BREAKING: FBI to Investigate Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s Administration for Bribery Relating to Gubernatorial Appointments
A developing story out of Ohio is getting the attention of the progressive press: the FBI is currently investigating claims that Governor John Kasich made promises of political influence and threatened the jobs of those who would not help him replace those in power with his cronies.
Two months ago, Portage County Republican Party Chairman Andrew Manning asked the FBI to investigate the situation after he was offered influence in state government appointments in exchange for stepping down and allowing one of Kasich’s operatives to take his position. Manning’s attorney, David R. Langdon, announced yesterday that the FBI is indeed investigating the claims. In a statement Langdon said,
“FBI agents interviewed Andrew Manning last week. He answered questions about the statements in his affidavit, which he sent to the Justice Department in March of this year, that top allies of Gov. John Kasich offered him special influence over gubernatorial appointments if he agreed not to run for the state GOP central committee.”
He will have no further comment until the investigation has concluded.
According to PlunderBund, this complaint led to several other Ohio GOP figures making similar claims:
Manning’s request to the FBI and local law enforcement was the first in a series of complaints claiming Kasich and his allies used intimidation, threats and promises of influence in order to get their own people on the State Central Committee to vote out former Committee Chairman Kevin DeWine.
While Manning’s complaint focused on Governor’s office employees Ben Kaiser and David Luketic, as well as Alex Arshinkoff (Summit County GOP Chairman) and Bryan Williams (Ohio Board of Education), other complaints have since surfaced against the Governor’s closest allies Doug Preisse and Jai Chabria as well as Mary Taylor and her chief of staff.
Kasich, who was elected Governor during the Tea Party tsunami of 2010, has lost clout in the state after his initiatives, including anti-union SB5, were roundly rejected by Ohioans. It appears his remaining political capital will be leveraged to transform the state GOP into an army of yes men.
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer is now reporting similar claims by former Associated Builders and Contractors employee Maggie Cook. Cook says her job was threatened if she did not leave the race for the state’s central committee in order to make way for Kasich’s preferred candidate. Cook, a supporter of former party chairman Kevin Dewine, refused and was promptly fired:
When asked if she thinks the governor’s supporters had her fired, Cook measured her words carefully.
“I don’t really know what to think because they brought a new president on, but I was in sales and it was really easy to see if you were doing your job well or not,” Cook said. “I was making all my targets. I had sales metrics, monthly and quarterly goals, and I had met all of my metrics for the year. But life goes on.”
Cook says her termination letter simply states that ABC was exercising its right to terminate her as an at-will employee. She had worked for ABC from Dec. 7, 2010, to Dec. 30, 2011.
The candidate preferred by Kasich, Rebecca Heimlich, eventually won the race after Jean Raga, also a candidate, dropped out before the election:
Raga is married to former State Rep. Tom Raga, who after the election was appointed executive director of the Dayton Power & Light Foundation.
This mounting evidence suggests that, since his first days in power, the Governor’s main goal has been to oust Kevin DeWine and replace him with someone more willing to do the Kasich Kowtow. When Dewine refused, Kasich used his pull to get his candidates into power. After getting enough power in the committee, he effectively forced DeWine to step down. The new committee then elected Bob Bennett, former state GOP chairman for 20 years prior to DeWine, to finish out the term.
With #Walkergate fully inflamed in nearby Wisconsin, it would be quite a gift to Midwest progressives to see a second radical GOP Governor ensnarled in scandal. Of course, this leaves millions of constituents holding the corruption bag, a negative byproduct not nearly worth the joy of watching two unscrupulous politicians burn at the public opinion stake. Kasich’s legacy may yet be one of Tea Party panderer who promised an end to politics-as-usual before undermining Democracy itself.