DeWine no stranger to ‘pay-to-play’ politics
You may have noticed the back and forth between Mike DeWine and David Peppers, the Republican and Democrat candidates for Ohio Attorney General. The Peppers’ campaign charges bid-rigging and pay-to-play politics by DeWine, alleging abuse of office by selecting CELCO Ltd. to collect debts owed to the State of Ohio. DeWine’s longtime friend, Pete Spitalieri owns CELCO, a newly formed debt collection company. It appears DeWine is using recent contributions to pay himself back the $2 million he loaned his 2010 campaign for Ohio Attorney General (Source: Alan Johnson, Democrat accuses DeWine of ‘pay-to-play’ with state contracts, The Columbus Dispatch, February 4th, 2014). The DeWine campaign counters with charges that Peppers courted pro-abortion donations by selecting Planned Parenthood to manage the $26,225 Family and Children’s First Council contract with Hamilton County. There’s no reason to doubt either claim…..pay-to-play politics and bid rigging are imprinted in career politicians’ DNA, however in DeWine’s case, there’s a wide gap in scope. Where Peppers infractions involve a mere $26,000 or so, DeWine’s shenanigans would move millions of dollars to his insider crony as he continues to repay a $2 million loan to himself. It’s not the first time this happened and probably won’t be the last.
In 2003 the three headed monster (Congressmen DeWine, Hobson and Austria) who, for a quarter century took turns looting Ohio’s 7th Congressional District, shoveled our tax dollars to the Dayton Development Coalition and others who in turn awarded un-bid contracts to the likes of PMA Group, a defunct Washington lobbying firm who’s founder got 27 months in federal prison for making illegal contributions to dozens of politicians, including Dave Hobson and Steve Austria. The Greentree Group, a Beavercreek defense contractor, also received a $1.9 million un-bid contract for the 2003 BRAC Initiative Agreement where the political class took credit for saving jobs at Wright Patterson. Don’t believe it. Those jobs stayed at Wright Patt because of the profession workforce, not because of DeWine’s, Hobson’s, Austria’s or the Coalition’s self-acclaimed credit for that outcome. Wright Patt has been a national treasure for nearly a century, and if anything, we could have done a more cost effective job without interference from career politicians.
As is always the case with the political class on both sides of the aisle, DeWine and Peppers are trying to differentiate themselves where there is not a dimes worth of difference between the two.
Instead of nitpicking each other’s seedy fund raising they would better serve the citizens by advancing criminal justice reforms such as U.S. Senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker’s initiative to address criminal justice concerns to include our prisons bursting at the seams with minority, low-level, non-violent criminals.
And let’s not forget human trafficking which has grown to epidemic proportions in Ohio, the U.S. and globally. Other than form a task force, what has Mike DeWine done to reduce human trafficking in Ohio or elsewhere? In fact, DeWine and the Ohio criminal justice system may have actually enabled human trafficking by turning a blind eye to human trafficking allegations directly linked to Monte Zinn’s felony conviction for immigration violations in the late 90’s.
Don’t let the political class fool you. They will do anything to divert attention away from their miserable failure that denies equal protection under the law for the citizens or allows over-the-top leniency for insiders who break the law.