“House Cleaning” needed in the Ohio Republican Party

Laura Rosenberger
Laura Rosenberger

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/2021/12/07/opinion-ohio-republican-party-needs-accountability-must-clean-house/8820267002/

Opinion: Ohio Republican Party needs accountability, must clean house

Laura Rosenberger / Opinion contributor / December 7, 2021

In politics, the abuse of power is unfortunately all too common. Ohio is no exception. From the dark legacies of Donald “Buz” Lukens and Jim Traficant to the state’s more recent Householder $60 million bribery scandal, politics can be a dirty business indeed.

There’s a reason why Ohio Democrats recently launched a new super PAC ahead of the 2022 election, focusing on Republican scandals. While the Democratic Party is anything but blameless, it is imperative for Republicans to keep their house in order. During an election cycle, you must do everything in your power to not give “the other side” ammunition. Transparency matters. Accountability is always a top priority.

On that front, Ohio Republicans have a long way to go. And there’s only one man to blame: Robert Paduchik, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. As a lifelong Republican whose goal is to protect and preserve our party, I take no pleasure in putting the blame on one person, but Paduchik is a serious problem for Republicans in Ohio. Under his leadership, the state party has demonstrated little transparency and even less accountability, giving Democrats plenty of fodder for 2022.

As a new lawsuit against Paduchik outlines, fiscal mismanagement runs rampant at the Ohio Republican Party. The five plaintiffs, including myself, have identified more than $3 million in missing funds with no adequate explanation. Paduchik and ORP Treasurer misreported the money, failing the nearly two million Ohio Republicans who put their trust in leadership. When we called him out on the missing funds, in a retaliatory move, Chairman Paduchik stripped us of our subcommittee assignments. This is a tactic traditionally employed by Democrats and not worthy of a Republican party chairman. In violation of party bylaws, Paduchik took it upon himself to play judge, jury and executioner.

That’s why Republicans are now taking him to court. Given our lawsuit, we demand a jury trial that can help locate the $3 million in missing funds. We request that the Franklin County Common Pleas Court allows us to inspect ORP books and records in search of the lost money. We urge the court to order the whistleblowers, who faced Paduchik’s wrath, be reinstated to their committee positions. Whistleblower retaliation is never acceptable.

I hope that all Ohioans stand up for accountability and transparency, even when it’s not politically prudent to do so. There is more to life than partisanship, and we should not be afraid to speak out against “our side. “On the issue of transparency, there is only one side: Right. On the issue of accountability, there is only one side, and it is not Paduchik’s.

Today’s world of hyper-polarization does not make it easy to call balls and strikes, supporting what’s right and opposing what’s wrong, wherever the culprits may stand politically. In the long-run, what’s best for the Ohio Republican Party is reform. What matters most is clearing out the wrongdoers and bringing in new faces that believe in accountability and transparency. 

Our fight goes beyond politics. Put 2022 aside: Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, political parties need to represent the interests of the people. That means being transparent and fiscally accountable. Fall short, and it’s time for reform. Paduchik and his enablers have fallen well short, and change is long overdue.

Only by cleaning house will the Ohio Republican Party survive and thrive. As Republicans, now is our time to be a model for the rest of Ohio. Let’s take advantage of it – and bring in new leadership.

Laura Rosenberger is a member of the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee. She lives in Springfield.

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Categories: State of Ohio

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