In the 2010 Attorney General’s race, Mike DeWine’s main line of attack on then-AG Rich Cordray was the lengthy processing time for evidence in AG crime labs. Cordray inherited the decade-old problem, and was implementing improvements that DeWine would later take credit for, but at the time, this was DeWine’s core campaign message, and he enlisted the help of fellow Republicans whenever he could.
One such Republican was then-Fairfield County Prosecutor David Landefeld who, when urged on by DeWine, used his position as prosecutor to attack DeWine’s opponent, questioning Cordray’s leadership and insisting Cordray was putting the safety of the public at risk .
Landefeld, a Fairfield Republican who was serving his seventh term as prosecutor, was certainly not a disinterested party in the AG’s race. He made three campaign contributions to DeWine prior to the 2010 election and another contribution after the election. And, as we would later find out, he had plans to retire early and go back into private law practice.
On January 21, 2011, right after taking office, DeWine had a conversation with Landefeld, after which he wrote to his chief of staff: “Had conversation with landefeld in re special counsel…he is calling u. Will go with firm in March.”
The email was sent from DeWine’s iPad using a personal email account.
Let me repeat that: days after taking office, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine used his personal email account to inform his chief of staff that he intended to give work to whichever law firm hired his retiring political ally and campaign donor. (We will see this type of activity repeat again and again throughout this series.)
Landefeld would go on to publicly to announce his retirement in April and, with the promise of work from the AG’s office now secured, would soon join the firm Crabbe James, focusing on “government relations”.
Landefeld and his wife would continue donating to DeWine, giving a total of $2,250 in eight separate contributions. And on December 15, 2012, 16 members of his law firm, including Landefeld, gave $500 checks to DeWine.