There is a swamp in Columbus too….

We received this from our fellow Lobbyists in Lorain County.  It impacts all of us since it deals with the corruption in our government in Columbus.

Dear Brian,

Cliff Rosenberger resigned from his position as Speaker of the Ohio House and the representatives met in Columbus yesterday and attempted to elect a new Speaker.  Representative Nino Vitale (District 85), a conservative representing Champaign, Logan and Shelby Counties, had this to report this morning about what took place in the State House yesterday.

Un-Friggin Believable! – I’d Rather Have a Government Pause Than This Corruption.

As you know, the former speaker, Cliff Rosenberger, resigned in disgrace and under a cloud of an FBI investigation. This has embarrassed the Ohio State House and our members. This is a time when government officials are not well liked and we need to be above reproach.

Then it was found out that one mega-donor, Ginni Ragan, had been giving millions to ‘select’ house members that would then ensure the legislation she wants is brought to the floor and they vote the way she wants, even if that conflicts with their district. One of many examples of this is Medicaid Expansion, which Ohio cannot afford but the hospitals love it because it’s a direct line of cash from the taxpayer to the bottom line of the hospital. It would probably be no surprise for you to learn that Ragan has a large financial interest in the hospitals around Ohio.

We were all called into town yesterday [May 15] to vote on a new speaker. Many asked me, who will you be voting for? I was aware of a few candidates but heard there could be a few more as well. Instead of locking in on a specific person, I decided to go to Columbus with a set of principles on who would be best for a speaker. I decided on the following;

1 – The person should be removed from the current cronyism and FBI investigation.
2 – The person should be distanced from the former speaker, Cliff.
3 – The person should not be a member of the current or past leadership team that Cliff had set up in case they too could be under investigation and we elect someone who then has to resign themselves.

I felt these were ‘common sense’ principles. Given all that is going on, someone who is removed from this process is good. And why elect someone that very well could be next on the FBI’s most wanted list in the Ohio House? Elect someone clean.

Three people were nominated. Dorothy Pelanda, who was a member of Cliff’s leadership team in the last session. Ryan Smith, who is currently the finance chair and was Cliff’s roommate, in a high rise, expensive apartment, all financed by Ragan herself who owns the apartment. And Andy Thompson, an outsider who is not in leadership and not part of the current or past teams that Cliff had put together. I know all three of these people and while this is not about personalities, in looking at my three (3) principles and listening to all three (3) candidates give their speeches, Rep. Andy Thompson was clearly my choice. This was not personal, just simply about the principles I had laid out.

The speaker pro tem informed us that a new speaker would need to get to 50 votes on the floor in order to secure the speaker’s gavel. That is where the election is official. Everything we were doing in yesterday was not official.

When the vote was taken, Smith had 42, Pelanda had 3 and Thompson had 20. I was frankly shocked that 42 of my colleagues in the house felt comfortable voting for someone like Smith who was Cliff’s roommate and righthand man and was on the take from Ragan, the mega donor, living in her high-class apartment with Cliff. Why elect someone so close to all this scandal who very well could be the next person to drop and resign? Wow!

42 votes were not enough to meet the threshold of the 50 needed to vote on the floor. So a standing vote was taken of those who refused to vote for Smith on the floor in public. This standing vote was intended to embarrass us and make us targets to other members could start beating on us to change our vote and ‘get in line.’ I’m proud to say I was one of 18 members who held strong and stood up to say NO to swamp politics and corruption.

I simply do not understand how 42 members could vote for someone like this. I learned yesterday that Smith used his money to try and get a Democrat elected in Franklin County, who was running as a Republican. This person never voted Republican in his life, but yet Smith, because he wanted him for his speaker vote, agreed to fund a Democrat to the tune of thousands of dollars, and tried to defeat the Republican. This is swamp politics at its best. Without 8 of us 18, they did not have the votes and had to suspend session for today [May 16]. I had many reps tell me we need to get to the ‘people’s business’ and there were ‘important bills’ that needed to get passed. Well, why didn’t you pass those bills the last 18 months when you had the chance? We are only talking about 1 or 2 session days left for voting until the fall. I say let’s let these investigations play out over the summer and see who might be next. There are potentially other members of the House and bills that could be under investigation. Should we really be voting on bills that could be illegal or improper? I think the people are better served by a government ‘pause’ to sort this out rather than pay to play government where megadonors are funding select members who then get their bills on the floor and passed and the FBI has to step in. That’s not government of, by and for the people! One rep actually told me, people don’t know what’s going on back home in my district and they don’t know about FBI investigations and don’t know the name Cliff Rosenberger. You need to get in line and not shut the House down and vote for Smith. Well, maybe my district is more informed as people ask me about this all the time. See most of the Reps like it when you aren’t informed, because you can’t beat on us for things you don’t like. I don’t mind at all. That’s why I ran for office, to represent YOU!

I’d rather have a government ‘pause’ than a corrupt swamp government passing bills that may be pay to play and rigged by a few megadonors and their financial interests. These swamp creatures actually had the nerve to put the pay day lending bill on the floor schedule for a vote today which is a likely main target of the FBI investigation! You have got to be kidding me! I hope my other 17 colleagues stand firm. No government is better than this corruption. As for now, session has been cancelled for today and no speaker has been elected. Again, I’d rather take care and have a pause then continue on as business as usual, which is defined as pay to play, resignations, mega donors, republicans funding democrats and FBI investigations.

It’s my honor to serve you and I am doing my part to make government honorable and above reproach. I guess Trump would call that, draining the swamp. I’m dealing with 42 out of 65 Republican swamp creatures who voted for more corruption. Un-friggin-believable! Yes, I’m ticked off and I’ll fight this!

Here is more on the story about Rosenberger and Rep. Nathan Manning (District 55) is mentioned.  “State Rep. Nathan Manning, a Lorain County Republican who traveled to London as Rosenberger’s guest, also declined to say whether he’d been interviewed by the FBI.”  Here is another briefing on yesterday in the State House.

Rep. Dick Stein (District 57) represents Southern and Eastern portions of Lorain County.

Rep. Dan Ramos (District 56) is the third representative for Lorain County in the Ohio House but would not have participated in the House Speaker voting Rep. Vitale describes above.

It would be good to know which House Speaker candidate Rep. Nathan Manning and Rep. Dick Stein voted for yesterday.  We want to be informed.

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