State Democrats visit Dayton, allege corruption in Republican-led state government

Republican say accusations are inaccurate and misplaced.

Ohio Democrats visiting Dayton on Friday lambasted the Republican-led state government, saying state leaders are corrupt and costing taxpayers by not repealing House Bill 6, refusing to pass fair district maps and more.

Ohio Republicans said these allegations are inaccurate and unfairly attributed.

As part of the Ohio Democratic Party’s “Cost of Corruption” tour to several parts of the state, Party Chair Elizabeth Walters and two Democratic statewide candidates spoke at Wholly Grounds in Dayton on Friday morning.

“At a time when too many Ohioans are worried about high costs and making ends meet, (Gov.) Mike DeWine and his fellow Republicans are making you pay the price for their corruption while Democrats are laser-focused on investing in working families,” said Walters.

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Democrats decried that under scandal-tainted House Bill 6, the state is paying subsidies to out-of-state coal plants to the tune of $287,000 every day, up to $1.8 billion by 2030. Democrats have pushed for the bill to be overturned entirely. Certain parts have been repealed after the law became the focus of a corruption investigation involving former House Speaker Larry Householder and others.

In an emailed response to the Dayton Daily News, Ohio Republican Party spokesman Dan Lusheck pointed out that 12 Ohio Democrats voted for House Bill 6, including Democratic state Senator Teresa Fedor who is running for lieutenant governor.

The Democrats also condemned the Republican-led Ohio Redistricting Commission for passing unconstitutional maps multiple times and throwing the primaries into chaos. It will cost taxpayers an extra $20 million to host a second primary election because state legislature maps are in limbo.

Lusheck blamed Democrats for the redistricting fiasco.

“Democrat front groups like Obama AG Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Ohio to achieve maps that will favor Democrats, costing hardworking Ohioans,” he said. “Ohio Democrats should look in the mirror — they are more than culpable.”

The Democratic candidate for state auditor, Taylor Sappington, and the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, Chelsea Clark, also spoke Friday in Dayton about how they would offer a better way forward for Ohio. Their primary races are uncontested, so they will face Republican incumbents Auditor Keith Faber and Secretary of State Frank LaRose in the Nov. 8 election.

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“I’m running for secretary of state because Ohio voters deserve a champion who is on their side, not one who caves to partisan pressure, only looks out for himself and leaves Ohioans to foot the bill,” said Clark, a member of Forest Park City Council.

Sappington, auditor of the city of Nelsonville in southeast Ohio, said Ohioans should not have to shell out for GOP corruption.

“I’m running to balance the books and catch some crooks. For too long we’ve had a governor, an auditor and a Republican controlled state government who have at best been asleep at the wheel and at worst been complicit and part of the worst period of corruption in Ohio history,” he said.

Allison Dumski, a spokeswoman for Faber, said claims of inaction against Faber speak to a lack of understanding of the legal authorities granted to the auditor’s office.

“The simple fact is, Auditor Faber has been fighting waste, fraud and abuse for years, including bringing 79 crooked public officials to justice, resulting in $2.7 million in restitution, issuing more than $10 million in findings for recovery last year alone, and uncovering $3.8 billion in unemployment fraud, the largest scam ever perpetrated against Ohio’s taxpayers,” she said.

One of the figures the Democrats highlighted was $118 million in improper Medicaid payments made by the state to ineligible dead or incarcerated individuals. Dumski said Faber’s office was responsible for identifying those improper payments.

Spokespeople for LaRose’s office did not return request for comment. DeWine’s campaign spokeswoman directed questions to the Ohio Republican Party.

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