Recent controversy involving Governor Kasich’s deferred compensation payments from a company that has received money through JobsOhio has prompted some Democratic State Representatives to propose a new bill.
Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports.
JobsOhio, the state’s private job creation company recently gave Worthington Industries incentives worth a half million dollars. But questions were raised when reports surfaced that Governor Kasich was taking deferred compensation payments from that company while he was in office. Kasich used to sit on the company’s board…and the payments were reportedly arranged before he took office. The Governor says the company deserved the money it got from the state but it raises eyebrows with some groups that say they want more transparency in JobsOhio. And it is prompting some Democratic State Representatives to bring forward a bill that would say Governors could not accept money from a private company while in office. Democratic State Representative Nicholas Celebreeze says it makes sense.
Celebreeze – This legislation is designed to protect the constituency and the citizens of Ohio from making sure that it’s not pay to play politics. This, if anything, protects government, it protects our office holders and it protects our elected officials.
Celebreeze says house and senate members routinely recuse themselves from dealing with legislation that could cause a conflict of interest but it’s not possible for the governor to do that. Representative Ron Gerberry says majority Republicans should be willing to pass this legislation, regardless of the political affiliation of the Governor.
Gerberry= If Governor Strickland had been receiving compensation in the middle of an organization which we took outside of inside government and put it into a private C1 corporation, and if the shoes were reversed here, I could assure you this type of legislation would be introduced.
But Republicans don’t appear quick to embrace this legislation. Matt Borges is the head of the Ohio Republican Party.
Borges – I think it’s a Democratic smoke screen. They are trying to create an issue where one doesn’t exist. And at this point and time, we don’t have any further thoughts or comments on it.
The Ohio Ethics Commission recently rejected a complaint by likely Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Ed Fitzgerald that Kasich’s payments from Worthington Industries represent a conflict of interest.