Dave Hobson, part time congressman…..
…..full time real estate tycoon
(Part 3) Nextedge Development Corporation
In these days of high tech digital data transfer we should find it interesting that many congressmen including Dave Hobson and Steve Austria have “HAND DELIVERED” stamped on their mandatory Financial Disclosure Statements (FDS) filed with the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. One possible explanation is that filing false data or omitting mandatory disclosures could be considered wire fraud, a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343 which, if convicted, carries a penalty of a fine and up to 20 years imprisonment. Congressmen Hobson and Austria may have protected themselves against wire fraud, but we have hard evidence they could be prosecuted for violating campaign finance laws. In Hobson’s case, that may be for not disclosing on his FDS his financial interest with Midland Properties, but Steve Austria has taken it a few steps farther.
To comply with federal law, first-time candidates must file their initial Financial Disclosure Statement in accordance with the following timeline: “A candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives must file a Financial Disclosure Statement (FDS) each year. The candidate’s first report is due within 30 days of becoming a candidate (by raising or spending more than $5,000) or by May 15th of the calendar year in which he or she becomes a candidate, whichever is later, but, in any event, at least 30 days before the primary or general election.” This data compiled from the Federal Election Commission disclosure website confirms that Steve Austria raised more than $10,000 on October 27, 2007; thus he became a candidate in 2007 and his FDS was due no later than November 27, 2007. The law also states that regardless of the year Steve Austria became a candidate, he had to file his FDS no later than 30 days before the primary, or April 5, 2008. Austria filed his FDS on May 15, 2008. Maybe you don’t care if your congressman broke the law twice by missing two filing deadlines, but you should care that he omitted information that defeated the purpose of disclosing personal financial information in the first place. You see, Section I of the form requires a congressional candidate disclose any company that employed his spouse, Eileen, which brings us back to the Nextedge Development Corporation. Although he did disclose Mrs. Austria’s employment as Congressman Hobson’s District Director, he failed to mention she also worked for Nextedge as Director for Sales and Marketing within days after she left Hobson’s staff on December 31, 2007. In their 2006 Congressional Pig Book, Citizens for Government Waste report that Mr. Hobson engineered a $3 million earmark for Nextedge. Although that three million bucks has long since disappeared into political class bank accounts including Dave Hobson’s, the Nextedge employment surely came in handy for Mrs. Austria when she was ushered through the revolving door back into the private sector. Days after Mrs. Austria was forced to leave government, she had a job with Nextedge which owes its existence to a Dave Hobson earmark and funding from grants sponsored by her husband, State Senator Steve Austria.
Financial disclosure statutes also require candidates and congressional staffers to report certain affiliations with private institutions like the Dayton Development Coalition. Mr. and Mrs. Austria both failed to do so which concealed their co-membership with PMA lobbyist Briggs Shade and Greentree Group agents on the Wright Patt 2010 Committee. You may recall that PMA and Greentree received no-bid contract awards from the Coalition and also contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Austria and Hobson congressional campaigns.
Not only does OCGJ have “smoking gun” evidence that Mr. and Mrs. Austria broke the law; that evidence was handed over to the Federal Election Commission, the F.B.I., the U.S. House Ethics Committee as well as Mike Turner and Jim Jordan who both serve on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. You may agree with OCGJ that this could be the purest example of the political class protecting two of its own.