We reported earlier today about a number of new legal and ethical problems coming to light in the battle pitting Governor Kasich and his allies and staff against Kevin DeWine and the resources of the Ohio Republican Party.

We’ve discussed the battle in excessive detail already. But this recent influx of complaints and stories about Kasich’s behavior during this intra-party battle is difficult to ignore.

Below is the full text of the ethics complaint about Kasich and his staff that was sent to the Ohio Ethics Commission last week. It’s long – but definitely worth reading…

Paul Nick
Executive Director
William Green Building
30 W. Spring St.
Columbus, Ohio 43215
March 13, 2012

Mr. Nick and Members of the Ohio Ethics Commission:

According to a recent article in The Columbus Dispatch, Portage County Republican Party Chairman Andrew Manning signed an affidavit that states allies of Gov. John Kasich offered him special influence over gubernatorial appointments if he agreed not to run for the state GOP central committee. Gov. Kasich has been trying to take over the panel and replace Kevin DeWine as chairman of the Ohio Republican Party.

Manning sent the affidavit to state and federal law-enforcement officials asking them to investigate whether laws were broken in efforts to get him to drop out of the committee race.

The pressure applied to Mr. Manning is part of a widespread effort by top advisers to Gov. Kasich to win control of the Central Committee by dangling the promise of lucrative state appointments, threatening to remove members on existing state boards, vowing to hurt a regulated Ohio-based utility and threatening to ruin the reputations of private citizens.

While the Ethics Commission requests that complaints arrive via affidavit, the level of intimidation has witnesses fearful of reprisals. Those fears intensified when Kasich allies attempted to pressure Warren County resident Maggie Cook to withdraw from the race, insisting they could get her fired from her job with Associated Builders and Contractors. When she refused to clear the way for Kasich ally Rebecca Heimlich, ABC fired her.

Ohio’s ethics laws give the commission the power to initiate complaints, investigate them and refer them to the appropriate authorities. Given  the cloud of suspicion surrounding the Kasich-appointed Ohio Inspector General, I am asking this bi-partisan panel to initiate an investigation into the following:

1). Kasich allies threatened to do financial harm to Dayton Power & Light, an investor-owned utility subject to regulation by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, unless Jean Raga dropped out of the Central Committee contest. She is married to DP&L lobbyist Tom Raga, who supports Kevin DeWine’s continued employment as Ohio Republican Party Chairman.  The intimidation included blocking Mr. Raga’s participation in invitation-only meetings in the governor’s office. Mrs. Raga dropped out of the contest on the eve of the election.

John Keaton – Duke
Tom Froehle – AEP
Art Meyer – DPL
Mike Dowling, Chrisy Bowen Wright – FirstEnergy

2). Kasich allies dangled the promise of an appointment to the Ohio Turnpike Commission in an effort to win support from Jeff Dean, a Central Committee member from  Cuyahoga County. He refused to support Kasich’s efforts to unseat DeWine and did not get appointed to the Turnpike Commission.

3).  Jai Chabria, special assistant to the governor,  told Amy Sabath to support Kasich’s efforts to topple Chairman DeWine or lose her seat on the Ohio Lottery Commission and her job as fundraiser for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. She did not back out and did not lose her job with DeWine. Shortly before the vote, Kasich adviser Doug Preisse informed Ms. Sabath that she would be ruining her life and the lives of others unless she stepped aside.

4).  Central Committee member Ebony Grantonz was urged to support efforts to topple DeWine and warned that her husband,Henry Kurtis, would not be reappointed to the Motor Vehicles Dealers Board, unless she said with Kasich allies. She refused; her husband was not reappointed.

Besides the obvious ethical and moral probems with these actions and threats, felonies may have also been committed by those who carried out this intimidation and influence peddling.  The Ohio Revised Code criminalizes bribery and, specifically, offering things of value or other benefits to party officials before elections.  Persons who seek to corrupt a party official or improperly influence the discharge of the official’s duties by offering a valuable thing or benefit to the official is guilty of a felony of the 3rd degree.  R.C. 2921.02.  In addition, persons convicted of bribery are barred for life from holding public office.  Id.  The elections code makes offering influence to a person before a primary election a felony of the 4th degree.  R.C. 3599.01.

I hope you will take a close look at the allegations against the Kasich administration and involve all of the investigatory and law enforcement officials necessary for a thorough and just resolution.

  • Debbie Rudy-Lack

    From demanding an apology from OEA, the day after his election, to calling a police officer an idiot in front of other state employees, the arrogance of this guy knows no bounds.  It had to happen eventually….just wish we could recall him.

  • You’re 100% right. Kasich is a real despot. He seems to revel in disrespecting people…even people in his own party!

  • Anonymous

    The FBI has opened an investigation… it’s the worst kept secret in Columbus.

  • JamesIam

    So what does the Ethics Commission look like? Is it appointed, bipartisan, or is it just as politically stacked as, say, the Dept of Ed?

    And if they do find wrongdoing, what are the consequences?  A report that there was wrongdoing? This sort of intimidation and threats to people’s livelihoods are serious, but I’ve seen other elected officials found responsible for similar crooked dealings and, other than maybe an article in the paper, they seem to carry on their merry way.

  • There is another way to look at this.  In the information above, 3 out of the 4 names belong to women— Jean Raga, Amy Sabath, and Ebony Grantonz were all strong-armed by the goons from the Kasich administration?  Why are they intimidating the women?  Besides not having enough women within his cabinet, now Kasich and company are harassing  those few women that do have jobs within the GOP? 

  • gregmild

    About the Commission from their website — 

    The Ethics Commission is an independent, bipartisan commission, comprised of six members, who are appointed by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the Ohio Senate to apply and administer the Ethics Law for state and local public officials and employees outside of the General Assembly and judiciary. The Commission was created upon the enactment of the Ohio Ethics Law in 1973. Commission members serve staggered, six-year terms.
    Four of the five members were appointed since Kasich took office and the sixth seat is currently vacant.

  • interesting u should say that..plunderbund ran an exclusive regarding an Ohio grassroots group that is actually trying to add RECALL as an amendment to the Ohio Constitution….to protect Ohio citizens and proide them with an alternative when they feel an elected state official Dem, repub, independent, isnt folowing up to constituents voices…recall protects us all…I believe is that grassroots group name…they have petitions…check them out..

  • yes, i heard that as well

  • The Kasich administration at least isnt “discriminating…” Not only are they attacking women, but the elderly, the childrens education, the elderly,…promising jobs and continuing to hand out huge tax breaks to corporations..resulting in millions of Ohio tax payers onies, handing out bonuses n raises to legislators that ram unfair, unsafe bills down the middle lasses throats wh protect, educate, and serve Ohioans communities, promising taxbreaks to ohioans from drilln, then sayn ts his legislators who are resisting, and not him..He;s fighting to give Ohioans a tax break…  and that he’ll keep fighting…although NONE of his former legislation/budget can back that up…His actions are still giving away millions to his corp buddies, charter schools who have a worst grade, most failing, depleting tax payers monies for public education which 80 percent have a higher grade card than these for profit schools, hmmmm…doent it appear odd to anyone else that kasich n wreckn crew became..”victim kasih, tryn to n continuing to fight for Ohioans to receive tax reaks, and his wreckn crew continues on to pad the pockets of corporation interests about the time Walker from Wisconsin hired 2 criminal attorney’s, and the fbi shows up to nvestigate ethic complaints about KASICH? Where have they been? His entire governorship, legislation…attacks…all encompass the term..”ethics!” Hope the smoke clears soon….becuse if it walks like a duck, quacks lie a duck, it’s probably a duck….

  • When taft was convicted of misusing retirement teachers funds…he received a @$4000 fine n a slap on the wrist…an investment in coins I believe? Anyone remember?

  • hmmm…Im wondering if they are investigating all th Repub govs..they are ALL CONNECTED, all guilty of unethical behavior…n appearring to be doing exatly what the REPUB Presidential Candidates are doing….like a twisted follow the leader…I guess money, large sums of money can buy just about anything, appears they sold their souls..it’s embarrassing to see, watch Americans acting in this manner….in front of the entire world..almost arrogantly…where s the justice?

  • were appointed by KASICH? If so, who is going to serv as ethics commissioners for the ethic commissioners? (Did I understand that right? appointed SINCE Kasich took office? ) That would mean..he appointed them? Is that right?

  • JamesIam

     Wow. So 4 of the 5 people who will decide if Kasich committed ethics violations are, more or less, friends of his. This is fascinating. Under any administration, Kasich or anyone else, this is obviously not real oversight. It’s smoke and mirrors. Sham oversight. I wonder if it’s like this in other states, or somewhat unique to Ohio — like our inability to recall.

    If we learn anything from this dark time in our state, it’s that we need some major restructuring of our government and constitution. These 2 shortfalls alone — an ethics commission of cronies and a lack of citizen recall — just begged for the corruption we’re seeing now. It’s like we were asking for it, and now we’ve got it.

  • JamesIam

    Yep. Coingate. We Ohioans can sure pick ’em, can’t we?

  • Dmoore2222

    Interesting and not surprising but JobsOhio will end up being the REAL scandal.

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