In February, the University of Illinois at Chicago ranked Ohio as the 7th most corrupt state in the nation. The shocking part: that rank was earned prior to the alleged 60-million-dollar bribery scandal between the former Ohio House Speaker, former Republican Party Chairman and First Energy. Two of the lobbyists involved in the case recently cut plea deals, and we have seen the ousting of First Energy’s CEO, along with other executive staff. Now, the tendrils of corruption appear to be reaching to even higher levels, with Governor DeWine’s appointed Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) having his home raided by the FBI.
The fact that the past two Ohio House Speakers have been investigated by the FBI should stir every Ohioan, regardless of political philosophy. Coupled with the fact that virtually entire local governments in Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo have been indicted, Ohio has become the heart of all corruption.
The people of Ohio must start putting our differences aside and have legitimate discussions on ways to reform this clearly broken system. Discussions that include legitimate term limits that don’t allow politicians to leap frog between roles, consideration of eliminating the grossly inflated benefits of politicians who jump from seat-to-seat to boost their net worth, and moving towards a part-time legislature, like 40 of our fellow states already do.
The more politicians are wined-and-dined, the more likely it is that their values are corrupted. In Patriots for Ohio’s polling, Ohioans were wildly supportive of all these measures.