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Legal experts explain ex-House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger probe: Capitol Letter

August 31, 2018

Legal experts explain ex-House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger probe: Capitol Letter

Rotunda Rumblings

The case against Rosenberger: Cleveland.com’s Andrew Tobias has an interesting look at the case the FBI is trying to build against former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger. Documents released this week give an unusually detailed look at the case, which is similar to other government corruption cases in recent memory.

Divorce drama: On the first day of state Sen. Kris Jordan’s divorce trial, the attorney representing his estranged wife accused him of underreporting more than $200,000 worth of silver. As the Columbus Dispatch’s Dean Narciso reports, the Delaware County Republican said he disclosed what he thought he needed to. Legislative Inspector General Tony Bledsoe said Jordan likely didn’t violate ethics rules. Jordan’s attorney, meanwhile, said at one point of his client: “He doesn’t get less because he’s a jerk and she’s an angel.”

Paging the nurse: State Rep. Theresa Gavarone has introduced a bill that would allow advanced practice registered nurses to work independently of physicians. But the Ohio State Medical Association opposes it, cleveland.com’s Laura Hancock reports. 

Where ya going? State Rep. Tim Schaffer’s Democratic opponent is trying to nail him down about whether he’ll stay in the House if re-elected or seek appointment to U.S. Rep.-elect Troy Balderson’s state Senate seat. House District 77 Democratic nominee Brett Pransky says Schaffer has stayed mum, giving an evasive answer to his hometown paper, the Lancaster Eagle Gazette. “If Tim Schaffer is no longer interested in serving as state rep, voters deserve to know who they will actually be voting for in November,” Pransky said in a release. Phone calls to Schaffer’s home and office were not returned Thursday.

Timing issue: If Schaffer does seek the appointment, there’s one hitch. Senate President Larry Obhof has said he wants to fill Balderson’s Senate District 20 seat before the lame-duck session starts in November. But Schaffer isn’t eligible to be appointed until the end of the year. That’s because under the Ohio Constitution’s term-limits provision, Schaffer (who left the Senate at the end of 2014) has to wait four years before he can serve in the upper chamber again.

This has a familiar ring: Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted will be called upon to break a tie vote in a voting residency dispute in Franklin County involving a GOP candidate for the Ohio House, reports Marc Kovac of the Columbus Dispatch. Kovac notes that the case is similar to a challenge Husted faced in 2009 over whether he lived at his Montgomery County voting address or at a house his wife owned in the Columbus area. Dogged investigation: Cleveland.com’s Cory Shaffer has the story of a former employee of a Cleveland women’s prison accused of stealing $690 worth of dog services from an inmate-run daycare program. The pooch mooching was uncovered in an investigation by the Ohio inspector general and the highway patrol. Face-off: Jim Siegel of the Columbus Dispatch has an entertaining account of a Facebook spat between Republican Rep. Larry Householder, who wants to be the next House speaker, and retired Ohio Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Daniel Navin. How rough was it? Householder at one point labeled Navin as “lazy and not very knowledgeable,” Siegel reports.

Growing number of accusations: Ohio State University trustees got an update Thursday on the investigation into Richard Strauss, the former team doctor accused of sexual misconduct by scores of male athletes. The Associated Press reports that at least 145 people have given firsthand accounts of misconduct to the law firm investigating the allegations.′

Tax troubles? Republican Troy Balderson, who won the special election for the 12th Congressional District, was vice president of a family real estate company that was late on $13,000 in taxes four years ago, the Columbus Dispatch reported. But Balderson told the newspaper he hasn’t been involved in the firm’s daily operations since 2008.

The buzz in Dayton: Voters will decide Nov. 6 whether to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Dayton Daily News reporter Cornelius Frolik explains the difference between decriminalization and legalization. 

Enjoy the weekend! The Capitol Letter crew will take a rest from our labors. We will return Wednesday morning.

Full Disclosure

Five things we learned from U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty’s July 6 financial disclosure report. Beatty, a Columbus Democrat from the 3rd Congressional District, is seeking re-election. 

1. She estimated her asset value in Joyce Beatty & Associates, which does business as Pieces, a clothing boutique in Franklin County, as $100,001 to $250,000. Her husband’s firms, Otto Beatty Law Offices and Beatty Real Estate, were each valued at $1 million to $5 million. 

2. She owned stock in Cardinal Health, Huntington Bancshares and Microsoft, each worth $1,001 to $15,000. She stated the value of her Facebook shares last year were $15,001 to $50,000. She also had $1.3 million to $5.5 million in accounts at Fifth Third Bank and $100,001 to $250,000 at PNC Bank.

3. She has a pension with the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System for working for the state for 33 years. Last year, she reported receiving $253,323.12 from OPERS. It’s an amount so high that in 2013 the National Journal reported she was earning more than President Barack Obama when her pension was combined with her congressional salary. 

4. She’s on the boards of Fire and Focus Inc., a scholarship fund, the Links Inc., a volunteer service organization, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority National Social Action Committee. 

5. Last year, she traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico, on a trip sponsored by the United Retailers Association of Puerto Rico, and New Orleans on a trip sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.

Birthdays Friday 8/31: Sen. Mike Skindell

Sunday 9/2: Rep. Dan Ramos

Tuesday, 9/4: Rep. Kent Smith

Straight From The Source

“Based on the evidence of what I see on television, it often times appears to me that justice was delivered to the dead punk.”

- State Rep. John Becker, a Clermont County Republican, writing in his newsletter “The Becker Report” that he’s tired of the uproar over police shootings.

Capitol Letter is a daily briefing providing succinct, timely information for those who care deeply about the decisions made by state government. If you do not already subscribe, you can sign up here to get Capitol Letter in your email box each weekday for free.

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