Ohio Republican Party in Turmoil…”nuclear option” on the table

LFC Comments: We agree with the statement heard in Republican circles that the current Republican Party will not save our Republic. This is quite a condemnation of the existing Party leaders at the national and State level. However, when the State party elites do an “end run” around the State Central Committee, it should be a wake-up call for most engaged, patriotic Republicans.

The Democrats and the RINO’s could not be happier, and they are expecting the State Central Committee Members to just “suck it up” and do as your told!

Let us share the following information we received as the patriotic Republicans are about to use the “nuclear option” because of the tactics of a few Party elites.

Ah yes, what a tangled web we weave when we first set out to deceive….

*****

FREEDOM TO CHOOSE

Why the Ohio Republican Party needs Ethical Reform NOW!

We all know instinctively that when we go to the deli and see the butcher put their thumb on the scale – that this practice is both unethical and illegal.

We know that if we catch the butcher placing his thumb on the scale that he is at the very least defrauding us and that if we do not report the act to law enforcement the butcher will continue to steal from us and other patrons. At the very least, we all should make the decision to not patronize that deli again. Some may even feel that they have a duty to their fellow man to stand up and do what is right and report the butcher.

Guess what? Ohio Republicans are consciously making the decision to not be “patrons” (members) of the Republican party because they do not see enough Republicans in charge standing up for what is right. They see SCC content with the status quo (political elites placing their thumb on the scale). The status quo is supremely arrogant individuals that believe they must make political decisions for the public because those in the public are too dumb to make intelligent decisions on their own. The way the Ohio Republican Party makes money is to attach themselves at the hip to candidates like a leech instead of standing for a platform of conservative solutions with a mission and vision to get things done. Our ORP will not champion state issues and hold candidates accountable to a State Republican platform. They have refused to do their duty in creating a State – based platform for many years. This reached an obvious and overt crescendo when former Governor John Kasich spoke at the Democrat National Convention and former Chairman Matt Borges joined with Democrats on the Lincoln Project to steal the election from President Trump. The party has become an amorphous ever-shifting blob of political sand with no backbone.

We believe, at the Committee for a Better Ohio, that the State Central Committee has a very important job to do. That it should do so with the honesty of an Eagle Scout and with the fierceness of a Marine.

The truth is that political organizations, such as parties are essential to the proper conduct of government – city, county, state, or national. America has a government “of the parties and by the parties” which is a result of the free assembly of the people. Political parties bring people together to enact proper controls on the government, develop policies favorable to their interests or the groups that support them, and organize and persuade voters to elect their candidates to office. Without the effective organization of the parties by the people, there would be no competent parties representing the will of the people in government. When political parties become weak and ineffective due to poor organization and complacency, then a government incompetent in representing the will of the people is a result.

“With great power comes great responsibility”

Stan Lee of Marvel Comics may have made up this adage for comic book great the Amazing Spiderman, it is however, so relevant to party politics. With the great power of party politics comes the thoughts of evil men to corrupt and game the system of the party.

Every time party leadership tries to unfairly engineer the system in favor of a “selected” candidate our freedom of choice is diminished. The invisible hand of the market is compromised and a monopoly can, and will form. Many of us call these monopolies the swamp.

Political monopolies do not benefit Ohio Republicans nor help to march conservative issues down the field towards the goal post. Monopolies enrich and empower those that run the monopoly.

Certainly, this does not mean that the party cannot win elections, it has and continues to win elections – but every year true Republicans become disenchanted with the party. Support for Common Core, support for Obamacare, support for higher taxation, support of Critical Race Theory, support for BLM, the support of the changing of gender on birth certificates, failure to pass photo identification requirements, etc…etc…these failures continue to plague the party in turning Ohio into a solidly red State.

Yet, Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan easily won this state with decidedly much more conservative messages. The reason why we cannot get more conservatives elected is due to the Republican elites putting their thumb on the scale and illicitly choking out their more conservative competition. Underhanded, unsportsmanlike, cheating, dishonorable, dishonest, shady, and dodgy are all adjectives used to describe party leadership that come with consequences.

The Ohio Republican party should strive to ensure fairness, transparency and to make certain that the will of the people is not ignominiously engineered but is derived through competition of political campaigns and education of the candidates and the policies they support.

It is very important for all political organizations to be above board and transparent in all their dealings and activities. Besides compliance – being honest and transparent helps to foster trust and engenders greater giving and better volunteer efforts. How much more dominant could the Ohio Republican party be if they embraced ethical behavior?

The Committee for a Better Ohio was shocked by the revelation that the Ohio Republican Party has donated in excess of $870,000 to Mike DeWine and over $550,000 to David Yost, both candidates have yet to be endorsed. The much more troubling and disconcerting vista was that most of the Republican State Central Committee (SCC) members were caught unaware of this transpiring. Are the members asleep at the wheel?

The bylaws for the Ohio Republican State Central Committee are very poorly written (to the point that they are a joke…thanks Brickler and Eckler) but pretty specific on endorsements and funds being distributed. However, no one on the State Central Committee wants to report any wrongdoing even though they believe wholeheartedly that what has transpired is wrong by every reasonable standard. Most are fearful of retribution by State Republican leadership and some fear for the loss of their job or loved one’s job because they work for the State or were appointed by the Governor.

The Details

To be perfectly clear, the $559,774.59 worth of transactions to Dave Yost through the Ohio Republican Party State Candidate fund violates the Ohio Revised Code 3517.102(B)(6)(b)(i). This amount was distributed from the Ohio Republican Party (ORP) State Candidate’s fund and is over the $500,000 allowable threshold by law.

The distributions made to the DeWine Campaign fund are just as questionable. The report on the Secretary of State’s website classifies the $500,000 as coming from an individual that has the same address as the address of the Ohio Republican Party headquarters. It is not a non-individual transaction (which means it is classified as coming from an individual and not the party – which is troubling – as there are no individuals that live at party headquarters.) There was also $370,967.68 that was donated from the state candidates fund to put the total in excess of $870k given to the DeWine campaign.

The explanation for the dollar value above the legal limit that has been given to many SCC members is that Ohio law allows for joint fundraising with the party that allows a candidate to exceed maximum donations by having a joint fundraising contract with the ORP. Yet, all the SCC members that we have talked to know of no joint fundraising contracts that they have approved.

Keep in mind that section 7 of article 3 of the ORP bylaws state “No officer or member of the Committee shall have any power to bind this Committee by any financial contract or obligation except as provided by these rules, or by resolution properly adopted by a majority of the members of the Committee present and voting and properly recorded by the Secretary in the minutes of the Committee. “

And further the bylaws state that Article 6 Section 2 Paragraph d that “ORP candidate services will only be used in a primary campaign when the candidate is supported in accordance with the primary policy guidelines.“

In talking with many of the State Central Committee members, they do not recollect adopting primary policy guidelines and none of them have voted to endorse any candidate. This would seem to indicate that misappropriation of funds occurred. In Ohio, misappropriations of funds is a type of criminal embezzlement with harsh penalties for public officials that breach the public’s trust. Ohio Revised Code 2913.02 states “No person, with purpose to deprive the owner of property or services, shall knowingly obtain or exert control over either the property or services……Without the consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent”

The property in question here are the funds of the party (SCC funds). The ability to distribute these funds are dependent upon consent (authorization) by the SCC. The only way this could happen is with a properly adopted resolution. According to the bylaws, Bob Paduchik and Dave Johnson absolutely cannot unilaterally decide to write a check or provide support to an unendorsed candidate without a properly adopted resolution.

But let’s say there was the language in the ORP bylaws that possibly allows Bob Paduchik and Dave Johnson to make unilateral disbursements to candidates of their choosing (therby making the State Central Committee irrelevant.) This type of transaction would still be illegal under Ohio’s ethics laws.

So the question then goes to whose idea was it and who approved the disbursements? Both Bob and Dave have a conflict of interest.

There has been no end to the speculation that the only reason for Bob Paduchik to take the job as chairman was to ensure another four years for Mike DeWine. Bob, after all, worked on DeWine’s Senate campaign in the 1990’s. Bob Paduchik has had a business relationship with Mike DeWine. The treasurer of the ORP (David Johnson) has told the Committee for a Better Ohio that he highly supports and endorses Mike DeWine. David Johnson is also a political appointee to the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s compensation by DeWine. Given David and Bob Paduchik’s relationship with the Governor, they absolutely have to recuse themselves as public officials from any votes and decisions for the ORP to support Mike DeWine – they cannot even legally make calls to try to influence support for Mike DeWine.

Just about any way you try to slice it, there was a law broken in distributing funds to Mike DeWine. The question is now, how serious is the violation?

Do the Right Thing

We know that the ORP has given to many of the Statewide candidates without them being endorsed by the SCC – that is literally the definition of the thumb on the scale. Yet, most SCC members knew nothing about these distributions in advance and were caught unaware. Are they asleep at the wheel? Or, is it that leadership is conspiring behind their backs? A good chairman keeps their members informed and educated. It is inexcusable that the Chairman did not keep all SCC members informed.

If we want to preserve our freedom to choose – each candidate can pay back the funds plus interest -or- the ORP should make equal contributions to their competitor’s campaigns. We all know full well that this will not happen.

If you have had enough of the games being played – now is the time to stand up and be heard and fight back. Or, you are one of the people that is okay with the butcher’s thumb on the scale and you are one that is okay with having your freedom of choice diminished.

Even if you are supportive of Mike DeWine and David Yost, you can still be against these transactions that make a mockery of the value of the SCC.

What can you do?

  1. You can write your State Central Committee member and voice your frustration with unethical behavior. You can encourage them to provide an affidavit to the Franklin County Prosecutor of possible wrongdoing (misappropriation of funds while in office).

    Franklin County Prosecutor
    The Honorable G. Gary Tyack
    373 S High St.
    Columbus, OH 43215
  1. You can write your State Central Committee member and encourage them to sue Republican leadership for misappropriation of funds.
  2. You can write your County Central Committee member and voice your frustration with the State Central Committee and urge them to draft a resolution of no-confidence of the SCC.
  3. You can send an affidavit to the Ohio Elections Commission using the information provided in this letter. We will be providing you a link of an example affidavit.

    Ohio Elections Commission
    Suite 1850 Riffe Center
    77 South High St.
    Columbus, Ohio 43215
  1. You can call the Ohio Ethics Commission and request and allegation form:
    (614) 466-7090

*****

Dear State Central Committee Member,

The revelation that a minimum of $870,000 of Ohio Republican Party funds were given to Mike DeWine’s gubernatorial committee should be the last straw for those that want an Ohio Republican Party (ORP) that acts in an above-board and ethical manner. Transferring in excess of three-quarters of a million dollars to an unendorsed candidate without clearly disclosing this transaction in advance to  State Central Committee (SCC) members – was not just a mistake – it should be a lightning rod signal to clean house of everyone that knew of this but said nothing. It is a gross violation of trust and ethics.

It is clear that there are those serving on the SCC, by virtue of their silence, who are okay with this potential and illegal and unethical behavior. Are you enraged – or will you stay silent and let this behavior continue unabated?

As an SCC member, this behavior, if allowed to continue, is a direct reflection upon you. Now is the time for you to act and stand up for what is self-evident and be an outspoken proponent of doing the right thing.

The constant machinations of putting their fingers on the scales for one candidate, for the political elites – are as inventive as they are ludicrous – equally so, are the mental gymnastics that one has to traverse to attempt to explain this behavior away as legal, ethical, and normal. Cliff Rosenberger, Matt Borges, the defection of John Kasich to being a Democrat ally, Larry Householder, Jane Timken (saying that she would not support endorsements before the primary before doing an about-face) and now Bob Paduchik, and David Johnson (making the State Central Committee irrelevant by disbursing funds to a candidate that is not endorsed).

Ohio Republicans are not that demanding other than they enjoy and embrace honesty and ethical conduct. All of our questions as Republicans should be “When will the honesty begin? Is the only way for our party to win – is to lie, cheat, and steal? How are we better than the Democrats if we allow these practices to disenfranchise the natural outcome of debate and campaigns?”

We need a new tone, tenor, and environment with which to conduct business in an ethical fashion. We need ORP 2.0 in the worst possible way.

We do not disagree that donors that had already made a maximum donation to the DeWine campaign were directed to make a donation to the Ohio Republican Party State Candidate Fund. There is nothing illegal or unethical about that. ORP fundraisers should have disclosed to donors that there is no guarantee that those additional donations made to the party will go to the DeWine campaign because he is not an endorsed candidate, nor has he won the primary yet.

There is a maximum donation limit set by law for a candidate for a reason. This is so that a few rich special interests cannot put their thumb on the scale for their candidate and thereby disenfranchise the vast majority of Republicans. This is also the reason why there is a tradition among many Republican Central Committees to not make an endorsement or expend funds and resources on candidates until after the primary. The practice of promising to earmark funds for donors to their candidates is a circumvention of the law and is called money-laundering. Money-laundering is no laughing matter and severe penalties are attached to such efforts to undermine Ohio’s elections laws.

So, let’s say the funds put into the general State Candidate’s account were not promised and earmarked in a money-laundering scheme meant to circumvent campaign finance laws and enrich the coffers of Mike DeWine. Let’s say, for a moment, that Bob Paduchik and David Johnson unilaterally made that decision. That would be an effective endorsement. At the point that two people can make such a unilateral endorsement – then what purpose does the State Central Committee serve?

The ORP bylaws are an extension of Ohio State Law and do not empower the Treasurer or Chairman to make such unilateral decisions. Common sense and good business practices would have prevented such a transaction from occurring if there was a fear that such actions could possibly be considered deception.

Of course, the ORP bylaws are so poorly written that those that should be facing an investigation and possible jail time will likely be able to wiggle their way out of an investigation and avoid prosecution by claiming ignorance and tradition.

The SCC and the ORP need to just stop now and look at what they are doing. Now is the time to make the ORP great again.

We need a new set of bylaws and the SCC is incapable of coming up with them on their own. The SCC and the ORP need a code of ethical conduct that leadership cannot play a part in developing. The ORP desperately needs a state-based platform to define the party. The only way we can accomplish this is by having a State Convention for the Republican Party.

We have not had an Ohio Republican Convention in over 40 years. Whenever a party becomes so corrupt that it is deaf to the will of registered Republicans – it is time to have a convention to put it back on track.

We are asking you to work with County Republican leadership to call for a criminal investigation and call for a Republican State Convention in March of 2022 to make the ORP Great Again!

Will you help be part of the answer?

Sincerely,

*****

Resolution

Whereas the Ohio Republican Party has distributed funds in excess of $750,000 to the Gubernatorial Campaign of Mike DeWine before winning the primary election and without being endorsed.

Whereas the Ohio Revised Code 3517.102(B)(6)(b)(i) specifically states “No state candidate fund of a state or county political party shall make a transfer or a contribution or transfers or contributions of cash or cash equivalents to a designated state campaign committee in a primary election period or in a general election period aggregating more than: …(I) Five hundred thousand dollars to the campaign committee of any one statewide candidate.”

Whereas the Ohio Republican Party has distributed funds to the Gubernatorial Campaign of Mike DeWine without a properly adopted resolution from the State Central Committee and without being officially endorsed.

Whereas a misappropriation of funds is an unlawful act of knowingly and intentionally using funds or property for a use other than an authorized purpose.

Whereas the Ohio Revised Code 2913.02 states “No person, with purpose to deprive the owner of property or services, shall knowingly obtain or exert control over either the property or services……Without the consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent”

Whereas the Ohio Revised Code 2913.02 effectively states that anyone guilty of violating 2913.02 “If the value of the property or services is seven hundred fifty thousand dollars or more and is less than one million five hundred thousand dollars, a violation of this section is aggravated theft, a felony of the second degree.”

Whereas article three, section seven, of the Ohio Republican Party State Central & Executive Committee bylaws state No officer or member of the Committee shall have any power to bind this Committee by any financial contract or obligation except as provided by these rules, or by resolution properly adopted by a majority of the members of the Committee present and voting and properly recorded by the Secretary in the minutes of the Committee.”

Whereas article six, section two, paragraph (a) of the Ohio Republican Party State Central & Executive Committee bylaws, state “The Committee (State Central Committee) may endorse non-incumbent statewide candidates in Republican primaries for the offices of President, United States Senator, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer of State, Auditor of State and Attorney General provided that two-thirds (2/3) of the seated members Committee (but not including vacancies in the Committee) first votes in the affirmative to endorse. Each race shall be considered separately.”

Whereas article six, section two, paragraph (b) of the Ohio Republican Party State Central & Executive Committee bylaws, state “The Committee (State Central Committee) may endorse incumbent statewide officials, incumbent state legislators, incumbent members of Congress, incumbent members of the State Board of Education, and incumbent members of the Committee. The Committee may also endorse in each Ohio Supreme Court primary and in primaries for state legislative races and Congressional races in accordance with policy guidelines adopted by the Committee.”

Therefore be it resolved, that this committee can find no evidence that authorized the expenditures made to the Gubernatorial campaign of Mike DeWine.

Be it further resolved, that the distributions made to the DeWine Gubernatorial campaign is believed to be criminal and this committee demands that the State Central Committee pursue this gross breach of trust with vim and vigor in association with law enforcement.

Be it further resolved, that this committee demands that the State Central Committee demands restitution of the funds in question from the DeWine Gubernatorial Campaign.

Be it further resolved, that this committee believes the distribution of funds to the DeWine Gubernatorial campaign appears to intentionally circumvent and violate Ohio’s campaign finance laws.

Be it further resolved, that this committee no longer has confidence in state leadership and believes the only solution to restoring trust with Ohio’s registered Republicans is with the removal of the State Central Committee’s treasurer, chairman, and managing director of the party.

Be it further resolved, that this committee believes that any attendance of State Central Committee members to any event hosted by the Governor or his Gubernatorial committee to celebrate the State Central Committee will convey to the public at large and registered republicans a conspiracy to award an endorsement to the Governor by ignominious and illicit means.

Be it further resolved, that this committee is announcing its intent to join with a majority of Republican County Central Committees to call for a State Convention in 2022. We hereby request the State State Central Committee to set a date, time, and place in March of 2022 for a convention for the purposes of adopting new bylaws for the State Central Committee, choosing a new Chairman, adopting a State Platform, and potentially endorsing or not endorsing State and Federal candidates.

Be it further resolved, that this resolution be transmitted to the Secretary of the Ohio Republican State Central Committee, to the prosecutor of Franklin County Ohio, to the Ohio Attorney General, to local media outlets, and posted on social media and committee websites if they exist.

*****

AFFIDAVIT

_______________________________________                      ___XXX-X- ___________________________

AFFIANT                                                                   SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (4 digits)

________________________________________                    _______________________________________

ADDRESS 1                                                               DATE OF BIRTH

________________________________________                    _______________________________________

ADDRESS 2                                                               SEX

________________________________________                                _______________________________________

CITY, STATE, ZIP                                                      EMAIL

________________________________________                    ________________________________________

COUNTY                                                                    PHONE

BEFORE ME, personally came ________________(Your Name Printed)__________ who, being of sound mind and being duly sworn according to law, deposes and makes the following complaint when they realized that laws may have been broken beginning on or about the ___(9th)_________ of ______(August)____ in the year of ___(2021)__. The affiant has been a registered member of the Ohio Republican Party for X years and is currently a registered Republican in the County of X. (add this if you are a county central committee member) The affiant is an elected (or appointed) member of the Republican (County name here) County Central Committee. (State other positions with the party, if any, and those at the County level as well.)

ALLEGATIONS

 On August 3rd, 2021 – I was made aware of a story in the Ohio Star. The story claimed that the Ohio Republican Party distributed more than $750,000 to Mike DeWine’s Gubernatorial campaign this year (2021).

The story can be found here:

I then confirmed with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office that this did occur by downloading the “Party Expenditures-OHIO REPUBLICAN PARTY (STATE CANDIDATE FUND)-2021” from their website.

The link to the download can be found here:

https://www6.ohiosos.gov/ords/f?p=119:73:0:101677873215429 .

I found that there was an excess of $500,000 given to the Dave Yost campaign which appears to violate the law.

Here is a blow-up of the pertinent section:

After seeking counsel and much discussion with other Republicans I suspect that there can be no other interpretation of these actions other than that there was a willful intent or ignorance of the law to violate Ohio Revised Code 3517.102(B)(6)(b)(i) that specifically states “No state candidate fund of a state or county political party shall make a transfer or a contribution or transfers or contributions of cash or cash equivalents to a designated state campaign committee in a primary election period or in a general election period aggregating more than: …(I) Five hundred thousand dollars to the campaign committee of any one statewide candidate.”

Mike DeWine is a Statewide candidate and as I understand it if donations are made to his campaign they are most properly made from the State Candidates Fund according to the Ohio State Campaign Finance Handbook Chapter 5. The language in the handbook suggests that it would be illegal to distribute money from anything other than a Statewide Candidate’s fund.

Going back to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website FTP down load page found here: https://www6.ohiosos.gov/ords/f?p=119:73:0:101677873215429

I downloaded the Candidate Contributions-DEWINE HUSTED FOR OHIO-2021 file.

Here, I found the $870,967.68

Here is the blow-up:

As you can see on the spreadsheet that there is an unusual entry for $500,000 in the first line of the spreadsheet. It is an entry as a donation was made from an individual with a residence that shares the same address as the Ohio Republican Party.

It is not marked as coming from the Ohio Republican Party.

If the only means of distribution of funds to a Statewide candidate is through the Ohio Republican Party State Candidate’s Fund then the party would be in violation of Ohio Revised Code 3517.102(B)(6)(b)(i).

In asking Republican State Central Committee members about the transaction, they stated that they were as unaware of the transaction as I was before it was brought to their attention by the same Ohio Star article.

The State Central Committee members conveyed that they did not pass a resolution to endorse any Statewide Candidates nor did they adopt any primary policy guidelines.  The Ohio Republican Party (ORP) bylaws state that Article 6 –  Section 2 – Paragraph d, that “ORP candidate services will only be used in a primary campaign when the candidate is supported in accordance with the primary policy guidelines.“ and that in Article 3 – Section 7 of the ORP bylaws state “No officer or member of the Committee shall have any power to bind this Committee by any financial contract or obligation except as provided by these rules, or by resolution properly adopted by a majority of the members of the Committee present and voting and properly recorded by the Secretary in the minutes of the Committee. “

Since State Central Committee Members do not recall the necessary motions needed to authorize the financial distribution to these state candidates the appearance of the “misappropriation of funds” seems to be likely to have occurred. I believe this warrants an investigation.

Discussion of the financial transactions was conveyed to me through Ohio Republican State Central Committee members Mark Bainbridge and Laura Rosenberger.

Additionally, it seems that if the decision to approve these disbursements was made unilaterally by the Chairman and/or the Treasurer of the Ohio Republican Party that ethics violations may have been made. The ORP chair has a business relationship with the Governor and the Treasurer is a gubernatorial appointee.

Thank you for your swift and comprehensive attention to this matter.

*****



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