Today’s Dispatch article about Mark Kvamme adds a new piece to the puzzle that suggests there is something highly unusual about his interest in JobsOhio and Ohio in general, especially for a guy committed to return to his California-based venture capital firm by the end of this summer.
We know that Kvamme first worked on Kasich’s ‘00 Presidential campaign as a “Senior Internet Strategist.” We know that for years John Kasich was able to keep his oldest and closest congressional aides paid by keeping them on the payroll of his federal PAC, New Century, which did little but… keep Kasich’s ex-staffers paid. We also know that over the years Kvamme and his wife donated $25,000 to New Century PAC.
I. Kvamme and his wife engineer tens of thousands of donations for John Kasich out of California.
During the gubernatorial campaign, we know that Kvamme and his wife donated $44,790 to the Kasich-Taylor campaign (which, I believe is a maxed out donation.) We know that employees at Kvamme’s firm donated tens of thousands in campaign donations as well.
II. Kvamme has a great idea: Jobs Ohio!
Today’s Dispatch is the first published report I can recall in which the genesis of the concept of JobsOhio was laid at Kvamme’s feet:
The 50-year-old Kvamme, who said he and a few others came up with JobsOhio, acknowledged he initially feared for his life when his face collided with his motorbike in a crash on April 9 at Briarcliff MX in Nashport.
So the first piece of major legislation pushed by the Kasich Administration (HB 1), the “JobsOhio” bill, just happens to be the brainchild of one of Kasich’s longest and biggest political donors.
III. Kvamme gets a job in Kasich’s Administration: Implement his brainchild.
When Kvamme was announced as Kasich’s Development Director (before he had to be removed because he was constitutionally ineligible to serve in the Governor’s Cabinet), the Kasich Administration presents the appointment as coup, like it was a cold call effort. In reality, Kvamme, the major campaign donor is willing to take the $1 salary because the “job” he’s taking on, but for only six months, is to implement his own policy proposal.
This is like making for-profit charter school executive David Brennan the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Ohio. Suddenly, Kvamme’s “benevolence” looks a little differently when you realize his job is all about him enacting his only policy preference on Ohioans.
IV. Kvamme continues a relationship with his California venture capital firm.
Nobody has seem to press hard or get an answer to the question as to why Mark Kvamme only committed to working within the Kasich Administration for only six months. I mean, why would a California venture capitalist intentionally only commit to working in Ohio’s new economic development entity while still wanting to keep a foot in the door at his California venture capital firm? After all, what would a venture capitalist gain from having access to confidential and proprietary information about the short term development and investment needs of some of the world’s largest industries located within Ohio only to return back to that firm? (Keep in mind the Forbes just ranked Ohio fifth in the nation as being home to Fortune 500 companies.)
Dispatch, any smoke here?
Kvamme said he remains a limited partner with Sequoia and would have to sever ties if he became an officer with JobsOhio. He said Sequoia recently made its first investment in an Ohio company.
Wow, imagine that. Kvamme’s firm, where he is still a limited partner, has picked up an investment opportunity in Ohio since he joined the Kasich Administration despite never investing in an Ohio company in its history before. Funny how a California-based venture capital firm picked up its first investment opportunity in Ohio shortly after one of its limited partners became deeply embedded into Ohio’s own economic development efforts.
I’m sure it’s nothing. Just a random assortment of dots. No way anyone could possible make a connection between them, right?