Posts by: Joseph

David DeWitt wrote a good piece at Plunderbund yesterday covering the many thoughtful responses from Ohio politicians about the knife attack by a Somali student on the campus of the Ohio State University.

One of those responses came from Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich who said that his “thoughts are with the victims of the attack right now” while praising the efforts of the first responders.


Lots of folks may not know that Ohio has a large Somali community.  Columbus is home to over 45,000 Somali immigrants, with over a thousand Somali students attending Ohio’s universities and colleges.  Ohio’s conservative governor certainly did seem […]

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Last year, Republican State Representative Barbara Sears introduced a bill (HB394) aimed at making Ohio’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund solvent again after it took a beating during the recession.  The bill was an extreme, right wing, anti-worker wish list, written with the help of business groups and without input from labor

HB394 dramatically reduced the length of time a worker collects benefits while unemployed, eliminated bonus pay for workers with dependents, added mandatory drug testing for unemployed workers, all while leaving employers paying the same as they have been since 1995, only instituting a modest increase if a downturn drains the trust fund.

Hearings for HB394 […]

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Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges sent out a fundraising email this week titled “Don’t let them steal it.”  In the email, Borges claimed Ohio Democrats are trying to “steal” the still-too-close-to-call race for Ohio Supreme Court between Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John O’Donnell (D) and Cincinnati appellate Judge Pat Fischer (R).

Here are the facts:

As of today, there are currently “261,000 provisional ballots and late-arriving absentee ballots” outstanding in counties around the state.

Prior to those ballots, Fischer was leading by 24,000 votes. An automatic recount will be triggered if the difference is fewer than 10,600 votes.

According to […]

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As House Speaker Paul Ryan is getting giddy with plans to privatize Medicare under a Trump Presidency, rumors are circulating today that Ohio Representative Tim Ryan is considering a run for Nancy Pelosi’s spot as House Minority Leader.

Ryan, a Democrat from Niles, Ohio, has been elected to congress five times.  He is a strong proponent of labor  has been a vocal critic of Ryan’s plans to dismantle Medicare in the past.

If you want to get to know Tim Ryan, just watch the videos below of two great Ryan speeches on Medicare and on the anti-union Senate Bill 5 […]

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Like much of America, I woke up yesterday morning somewhat hung over, very tired and totally overwhelmed with dread about the fact that Donald Trump had been elected US president.

Then I got  text from my mom that inspired me:  “Dad is online making donations to some of the groups that are going to be hurt by this. He went to bed angry but is thinking ahead whereas I can barely cope.”

That’s so my dad…  Retired cop.  US Navy Veteran.  Environmentalist. And ever the pragmatist.

My dad decided to proactively work to counter Trump’s anti-environment promises by donating to […]

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Much of the discussion about this presidential race hasn’t revolved around policy and, with less than a week to go to Election Day, that doesn’t seem to be changing.

But there is an important issue facing individuals and families in Ohio and across the country that needs to be discussed: healthcare and the cost of prescription drugs.

Only one candidate, Secretary Hillary Clinton, has taken a strong stance on this issue.

Clinton supports a cap on out-of-pocket costs and for holding insurance companies accountable for the high costs of prescription drugs for consumers.  Additionally Clinton also supports a monthly limit […]

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Two of the three “consumer” members Gov. Kasich appointed to the Ohio State Medical Board are involved with a business so predatory that it’s banned in many states.

Consumer member Donald Kenney Sr. owns the anti-consumer company; consumer member Mike Gonidakis lobbies on its behalf.

The company is American Power & Light which Kenney founded in 2003. Kenney also owns lots of apartment complexes and he buys electricity and water from the utilities, then jacks up the prices and saddles his renters with above-market rates and high late fees.

A 2013 investigation by the Columbus Dispatch told us this:


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Earlier this week the Federal Election Commission (FEC) sent a letter to the Trump Campaign requesting additional information about dozens of questionable campaign contributions that “could result in an audit or enforcement action.”

Four of the contributions came from individuals with foreign addresses, one came from a questionable limited liability corporation and over one hundred and fifty more contributions either exceed campaign contribution limits or broke in-kind contribution rules.

Trump has been facing criticism for the past few months over his campaign’s potentially illegal fundraising from foreign nationals.

The full letter and a list of the questionable contributions is […]

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According to their website, Represent Columbus’s proposed charter amendment will empower “everyday citizens” to “take back” their “government from big business and monied special interests.”  Their plan to achieve this goal: convert Columbus’s  council system with seven at-large seats to a ward system with ten districts and three at-large seats.

What the website doesn’t tell is that two of the key players in the push for a ward system are a failed former Republican candidate for Columbus mayor, and a current Republican candidate for state rep, both of whom have very tenuous ties to Columbus.

Republican Lawyer Bill Todd moved to Columbus […]

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The Plunderbund Podcast is back.  This week Lycurgus Group VP and General Counsel, and former prosecutor, Josh Engel takes over hosting duties.

We are joined this week by Professor Paul Moke.  In addition to teaching political science at Wilmington College, Professor Moke has been involved in a number of election law challenges to Republican efforts to restrict voting in Ohio.

We discuss the recent Supreme Court decisions on abortion and affirmative action, and try to predict where the Court is going next.  We then discuss the three (yes, three!) major ongoing lawsuits challenging aspects of Ohio’s election laws.

Let us know […]

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Plunderbund recently broke the news that ECOT, Ohio’s largest online charter school, “appears to have overcharged the state of Ohio for nearly 35 million dollars in the 2014-15 school year, one third of the school’s total funding for the year” by overstating its enrollment numbers.

A few days later we found out that House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger spoke at ECOT’s graduation ceremony this year, following a long list of prominent Republicans to fill that roll.

For example, John Kasich spoke at the 2011 ECOT graduation.  Republican Supreme Court Justice Terrence O’Donnell spoke in 2013.  In 2014, House Speaker Bill Batchelder spoke at the ECOT […]

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