Jason Wuliger, elected on November 3, 2020 as the Lake County Commissioner, has resigned effective immediately.
There has been no public announcement about what prompted the resignation. This has to be a real shock to the Lake County Republican Party. They had high hopes that Mr. Wuliger would be using his extensive skill-sets for the betterment of all Lake County residents. He certainly had great potential for higher state or federal offices.
Lake County residents have lost a public servant with real upside potential. Running for future public office, although not impossible, will be very difficult since he left the Commissioner’s position before the first meeting.
The Republican Party will be appointing a replacement for the remaining 2 year term of office in the near future. Stay tuned.
Updated: 1/8/21 4:00 am
A “tip of the hat” to the News-Herald for their article:
Excerpts from the News-Herald article:
“My [Jason Wuliger] primary occupation has been managing a small investment firm,” he said. “Over the course of managing that business, my firm invested in a large number of companies, some publicly traded and some private. While I generally own a very small amount of any particular company, I recently learned that my ownership stakes make relevant several Ohio ethics laws.”
“Lake County government is a large operation with many complex components, each of which does business with a wide variety of companies, and the commissioners are required to authorize the spending of county dollars,” Wuliger added. “Were I to vote on, authorize, deliberate or discuss any county spending related to a company that I, a family member or a ‘business associate’ was involved with, several Ohio ethics laws could be implicated. That means that to ensure compliance with the laws, my knowledge of the investments of those family members and ‘business associates’ would be important.”
Wuliger emphasized the laws “make it clear” that, in many instances, recusal would not be enough to avoid violating them.
“In fact, violating these laws, which I would never do intentionally, could trigger penalties of up to 18 months in prison for each offense,” he said.”
The party has a maximum 45 days to do so, he added.”
LFC Comments: We appreciate Mr. Wuliger’s total honesty and transparency with the Lake County taxpayers. However, one question leads to another question:
(1) Why were these conflicts of interest not discovered in the vetting process by the Lake County Republican Party, or by Mr. Wuliger’s personal legal team prior to placing Mr. Wuliger’s name on the ballot? A lot of money has been wasted – personal, party and taxpayers.
(2) Do the Democrats or the Republicans have any vetting policies or procedures that would prevent any inadvertent mistakes, such as this, in the future? If they do not, we would suggest that they develop them quickly. Voters do not appreciate the political parties appointing their leaders.
As an FYI to our readers, the political parties are notorious for appointing their chosen loyal party member to a vacated position because that allows the appointee the “leg up” come election time to run as an incumbent. It is also a very sobering time for the loyal party member that has work tirelessly for the party, and “paid his or her dues to the party”, only to be shunned for a more “electable” candidate at the next election cycle. Also, those party members that can raise funds, or have special skills-sets needed by the party are moved to the front of the line. (Chris Galloway replacing Ed Zupancic for Lake County Auditor is a prime example.)
It will be interesting to see the political maneuverings in the next couple of weeks.
There are several qualified people that we can see holding this coveted position that may be used by politicians as a stepping stone to higher office – even if they say “I have no desire to hold higher office” when running for the Commissioner’s seat. [Note to the Don…isn’t that right Mr. Cirino?…Perennial politician Dan Troy is famous for bouncing around and making local political offices his personal playground ]
|By now, you may have heard of my decision to resign as Lake County Commissioner. This was an incredibly difficult and painful decision, and one that I really wish I did not have to make. I would like to explain why this had to happen.|
My primary occupation has been managing a small investment firm. Over the course of managing that business, my firm invested in a large number of companies, some publicly traded and some private. While I generally own a very small amount of any particular company, I recently learned that my ownership stakes make relevant several Ohio ethics laws.
Lake County government is a large operation with many complex components each of which does business with a wide variety of companies. The Commissioners are required to authorize the spending of county dollars. Were I to vote on, authorize, deliberate, or discuss any county spending related to a company that I, a family member, or a “business associate” was involved with, several Ohio ethics laws could be implicated.
That means that to ensure compliance with the laws my knowledge of the investments of those family members and “business associates” would be important. The laws make it clear that in many instances recusal would not be enough to avoid violating the law. In fact, violating these laws, which I would never do intentionally, could trigger penalties of up to 18 months in prison for each offense.
In order to try to come up with a resolution that would not require my resignation and would be fair to the county, I reached out to the County Prosecutor’s Office, the Ohio Ethics Commission, and several private attorneys who are respected for their knowledge in this area and I am grateful to all of them for their quick response. I have considered how to set up a compliance process that would allow me to continue to serve.
My conclusion is that to do so would require enormous efforts on the part of county employees, would cost the taxpayers money, and as I indicated in my resignation letter would require such a large effort from me personally that it would prevent me from devoting the time and attention to the role of Commissioner that the people of Lake County deserve.
My family and I are devastated. We all worked very hard, had tremendous supporters and volunteers, and there is a lot of good I hoped I could do as Commissioner. However, my fidelity to the law is unflinching. I felt that it was urgent that I act now, before there was even the possibility of my participating in a vote or any other action occurring that could find me on the wrong side of any of these laws.
Although I cannot serve the public in the way that I had intended, it is important for each of us, however we can, to help people improve their lives, communities, and country. I will not stop in my efforts to do so.