Tag Archives: ethics

Mitchel calls for Steve Austria to withdraw from congressional race

Former Air Force Lieutenant Colonel John Mitchel, who is opposing Steve Austria in the May 4th Republican primary, called for Steve Austria to withdraw from the race. Mitchel says he is merely following guidelines established by State GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine. According to Mitchel, in January 2009, Kevin DeWine put together a 10-point plan to rehabilitate the Ohio Republican Party torn apart by Coingate and other scandals. Mitchel says one of those points is to “Enforce a zero-tolerance policy for misconduct.” He lists the following examples of what he believes to be misconduct by Steve Austria and his spouse, Eileen, who for almost two decades was District Director for former Congressman Dave Hobson.

1. Nepotism: Steve Austria’s influence with campaign contributors associated with the Turner Foundation led to a job for Mrs. Austria at non-profit Nextedge Development Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Turner Foundation, another non-profit corporation based in Springfield .

2. Failure to disclose Mrs. Austria ’s employment with Nextedge: Steve Austria attempted to conceal on his federal Financial Disclosure Statement Mrs. Austria ’s employment with Nextedge. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is investigating. (FEC Matter Under Review ( MUR ) 6240)

3. Failure to disclose on his Financial Disclosure Statement Mr. and Mrs. Austria’s membership on the Dayton Development Coalition’s Wright Patt 2010 Committee from 2003 to 2007: As members of the Committee, Mr. and Mrs. Austria helped steer no-bid contracts financed by Greene County taxpayers to the PMA Group, a Washington lobbying firm raided by the FBI in November 2008 and now under investigation for illegal campaign contributions in exchange for earmarks, including contributions to Steve Austria and Dave Hobson. (Source: Center for Public Integrity, September 2009) Greene County Commissioners Anderson, Perales and Reid can confirm that the FBI has taken custody of 26 boxes of related documents from the Dayton Development Coalition with cooperation from the Greene County Prosecutor’s office.

4. Mrs. Austria’s illegal use of Dave Hobson’s Member Representational Account (MRA) in the last two months of her employment as Dave Hobson’s District Director: The Federal Election Commission is investigating allegations that while Mrs. Austria was still working as Dave Hobson’s District Director, she abused that position to raise over $221,000 for her husband’s congressional campaign from 246 donors from October 27, 2007 to December 31, 2007. (FEC Matter Under Review (MUR) 6240)

Mitchel commented, “Our campaign is in full agreement with Kevin DeWine in that the Ohio Republican Party should enforce a zero-tolerance policy for misconduct by its elected officials and candidates. Now it’s time to hold Kevin DeWine accountable and demand that whether or not Steve Austria withdraws from the May 4th primary, the Republican Party will aggressively cooperate with the ongoing investigation. To do otherwise will further undermine the credibility of Ohio Republican Party leadership and could bring the entire ticket down in November.”

Public Perception of Political and Business Ethics

In the March AEI Political Report, a compilation of various polls of public opinion is presented to give a composite view of America’s perception of its current state of affairs. The Report includes perceptions about Obama, personal finance as well as economic trends, taxation, global warming, balance of power, the current international hot spots Iran, Cuba, and Afghanistan, job satisfaction, and even a parental do and don’t list.

In this post, ethics will be the focus.

The trend of public opinion about honesty in politics has has steadily declined since the 1940s. In 1948, Americans were asked whether it was almost impossible for a person to stay honest after entering into politics. Forty-eight percent (48%) agreed that it was. By 1997, 55% said it was nearly impossible to remain honest in politics. Twelve years later 55% said the ethical standards of Congressmen and Congresswomen were very low, while only 9% said they were high. Although the question was different, the perception of political corruption remained the same.

I wonder whether the 36% were too afraid to say what they believed.

The general public perception of business ethics didn’t fare any better.
Although the survey data did not provide a historical perspective like was seen above, it did reveal how low a view Americans have of business management compared to helping profession like nursing and law enforcement.

In 2002, Americans (34%) regarded CEOs more ethical than they did in 2009. In fact, the percent of Americans who regarded CEOs as ethical dropped to 22 percent. Maybe the Enron scandal was factor. Nevertheless, the figures also reveal that 66% American regard CEOs are scoundrels.

Compared to bankers, car salesmen, stockbrokers, politicians, HMO managers, and insurance sales people, CEOs are nearly saints. Of the lot, 12% of Americans said bankers were ethical. Less than 10% of American considered any of the rest as ethical.

These poll results tell us that Americans are willing to put up with both a corrupt system of governance as well as corrupt marketplace. Why?

Steve Austria’s Desperate Political Sliming of Ron Hood

Who said dirty politics is reserved for lawyers and wannabe lawyers on Capitol Hill? Don’t be fooled it’s for those trying to get their too. Like his mentor, Steve Austria is mired in the muck of dirty tactics because he obviously fears Ron Hood may win.

In case you have not heard of Steve Austria or Ron Hood, these two politicians are running for the U.S. House of Representatives. Austria is the current Ohio Senate majority leader. He is a Beavercreek Ohio businessman not a lawyer like his mentor Dave Hobson, who is retiring from his career job on Capitol Hill. Remember those words. Hobson is a career politician who never wrote a law and he is Austria’s mentor.

Ron Hood also is a businessman and the son-in-law of Bill and Pam Dean. The Dean family is one of Xenia’s prominent entrepreneurs in the service sector. Hood served in the Ohio House of Representative from 1995-2000 and 2005-2006. Unlike Austria who is endorsed only by several party organizations, Hood is endorsed by a number of family associations like Family First, Moms for Ohio and Citizens for Community Values, by several gun owners associations, and by the Chamber of Commerce.

What inspired this post was a slick mailer I received yesterday from Austria. The sliming of Ron Hood advertisement says Hood voted with democrats 80% of the time. Austria’s glossy green with yellow letters oversize postcard accuses Hood of being a RINO, which means a Republican in name only. On the front and back, it says Ron Hood is a Democrat. The real interesting thing about Austria’s sliming tactic is found in the small print. That’s right, in small print Austria acknowledges his accusations are based only on 3 bills and not on Hood’s entire record. Out of the hundreds of bills Hood sponsored and the many more he voted on only House Bill 66, House Bill 23, and House Bill 160 are used as proof of Hood being an undercover liberal. I checked the huge budget bill House Bill 66. I found conservatives Dewine and Widener voting with the Democrats on a lot of legislative items too. Does that make them liberals too?

It is obvious Austria is a real political desperado willing to do any thing to win. It also shows what kind of politician he really is.

From only 3 budget bills, Austria accuses Hood of voting against legislation like cutting family income taxes, eliminating unfair business taxes, cutting government spending, creating tougher sex offender laws, giving employers of convicted felons a tax break (House Bill 160), voting for a gutted version of law to regulate strip clubs (House Bill 23). All of that and more from just 3 bills.

If we consider Hood’s entire record, it becomes apparent that he actually worked to cut taxes and government spending. Yes, he opposed Gov. Taft aggressive tax and spend policies, which mean he is guilty of voting with Democrats on those types of bills. He even had the audacity to propose or support bills to eliminate some of the bureaucracy. Austria accuses him of voting against tougher sex offender laws. Yet, Hood sponsored and voted for bills for better victim rights law as well as tougher sex offender laws. In fact, Hood worked to pass laws preventing sex offense, abortions, and anti-family policy from existing in Ohio. That is why liberals voting him out of office in 2006. What Hood did oppose and Austria favored was redundant law forcing church workers to report suspected sex abuse under penalty of law for failing to do so. I still think it was a bad law because recent studies show public school teachers are more often sexually abuse children than Catholic priests. The same studies reveal the school system protects teachers from prosecution for such crimes.

Austria also accuses Hood of supporting House Bill 160 that would gives employers of convicted felons a tax break. It is true Hood did sponsor a bill that would have given incentives to employers to hire ex-cons or “qualified reforming felons.” What is better employers employing ex-cons or ex-cons returning to crime in order to have food, shelter, and other necessities of life? At least by going back to prison, ex-cons get those necessities furnished. It would have been interesting to see how Austria would have voted had the bill passed through committee to a full vote by the General Assembly.

Austria was also attempting to slime Hood over his vote for a gutted version of law to regulate strip clubs (House Bill 23). What Austria failed to mention was that he was the one who gutted House Bill 23, according to Citizens for Community Values. What Austria did was remove bill’s operating hour restriction of 11pm, the 6 foot space between nude or semi-nude employees and patrons, and weakened the authority of townships to regulate sex clubs. Most strip clubs are in municipalities but most of the related crime occurs in townships. Thus, the bill Hood originally sponsored was showpiece for politicians like Austria to say they did something about strip club problem.

Austria’s dirty political tactic against Hood raises the ethics question. Anyone who attempts to deceive the public in such an under-handed but strategic way shows not only desperation but also questionable ethical quality. He is supposed to be pro-life and pro-family. Should we not expect at least honesty from him?

Yet, it was Austria whose ethics have been called into question by Retired Air Force Lt. Col. John Mitchel. His investigation into the BRAC deal led him to bring charges against Austria, his wife, his mentor, and others for using No Bid government contracts to launder money. Citizens should be asking the Governor and Attorney General what is being done about it. (See sources below.)

How ethical is that?

Austria also criticizes Hood for not giving any aid to families of soldiers killed in action. Austria didn’t give his own money to the fallen Col. Paul Kelly’s family he gave money given by others supporting his annual fund raiser. It seems Austria decided to donate the proceeds when he wanted the general public to see what a great guy his is supposed to be. I hope it was truly out of compassion and not for votes.

Austria’s unwarranted sliming tactic reveals Austria’s desperation to win. Like his sugar daddy mentor, he might be good for corporate business, but even that is questionable. Hobson supported the gay Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that violates every First Amendment right of business owners, who by the way are also American citizens. If Austria is like his mentor, we will not have a lawmaker but a wheeler-and-dealer of pork who just happens to vote for conservative bills and sometimes for liberal ones too–like ENDA. I suspect the reason Hobson voted for ENDA was not to eliminate discrimination but because many major corporation support the gay lobby. I doubt Austria is really any different.

Hood created and supported legislation defending strong traditional families, marriage and life. He also supported legislation to help create a business friendly state. Hood appears to be a genuine conservative lawmaker. It is Austria’s conservativism that is in question.

Sources for Lt. Col. John Mitchel Charges:

Lt. Col. John Mitchel , Letter to Ohio’s Legal Officials 09 November 2007.

Jeff, OH-07: Austria (R) Called Co-Conspirator in Corrupt Steering of No-Bid Contracts, Ohio Daily Blog 16 January 2008.

Ret. Lt. Col. John Mitchel, Who will guard the guards?, ReformCongress.com 13 February 2008.

Fallen Heroes: Army Col. Paul M. Kelly, Fallen Heroes Weblog 20 January 2007.

Aaron Keith Harris, Austria donates proceeds from fundraiser to family of fallen soldier, Xenia Daily Gazette 20 July 2007.