In an earlier Cookbook story we discussed howMike Gonadakis, head of Ohio Right to Life, used the influence of his anti-abortion organization to support Mike DeWine in his campaign for AG. Once DeWine was elected, DeWine granted Gonadakis special access to himself and his top staff, enabling Gonadakis to grow his lobbying business.
Last week, ProgressOhio revealed that a similar arrangement seems to exist between DeWine and Phil Burress, head of the anti-LGBT group Citizens for Community Values (CCV).
After spending years criticizing DeWine for being too liberal, Burress and CCV suddenly changed their tune and publicly endorsed him in the 2010 AG’s race. Soon after, Burress’s daughter, Stephanie McCloud, became part of DeWine’s transition team and would later receive lucrative special counsel contracts with DeWine’s office.
According to records obtained by ProgressOhio, McCloud was paid $132,869 by the AG’s office in July and August of 2013. A year earlier, McCloud had donated $2,500 to DeWine’s campaign, exceeding the $1,000 limit for attorneys seeking work with the AG’s office. The donation would later be returned.
Just like with Gonadakis, DeWine appears to have called in Burress, an extreme anti-LGBT activist, to help build up his credibility with the far right. And he’s helped maintain that allegiance by using his office to call in favors for Burress’s family and to aggressively fight to maintain the ban on same-sex marriage in Ohio that Burress helped put in place.
Source materials are all available at ProgressOhio’s CronyGate Ohio website.