An Associated Press review of records shows a favorite witness on Ohio tax and economic issues who's relied upon for his objectivity draws a hefty stipend from a conservative trust fund.
Retired Ohio University professor Richard Vedder draws only a fraction of his income from the school while receiving 150 thousand dollars a year in consulting fees from the Virginia-based based Donors Trust. Vedder was a star witness on Governor John Kasich's tax plan and his research was cited by backers of so called "right-to-work" legislation introduced last week. Vedder says his opinions are dispassionate despite his relationship with the right-leaning organization. Since it was created in 1999, Donors Trust and its affiliated organization, Donors Capital Fund, have raised more than 500 million dollar from various individuals and organizations, among them billionaire industrialist Charles Koch. They have also doled out 400 million dollars to a constellation of right-wing causes. Donors Trust gives many of its funding sources a way to hide their donations, or "pass-through" money, to various right-leaning organizations and media outlets, many of whom promote free-market ideas. Those organizations include a higher education center Vedder directs.