of the Development Department and become an employee of JobsOhio, you can immediately become a lobbyist to your ex-colleagues at the Ohio Department of Development.  They, too, are exempted from the revolving door ban.

    And remember, since it’s a private corporation, efforts to curry favor isn’t “lobbying.”  So we, the public, have no right to expect that such folks register with the Ohio Ethics Commission or report their lobbying activities.

    But here’s the BEST PART OF THE ENTIRE BILL:

    The bill also exempts the directors, officers and employees of JobsOhio from the definition of “public official” in R.C. 2929.01 through R.C. 2929.45.

    What are those statutes about?  Oh, nothing, just the crimes of:

    • Bribery
    • Intimidation
    • Retaliation
    • Perjury
    • Disclosure of confidential information
    • Obstructing official business
    • Theft in office
    • Having an unlawful interest in a public contract
    • Soliciting or accepting improper compensation
    • Dereliction of duty
    • Interfering with civil rights

    Yep, if you work at JobsOhio, you can’t be criminally charged for any of these crimes, even though you could have been prosecuted for them if you committed them at the Ohio Department of Development.

    Which, of course, begs the question: if John Kasich thinks that JobsOhio is such a smart and safe thing to do…

    Why does the Administration want specific statutory language exempting JobsOhio from our laws against bribery?!?

    The bill makes a relatively token appropriation of $1 million for JobsOhio.  That appropriation is then used to argue, under the bill, that the legislation creating JobsOhio is therefore exempt from Ohio’s constitutionally provided right to the citizens to subject any act of the legislature to a repeal by referendum.

    On top of that, the bill also contains a specific provision that mandates that any legal challenge to the constitutionality of this bill may only be heard in the Republican dominated Ohio Supreme Court.

    • Delco

      Excellent bill analysis, Modern. And very_chilling.

    • Ummmmm… maybe I’m a little rusty at 1912 English, but I don’t see in the provision of the Ohio Constitution where appropriating funds acts as shield from referendum. While they did make the language as stilted and confusing as possible, I just don’t see any sentences approximating “Where a bill appropriates monies, thou shalt not hold a referendum against same”.

    • Anonymous

      Let Ohio Vote demonstrated there is no such shield.

    • Anonymous

      Art. II, Sec. 1d of the Ohio Constitution states the following as exempt from referendum:
      “Laws providing for tax levies, appropriations for the current expenses of the state government and state institutions, and emergency laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, shall go into immediate effect. Such emergency laws upon a yea and nay vote must receive the vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each branch of the general assembly, and the reasons for such necessity shall be set forth in one section of the law, which section shall be passed only upon a yea and nay vote, upon a separate roll call thereon. The laws mentioned in this section shall not be subject to the referendum.”
      This is not an emergency law, but the bill does make an appropriation. In so doing, it is the aim to prevent the entire bill from being subject to referendum.

    • Anonymous

      That’s inaccurate. There is a shield but it’s not as broad and effective as proponents argued. The facts in L.O.V. were also a bit more complicated than that. However, my cursory (and I do mean cursory) review of the relevant caselaw has lead me to conclude that the Ohio Supreme Court (if true to their prior precedents) would hold that not all of HB 1 is immune from referendum.

      Now we just need an organization willing and able to do such a referendum effort.

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