From the monthly archives: May 2012

There is a war on science and the environment in Ohio. Numerous recent pieces of legislation and decisions by state agencies make it clear—the GOP has put politics over science and the health of Ohio’s environment time and time again. One need only look to recent legislation to allow drilling in state parks, unlimited water withdrawals from Lake Erie, or new fracking regulation which prevent disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process and continue to allow disposal of fracking waste by deep underground injection.

Today we’ll explore one of several recent examples of the Kasich administration making decisions based more on […]

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Well it’s official. All of the big companies Kasich said were threatening to leave Ohio have now starting laying off Ohioans after receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives.

It started back in February with American Greetings. After receiving roughly $93.5 million in aid, and rewarding their CEO with a huge raise, American Greetings announced it would begin laying off Ohioans as part of the “overall strategic focus of the company.”

Diebold was next. Kasich helped organize a package of state and local incentives totaling $100 million for Diebold, including $56 million from the State. And in mid-April […]

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Yesterday we discussed the primary reason Kasich and his pals worked so hard to oust Kevin DeWine as Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party…


Controlling the party means controlling the distribution of party money; money from big donors that can be funneled back to individual candidates (or to friends in the form of contracts, as we’ll discuss soon). It’s a backdoor way of circumventing campaign finance limits and controlling it is a big deal.

Once a donor hits the legal limit for how much he or she can contribute to a candidate, they can start giving to the […]

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Since taking office in 2011, the Governor and his allies have gone to great lengths to replace Kevin DeWine as head of the Ohio Republican Party (ORP) with a Kasich ally. In April, they got their wish, seating Bill Bennett as Chair and Matt Borges as the party’s executive director.

To what lengths did they go? Robocalls on behalf of Kasich-friendly committee candidates paid for by the Kasich campaign. Accusations of threats, intimidation, and offers of jobs or influence to get DeWine-friendly candidates not to run for the state’s Central Committee, a body that ultimately chooses the party’s leader.

Now, the […]

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Late on Friday afternoon of a 3-day holiday weekend (long considered a prime slot for important news…), the Governor held a news conference with the usual cast of Cleveland Plan characters to announce that compromises has been reached (again).  And this time it’s for real (again — on Friday afternoon in Cleveland, not the Statehouse).

Cleveland’s NewsChannel5 states the Governor “is promising that the legislation will pass” while the Cleveland Plain Dealer says “Kasich guaranteed on Friday that the legislation would pass.”

From our vantage point, nothing could be further from the truth.  This bill could have […]

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As we reported last week, the FBI is investigating hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions given to Republicans Josh Mandel and Jim Renacci from the employees of a marketing firm owned by Republican donor Benjamin Suarez.

The Toledo Blade reported about these highly-questionable donations almost a year ago, suggesting that the money was likely funneled by Suarez through his employees, which is illegal under federal campaign finance law.

Mandel’s team ignored the obvious evidence for over 10 months. But earlier this week, prompted by the FBI investigation, they finally gave the money back.

Jim Renacci’s campaign […]

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I was struck by a fun chart from Charles Blow of the New York Times looking at the results of the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. It depicts, in visual terms, which demographic groups favor each major political party.

So for fun, let’s review the May 24 NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll poll of Ohio registered voters . Overall, the President leads 48-42. How does that break down demographically?

In Ohio, Romney wins among:

Republicans Independents Conservatives Tea Partiers People with a “moderate” interest in participating in the election People who […]

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A revealing email, obtained by Plunderbund, demonstrates the political calculus that took place when House GOP leaders considered plans to raise Ohio’s severance taxes on oil & gas drillers in advance of an expected fracking boom.

On January 22, Lou Blessing, Speaker pro tempore of the Ohio House of Representatives, emailed his GOP colleagues with his thoughts on a possible increase in the tax–something that Governor Kasich was rumored to be considering. In his email, he compares Ohio’s taxes to other states, stating “Ohio is on the very low side” and puts forth two scenarios for raising it, in the following […]

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When Governor Kasich rolled out his energy plan in March, he portrayed himself as a maverick on fracking, standing up to Big Oil by requiring more chemical disclosure, higher tax rates and assistance to local governments.

Thanks in part to documents obtained exclusively by Plunderbund, we now know it was all posturing. Let’s review:

The chemical disclosure requirements he introduced were riddled with loopholes and allowed companies to hold information back if they deemed it a “trade secret.”

His severance tax increase was actually a tax cut on natural gas, the only material currently being extracted […]

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As Ohio’s legislature prepares to quietly pass legislation that legally allows the Highway Patrol to operate at the newly privatized prison in Conneaut, Ohio, the bigger story that has generally gone unreported (except by Plunderbund, of course) is the multitude of ways in which the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s legal department has attempted to circumvent existing law.

According to records obtained by Plunderbund, James Canepa, Chief Legal Counsel at Ohio Department of Public Safety, ignored two opinions issued by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission (OLSC) when he pursued an agreement with the City of Conneaut to have the Highway […]

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The Cleveland Schools “education reform” plan seems to have stalled in the House Education Committee and now seems highly unlikely to make it to the Senate before the Memorial Day weekend, after which the legislators have been rumored to be planning on staying home for their summer break.  In fact, the current schedule for the Ohio House has no full sessions on their schedule.  And yet the plan, known as House Bill 525 in the legislation, is heading toward its seventh hearing in the House committee with no vote imminent (though it is labeled as “possible”) and no additional committee […]

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