Democratic lawmakers expose sky-high cost of growing fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 15, 2018
Press Contact: Aaron Fisher, OHDC Executive Director 330.987.8796 (c)
Democratic lawmakers expose sky-high cost of growing fraud and abuse under Ohio Republicans
GOP-Led Scandals costing taxpayers $176.6 Million since 2011; Public can track the financial damage at GOPScandalsCostU.com

COLUMBUS—Leaders of the Ohio House Democratic Caucus (OHDC) today unveiled a Republican “corruption counter” electronic billboard on Capital Square in downtown Columbus to shine a light on the cost to taxpayers of growing GOP scandals and corruption. “Sadly, Republicans have turned Columbus into the Capital of Corruption. This corruption counter will spin until it hits close to $180 million in wasted taxpayer dollars — but the sad fact is that spending even one dollar on fraud, waste or political corruption is one dollar too many. We can no longer allow the abuses of the Republican Party to go unchecked. The real cost here is the trust of Ohio families, which is priceless,” said Assistant Minority Leader Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D-Parma). The caucus says their latest push is meant to hold elected officials accountable while exposing years of serious and growing financial damage from Republican-led scandals. To date,
Democratic lawmakers have identified over $176.6 million in damages to the wallets of Ohio families during the seven years.

The cost is likely to grow as ECOT wrongdoing and the corrupting forces behind former House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger’s resignation continue to surface. News media has reported the FBI is interested in Rosenberger’s international travel and potential pay-to-play promises on payday lending reform, House Bill 123, at the Statehouse. “A large chunk of these wasted tax dollars can be attributed directly to financial misappropriation, fraud, legal fees, and investigation costs,” said state Rep. Tavia Galonski (DAkron).
“These are only the costs we can identify, who knows what other expenses are out there.”

News reports, Inspector General investigations and other documented sources have been compiled to assess the aggregate cost of Republican statehouse misconduct. The lawmakers say examples of unchecked Republican corruption include the staggering misappropriation of taxpayer dollars by the failed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), millions in Department of Administrative Services’ no-bid IT contract fraud, and other wrongdoing in recent years.

“Hardworking Ohio families will continue to bleed more taxpayer dollars for ongoing legal fees and investigations related to these scandals in the months and years ahead, unless those responsible are held accountable,” said Assistant House Democratic Whip Brigid Kelly (DCincinnati).

The OHDC, which fielded candidates in all 99 legislative districts, will be offering tough, timely
legislative solutions to the scandal, fraud and waste, including legislation to increase penalties for bribery, conflict of interest and corruption and strengthen whistle-blower protections so those who report waste, fraud and abuse are safeguarded.

The electronic billboard “corruption counter” will be on display downtown this week.

Learn more at http://www.GOPScandalsCostU.com

EDITOR’S NOTE: For broadcast and photography purposes, there will be a large billboard visual on the southwest corner of State and High Streets through Friday.