Recently retired House Speaker Bill Batchelder has long marketed himself as a fiscal hawk, legal scholar and a man of principle. Critics have long maintained he is none of the above. Last week he proved them right.
The man who led efforts to cut programs for the poor and taxes for the rich never championed the cause of ending double dipping – the practice that allows public employees to work long enough to qualify for a pension, collect it, then go get another public sectors job.
Batchelder, a Republican from Medina, has mastered the art of double-dipping.
He was a 35-year veteran of the House who left because of term limits and became an appeals court judge. After a few years on the bench, he returned to the House to collect a near-six-figure salary as Speaker, plus more than $100,000 annually from a public pension. (The term-limit law allows legislators to leave, then return and have the term-limit clock start anew.)
Term limits ended his reign as Speaker but he’ll be back on the public dole again, this time teaching politics and law at Cleveland State University and the University of Akron, according to an eye-popping piece in the Akron Beacon Journal.
The main thrust of the piece was to inform readers that Batchelder’s newly opened lobby shop has been hired to pimp for a notoriously awful charter school organization that has been among the top donors to Batchelder and his fellow Republicans. But as the ABJ’s Doug Livingstone told us:
(Batchelder) won’t be lobbying former colleagues to pass legislation that would benefit former campaign contributors.
“No. No. That’s illegal under a bill I drafted about 30 years ago,” Batchelder said, referring to bipartisan legislation that required lawmakers to wait a year out of office before lobbying.
One would think that a long-time lawyer, lawmaker and former court of appeals judge would know the law. One would be wrong. More from the newspaper article:
A federal district court threw out that law in 2010. Now, Ohio is among 17 states that allow lawmakers and lobbyists to pass through the proverbial “revolving door” between the two occupations.
With the revolving door law no more, Batchelder can legally lobby his former colleagues on behalf the charter organization, better known as the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, or ECOT.
To gauge the level of ECOT’s political giving, let’s turn to the good folks at KnowYourCharter.com
They give us a run down of money coming from the ECOT empire and from White Hat Management, another charter school chain known for terrible academic achievement but generous political giving.
From 1998 forward, The ECOT/White Hat tally:
To gauge the level of ECOT’s academic performance, let’s return to the Akron Beacon Journal:
Since 2003, Lager’s online charter school, which now enrolls more than 15,000 students, has received $775 million of the nearly $8 billion in state aid for charter schools.
Last year, ECOT enrolled less than one percent of Ohio’s 1.7 million public school students, yet accounted for 28 percent of dropouts, according to analysis of state education records.
Despite a disproportionately high dropout rate, Gov. John Kasich spoke to the online school’s graduates in 2011. Last year, when students dropped out 2.5 times more often than they graduated on time, Batchelder spoke at ECOT’s graduation
So much for principle.
For the low-down on the scope of Lager’s taxpayer-financed empire, Plunderbund is – and has been – the best place to go.
From a post last year:
Lager is also the owner of two privately-held companies that provide both the management services (Altair Learning Management) and curriculum (IQ Innovations) to the online school. According to audits released by the Ohio Auditor of State, here’s a summary of the funds that have gone from taxpayers through ECOT and directly to Lager’s companies:
It is any wonder the ECOT Empire hired a former Speaker?