John Kasich blames Washington for Ohio's troubles, but is the real problem closer to home?
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for allegations that he accepted bribes and used political appointments to reward or punish those that helped or hurt his allies. Kasich has never been thought of as particularly ethical, but these allegations are beyond what we've seen in the past:
A developing story out of Ohio is getting the attention of the progressive press: the FBI is currently investigating claims that Governor John Kasich made promises of political influence and threatened the jobs of those who would not help him replace those in power with his cronies.
Two months ago, Portage County Republican Party Chairman Andrew Manning asked the FBI to investigate the situation after he was offered influence in state government appointments in exchange for stepping down and allowing one of Kasich’s operatives to take his position. Manning’s attorney, David R. Langdon, announced yesterday that the FBI is indeed investigating the claims. In a statement Langdon said,
“FBI agents interviewed Andrew Manning last week. He answered questions about the statements in his affidavit, which he sent to the Justice Department in March of this year, that top allies of Gov. John Kasich offered him special influence over gubernatorial appointments if he agreed not to run for the state GOP central committee.”
He will have no further comment until the investigation has concluded.
According to PlunderBund, this complaint led to several other Ohio GOP figures making similar claims:
Manning’s request to the FBI and local law enforcement was the first in a series of complaints claiming Kasich and his allies used intimidation, threats and promises of influence in order to get their own people on the State Central Committee to vote out former Committee Chairman Kevin DeWine.
While Manning’s complaint focused on Governor’s office employees Ben Kaiser and David Luketic, as well as Alex Arshinkoff (Summit County GOP Chairman) and Bryan Williams (Ohio Board of Education), other complaints have since surfaced against the Governor’s closest allies Doug Preisse and Jai Chabria as well as Mary Taylor and her chief of staff.
Kasich was already in trouble after his assault on working families was rejected by Ohio voters, but, like Scott Walker in Wisconsin, investigations are looking into actions by the governor's administration that goes well beyond just bad policy. Now we're looking at potentially Nixonian dirty tricks.
This mounting evidence suggests that, since his first days in power, the Governor’s main goal has been to oust Kevin DeWine and replace him with someone more willing to do the Kasich Kowtow. When Dewine refused, Kasich used his pull to get his candidates into power. After getting enough power in the committee, he effectively forced DeWine to step down. The new committee then elected Bob Bennett, former state GOP chairman for 20 years prior to DeWine, to finish out the term.