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How I Would Clean Up Elections

I’m speaking in Athens, Ohio at Ohio University to the Political Science Majors Association on the Culture of Corruption in Ohio. My B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. are all in political science, but I learned more about the corruption in Ohio as an investigative journalist.

Let’s recall some of the recent scandals in Ohio. In 2001, the former director of the Ohio Department of Human Services pleaded guilty to improperly steering $60 million, primarily in the form of no-bid contracts. As governor, I would end the use of no-bid contracts and make all contracts competitive. So corrupt is Ohio that even the Ohio Consumer Counsel, who advocates on behalf of all Ohio consumers, resigned and was later convicted for accepting gifts from utility lobbyists. Then there was the pay-to-play scheme involving brokers who received contracts from former State Treasurer Joe Deters’ office. Deters was a typical pious Republican invoking the name of God every few seconds while taking pieces of silver from Caesar, or at least Caesar’s lobbyist.

The Coingate scandal has passed into the realm of Ohio legend. Noe, the former hobby shop owner who sold beanie babies, baseball cards and some coins, is planning to plead guilty to stealing between $4.5 and $6 million, and he was indicted for laundering that money into the Bush re-election campaign. Governor Taft’s Chief of Staff was convicted for renting Tom Noe’s $1.8 million Florida home at below market rates. Taft was convicted on four misdemeanor charges of filing incomplete financial disclosure statements and failing to report golf outings and other gifts. One of those outings was with Noe, who claimed he told Taft about his secret and bizarre little rare coin investment scheme backed by the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation.

The key to ending corruption in Ohio is driving bad money from lobbyists out of the process. In order to do this, public matching funds must be brought in at a 2-1 ratio for small donations under $1000 and the state must subsidize media time for all candidates on the ballot. This is the only way to end the inbred culture of corruption and to create a true marketplace of ideas.

4 replies
  1. takebackthehouse
    takebackthehouse says:

    The layers of corruption are so thick that it is hard to keep up with them. It’s too bad that the GOP leadership has made a mockery of fair elections and fair business practices in Ohio government contracting.

  2. J. Robinson
    J. Robinson says:

    Clean Money is the only way to go. Not only does money corrupt, it also deters potentially great candidates from running for office.

  3. Dave Kovacs
    Dave Kovacs says:

    Corrupt lobbyists are really hurting the country (so are some less-corrupt lobbyists). My own campaign has recently highlighted the guilty plea of Neil Volz, a lobbyist for the propaganda-to-children corporation, Channel One. Primedia and Channel One were also represented by Jack Abramhoff.

    I hope Dr. Fitrakis will make kicking corporate ads out of schools part of his education platform.


  4. 48thRonin
    48thRonin says:

    Ohio should follow the lead of states like Maine, where clean election monies have allowed great candidates like Pat LaMarche to have a credible chance to win the Maine governor’s race: http://www.pat2006.com

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