When Kasich announced Randy Meyer would be the next Inspector General he made it clear that Meyer was “not going to be a traffic cop hiding in the bushes.” And based on the small number of investigatory reports issued by Meyer’s office in the first year (only 12 – the fewest since 2007), it seems like the Governor may have had some amazing foresight.
Meyer claims the shortage of reports has more to do with needing time to transition and less to do with pissing off the Governor, but I have my doubts.
For starters, the Ohio inspector general, responsible for investigating fraud and corruption of state officials, is supposed to be nonpartisan. Yet Meyer recently turned up as the guest speaker at a GOP fundraiser.
It also doesn’t help his case that he’s hired Carl Enslen as his Deputy IG. Enslen is the son in-law of one of Kasich’s close advisers Jo Ann Davidson, current chair of the Casino Control Commission and former Ohio House Speaker.
While the IG is busy attending party fundraisers, Kasich has been busy being honored at his own parties – like the one thrown by his lobbyist friends last week.
According to the Dispatch:
The Tuesday evening “One Year Later” celebration was sponsored in part by lobbyists Douglas J. Preisse, Robert F. Klaffky and Matt Borges, all of whom were ground-floor advisers to Kasich’s 2010 campaign or inaugural committee. The private party was attended by members of Kasich’s executive staff, cabinet members, many state lawmakers and some clients of the three sponsoring lobbyists, among others.
Mark Kvamme was at the party. And Jo Ann Davidson, mother-in-law of the Deputy IG, of course. Batchelder and Niehaus made an appearance. But don’t be fooled. This party wasn’t for Kasich or his friends in the Legislature or the members of his team. It was for the lobbyists and their goal was simple: to show their connections go all the way to the top.
You may recognize the names of the lobbyists who threw Kasich the party because we’ve been writing about them for months. Preisse and Klaffly are Kasich’s old friends. And suddenly, with Kasich in office, they all have high-paying lobbying contracts with casino companies, private prison companies and the companies vying for contracts with the Ohio Lottery.
Lobbyist Matt Borges was also there. You may remember Matt from his corruption conviction for steering contracts to campaign donors in the Treasurer’s office. Or maybe from his stint as Executive Director of Kasich’s Inauguration Committee at the same time his law firm solicited campaign contributions for Kasich from its clients who wanted to attend the Kasich/Taylor inauguration.
Democratic lobbyist and former candidate for chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Party Robert “B.J.” Schuerger.
Lobbyists lobbyists everywhere!
State Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine warned of the ultra-cozy relationship between Kasich and his lobbying pals claiming Kasich’s advisors are motivated only by “personal profit, ego, and power.” And with a partisan, Kasich/Taylor lackey in the IG’s office, Kasich and his lobbying pals seem free, and more than willing, to flaunt their questionable relationships without any concern or worry of investigation from the state watchdog.
If you want to do business with the state of Ohio, and you wonder who has the Governor’s ear, you only need to see who the Governor’s partying with to know where you should be spending your lobbying dollars.
Kasich promised to “get the lobbyists and the special interests snouts out of the trough” but all he did was move the trough to the VIP room, giving special gold keys to a select few of his closest pals.
A friend of the blog sent us this very relevant and timely editorial cartoon in response to the lobbyist party story. It kind of ties together everything we just discussed. Enjoy…