Tag Archives: corruption

Dayton Tea Party Seeks Investigation of Ohio Municipal League & Ohio Township Association

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, on behalf of the Dayton Tea
Party and Dayton Tea Party President and Founder Rob Scott, yesterday filed in the Ohio Supreme Court a Public Records Complaint demanding Ohio Municipal League (OML) and Ohio Township Association (OTA) lobbying records.

Both the OML and OTA have used public funds to lobby against Ohio Estate Tax repeal and other tax cuts, property rights and the right to bear arms, and in favor of inflated state spending.

“The Dayton Tea Party is about empowering taxpayers,” said Rob Scott, founder of the Dayton Tea Party. “The bedrock of our government and what the Founding Fathers understood was open government. Local governments throughout Ohio are using taxpayer money in order to lobby the Ohio General Assembly for more taxpayer money. The organizations that are being provided the public’s money need some accountability. Ohioans have a right to know.”

The Ohio Municipal League is a non-profit organization that was created by city government officials, and is comprised of and funded by more than 250 cities and 680 villages. The Ohio Township Association is an association of Ohio townships whose membership contains 99.8 percent of all elected township trustees and township fiscal officers in Ohio.

Both groups exist and survive due to public funding, and invest these funds in advocacy for greater government spending, and against tax cuts and individual rights. Lately, both have heavily advocated for greater state spending on local governments and against repeal of Ohio’s worst-in-the-nation Estate Tax (80 percent of estate tax revenue is transferred to local governments).

Under the “Functional Equivalency Test” a nominally non-public Ohio entity can be subjected to the Public Records Act if it is the functional equivalent of a public office. The test’s factors include the level of government funding and the extent of government involvement or regulation.

The 1851 Center argues that the OML and OTA are the functional equivalent of public offices, as both organizations were created by, are funded by, and exist to serve local governments and public officials.

“Ohioans have a right to know the politically and ideologically-motivated ends to which their tax dollars are being put, and rise in opposition to those ends,” said 1851 Center Director Maurice Thompson.

“Through the OML and OTA, Ohio’s local officials tax their citizens and use these tax dollars to lobby for higher taxes yet, all the while escaping scrutiny for this agenda by running it through the OML or OTA. Citizens have a right to know exactly how and why their hard-earned money is being used like this.”

The rest of the story

RE: “Greene County snubs advocate of its interests,” Dayton Daily News, Friday, January 29, 2010. Greene County Commissioners Marilyn Reid and Alan Anderson were correct in significantly reducing taxpayer contributions to the Dayton Development Coalition (DDC), except their rationale for doing so didn’t reveal the whole story. True enough, the budget is tight, but even in good times our elected officials shouldn’t be throwing money over the fence to special interests without competition for that work, without value added and without oversight. That’s precisely what happened in 2005-2006 with the Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) Initiative Agreement between Greene County and the DDC. The simple truth is the only jobs protected by this effort were high priced consultants, lobbyists and career politicians who received kickbacks to their political campaigns. Here are the facts to support that assertion.

In 2005 and 2006, the last 21 months of the $1.9 million BRAC Initiative Agreement, the Dayton Development Coalition also received a $2.34 million Third Frontier grant through Development Research Corporation, a non-profit company fronting for the DDC. In 2005-2006 the DDC paid over $500,000 to their President and CEO, over $300,000 to a Washington lobbying firm currently under investigation by the FBI, $190,000 to Qbase which is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and over $200,000 to two other consultants, not to mention at least $50,000 on domestic and foreign travel.* Although this is just the tip of the iceberg, it’s hard to disagree that it reveals a broad pattern of self-dealing, waste and abuse, if not blatant corruption by the Dayton Development Coalition and their inner circle.

Ms. Reid and Mr. Anderson finally understand that Greene County and Ohio taxpayer dollars had minimum impact if any at all on saving or creating jobs at Wright Patterson. But what they did impact was the financial well-being of the special interests that recycled that money back to the politicians who in the end took credit for job creation they had nothing to do with. This is an insult to Greene County taxpayers, not to mention Wright Patt professionals that day in and day out provide the real value added to our warfighters who put everything on the line to protect our freedom and liberty.

*Source: BRAC Initiative Agreement, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Election Commission records and other documents obtained in a public records disclosure lawsuit against Greene County Commissioners (Case #: 2009CV0305).

Revolving door undermines public trust in government

By John Mitchel

RE: Local contractors under scrutiny for using paid military “mentors”, Dayton Daily News, December 30, 2009: Many consider Gen. Bill Creech as “father of the modern Air Force.”

During his distinguished career and before he died in 2003, Gen. Creech practiced and preached the notion that the most important responsibility of a leader is to train new leaders. “Mentoring” was on Gen. Creech’s short list of important tasks required to prepare Air Force leaders for the future. However, simultaneous receipt of $1600 a day mentoring fees plus a six-figure military pension plus hundreds of thousands in consulting fees from defense contractors doesn’t seem to fit Gen. Creech’s noble intentions of preparing Air Force leaders for challenges they may face in the future. Besides, each senior officer participating in the Air Force mentoring program has more than 30 years experience on active duty. That should be sufficient time to positively instill the core values of duty, honor, country in subordinates of all ranks, and especially the senior troops who more senior officers deal with on a daily basis.

“Mentors for hire” may seem abusive to some, but it pales in comparison to the ease and speed in which elected officials and their staff members pass through the “revolving door.” Take for example Congressman Dave Hobson, who retired a multi-millionaire after nearly 30 years of public service, then took a job as a lobbyist for Vorys Advisors, a subsidiary of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLC, a Columbus law firm. And let’s not forget Congressman Steve Austria’s wife Eileen, who moved from Congressman Dave Hobson’s District Director to Director of Sales and Marketing with Nextedge Development Corporation, a non-profit, tax exempt company 60-70 percent financed by tax dollars including federal earmarks requested by Dave Hobson and Third Frontier and other state funding sponsored by Steve Austria when he was in the Ohio General Assembly. It’s no wonder approval ratings for Congress are at all-time lows.

If the revolving door between government and the private sector should exist at all, it should be with two conditions; full and open disclosure, and a reasonable cooling off period, especially at the most senior levels. Instead, the usual suspects prefer to conceal their self-dealing with faceless private corporations, and more often than not, through non-profit, tax exempt entities financed mostly with taxpayer dollars. Term limits, self imposed or otherwise, would be a step in the right direction to mitigate the revolving door issue for federal elected officials. That would motivate our congressional leaders to act as citizen legislators who serve for a time, and then return to their home districts to enjoy the liberty and freedom they helped protect as representatives of the people. The longer we allow the self-dealing career politician mindset to prevail in Washington and Columbus, the closer we will come to America falling into the abyss.

John Mitchel was a candidate for Ohio governor in 1998 and ran for U.S. House of Representatives in the 7th Congressional District in 2008. In 2006 he wrote and self-published America at the Abyss: A View from the Heartland.

Sherrod Brown goes missing in action

By John Mitchel

RE: “Hobson always put jobs first during 18-year tenure,” by Sherrod Brown, Dayton Daily News, December 27, 2008. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown for as long as I can remember was a voice from the wilderness that spoke the truth on the North American Free Trade Agreement. He even had the courage of conviction to disagree on the issue with fellow Democrat Bill Clinton. But now that Brown and other NAFTA opponents are proven right by the “giant sucking sound” of jobs gone offshore, I’m disappointed he would try to rehabilitate the tarnished image of lame-duck Congressman, Dave Hobson. For Senator Brown to deal in glowing absolutes on Hobson’s pitiful record on job growth in the 7th Congressional District is unbecoming to the junior Senator from Ohio.

However Hobson has improved the job prospects for one sector of our economy, namely his special interest campaign contributors. Take for example his advocacy in steering $1.9 million in un-bid, taxpayer funded contracts toward the Dayton Development Coalition (DDC) which in turn noncompetitively awarded much of the work to The Greentree Group, a Beavercreek support contractor and Paul Magliochetti and Associates (PMA Group), a Washington lobbyist. Federal Election Commission records show that Greentree, PMA and DDC employees donated tens of thousands of dollars to “Hobson for Congress” before, during and after the 2003 sweetheart deal between Greene County Republicans and the DDC. It’s tragic that Senator Brown would offer a parting platitude to a politician who was part of the problem instead of one who recognized a failed policy and acted to correct it.

Secular Education

by Prof. Paul Eidelberg

According to one study, 97 percent of all teachers in Nazi Germany were members of the Nazi party. Many of these teachers taught the humanities, for example philosophy, literature, the fine arts. Many others taught various social sciences, such as sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology, history.

Clearly, the study and teaching of the humanities and the social sciences do not make people virtuous. We should not be surprised. For the prevailing doctrine in the humanities and the social sciences in our time is moral relativism, which holds that there are no objective standards of good and bad, right and wrong.

As for the exact sciences, such as physics and chemistry, they are more obviously “value-free” or ethically neutral. Still, how did German scientists respond to Nazism?

In Walter Moore’s Schrodinger: Life and Thought, we read: “There is no known instance in which a professor of physics or chemistry without any Jewish family ever made any open protest against Nazi activities. Even among the German intellectual elite, the scientists were conspicuously unanimous in this respect, since a few protests can be found among scholars in other fields.”

“It is true that after 1934 open opposition would have been dangerous … In the early years if Nazi power, however, opposition was not yet suicidal, and it was during 1933 and 1934 that the scientific establishment, led by Max Planck and Walter Nernst, washed its hands of the growing terror and concentrated on defending its own special privileges.”

Planck, the father of quantum physics, even sent a telegram to Hitler thanking him for his “benevolent protection of German science.” German science nonetheless suffered greatly from the expulsion of Jewish scientists from German universities and research institutes. This expulsion was welcomed by many German scientists, for it paved the way to their own personal advancement.

Science and technology can serve dictators as well as democrats. (Suffice to mention Iran’s nuclear weapons program.) Clearly, science does not make scientists or their societies decent, no more than teaching the humanities makes people humane.

Because secular education is morally free or ethically neutral, it cannot but corrupt youth. Whatever decency we experience today we owe to the influence of the Torah.

Unfortunately, the influence of the Torah in the non-Torah world is waning. The reversion to paganism is evident on American university campuses, where homosexuals feel quite at home. They and their academic defenders would have us believe that homosexuality is “progressive.” The truth is that tolerance of homosexuality is reactionary, a throwback to the paganism condemned by the Torah.

To sexual perversion add the nudity, pornography, and bloody violence purveyed by the entertainment media, which some semi-educated secular psychologists justify as providing an “escape valve” for repressed instincts.

Has it ever occurred to these educators of our youth that the nudity now commonplace in the cinema or on television is indicative of superficiality? Has it ever occurred to them that pornography, which reduces love to lust, generates vulgarity? Has it ever occurred to them that media violence undermines kindness and compassion?

Thanks very much to secular education and of course to those who profit from the commercial exploitation of sex and violence, people are more concerned about the quality of things that goes into their stomachs than the quality of things that goes into their minds — or into the minds of their children. But this is the inevitable consequence of contemporary democracy, whose supreme principle is unfettered freedom of expression.

Do not expect the high priests of democracy to reverse the logic of democracy, the religion of our times. Yesterday, Weimar Germany, a liberal democracy steeped in moral relativism spawned an unmitigated tyranny. Today, another liberal democracy steeped in moral relativism may make Barack Obama the President of the United States.

Source: Email commentary by Prof. Paul Eidelberg, president of the Foundation for Constituitional Democracy. His other writings are found at the Foundation website.

Prof. Eidelberg became professor of political science at Bar Ilan University in 1976 after writing a trilogy on America’s founding fathers: The Philosophy of the American Constitution, On the Silence of the Declaration of Independence, and a Discourse on Statesmanship. He also designed the electronic equipment for the first brain scanner at the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital.