Newly-elected Democratic Party state officeholders in Ohio have not been in office for sixty days already and yet they have quickly outpaced the levels of political corruption that plagued the previous Republican Taft Administration, and cost the Ohio GOP four of the five statewide offices in the last election. Unfortunately for Ohio taxpayers, they are the ones who will eventually be footing the bill for the Ohio Democrats’ political payoffs for their “progressive” allies that helped get them elected.
Leading the way in setting new lows for political cronyism is Gov. Ted Strickland, who made reforming corruption in state government the centerpiece of his recent campaign. Little did Ohio voters realize that the reforms Strickland intended to implement were intended to increase the speed and efficiency in doling out political favors to the Democratic Party faithful.
Earlier this month, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Strickland had packed the Ohio School Facilities Commission with political supporters, which immediately rewrote the rules to expunge the lowest-bidder-wins standards for awarding billions of dollars worth of school construction contracts – a move immediately hailed by the construction labor unions that poured millions into Ohio Democratic campaign coffers in the last election cycle and lobbied heavily for the rule changes.
Strickland also appointed one of his political cronies to oversee the program, which spends $3 million every day and more than $1 billion every year. Since the Commission was formed nine years ago, it has spent more than $5 billion building and repairing 480 schools, with plans for another 300 schools to be built under the new rules that are certain to increase the building costs even more.
So instead of dedicating more money to classroom instruction as they had promised prior to November’s elections to “help the children”, Gov. Strickland and Ohio Democrats now intend to use one of the biggest state capital spending programs as a taxpayer-financed slush fund to “help the labor unions” that helped bankroll their elections.
But the changes in state policy to the benefit of Ohio Democratic Party allies hardly end there.
In fact, newly-elected Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Attorney General Marc Dann – both Democrats – announced last month their intentions to settle dozens of frivolous lawsuits filed by a litany of Leftist political organizations after the 2004 elections claiming that former Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell had “stolen” the elections to secure President Bush’s reelection. In one case, the Ohio Democratic Party itself is the lead plaintiff.
In settling these lawsuits, Brunner admitted in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch that the cost to taxpayers could be “extensive”. One election lawsuit already settled by Brunner cost taxpayers $225,000. But in a letter to the editor published last week, Brunner explained that the state will “save” some money by not having to pay for attorneys to defend the state against the lawsuits – though nowhere near what will be paid out to settle the bogus claims.
Perhaps in a moment of intended irony, Brunner and Dann first discussed their intentions to settle the election lawsuits while speaking on a panel at a seminar on ethics and elections held at Kent State University.
In addition to the potentially millions that would go these organizations and their Democrat-connected law firms, by agreeing to settle these lawsuits without a court ever hearing the evidence in these cases (in fact, she has already fired the attorneys who were defending the state), Brunner appears willing to agree to radical changes in elections policy that will effectively gut recent laws passed to prevent voter fraud, which has grown to pandemic proportions in Democratic-controlled counties around the state.
In that event, opponents of voter fraud will then be forced to take the matter back to the courts in order to force Brunner to comply with the laws already on the books intended to combat voter fraud – laws that were vigorously opposed by the very same groups and partisan attorneys that Brunner and Dann intend to reward.
One can safely assume that if new lawsuits are filed to force Brunner to enforce the voter fraud laws, the same law firms would be retained at taxpayer expense to defend the Democrats from having to follow election laws, thereby eliminating any savings from settling the original lawsuits.
One potential bright-spot in the political farce unfolding in the Buckeye State is that the one state office that Republicans were able to hold onto was State Auditor, an office held by Mary Taylor (the Democratic candidate for State Auditor, Barbara Sykes, was a Strickland political hack that was not a CPA nor had any experience as an accountant). With political corruption raining down in Ohio from the newly-installed Democratic Strickland Administration like Noah watching the beginning of the Flood, Taylor and her team of 700 auditors statewide have their work cut out for them keeping track of the changes taking place at a breakneck pace as Ohio Democrats rush to payoff their political allies for helping them emerge from 16 years in the political wilderness. It will be their job to identify and correct the rapid escalation of fraud and abuse in state government.
It’s likely that Ohio taxpayers will never know the extent to which they will be footing the bill for the Ohio Democrats program of “reform”. But just two months into Strickland’s four-year term, it seems that some voters are already experiencing voter’s remorse. Needless to say, it might be a long four years for Ohio taxpayers.
Click Here to support Frontpagemag.com.