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Ohio Senator Steve Austria: Corruption, Fraud, Arrogance

October 28, 2008 Comments off


Ohio Senator Steve Austria (R-Ohio Senate): Corruption, Fraud, Arrogance…

Multiple issues involving corruption and fraud of Steve Austria have been uncovered in 2008. These facts demonstrate Mr. Austria as a man unfit to serve the people of his District or the people of Ohio. Now, Steve Austria is running for Congress in the 7th District. (OH-7).

Corruption

politickeroh.com: Neuhardt claims new ad exposes Austria for who he really is:

The campaign of attorney Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) released a new TV ad that they say exposes opponent state Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) for who he really is.

“Steve Austria is another career politician filling his campaign coffers with thousands of dollars from some of the very people who pushed our country into an economic crisis,” said Neuhardt spokesperson Jessica Kershaw. “Austria’s best friends are Big Oil and Big Money. He’ll be no friend to the voters of this District.”

The 30-second ad titled, “Bought and Paid For” highlights what the Neuhardt campaign calls the tens of thousands of dollars Austria has taken from big money special interests.

The Neuhardt camp is saying Austria has taken more than a half million dollars in contributions from “big money special interests, including some of the world’s largest health care, insurance, oil, and banking companies – the same people who are responsible for many of the most serious problems facing our country.”The Neuhardt office says this includes “at least $111,000 from health care and insurance interests, at least $53,000 from banking and finance interests, and at least $36,400 from Big Oil and energy interests.”

Austria is showing he has $271,492 cash on hand compared to Neuhardt’s $83,262 for the remainder of the race.

13 Feb. 2008:

According to Congressional candidate John Mitchel (R-Beavercreek), former U.S. senator Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville), retiring Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield), endorsed successor candidate State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) and his spouse, and a variety of local GOP officials have had a long history of cronyism and a recent corrupt scheme that involves steering a no-bid contract to Hobson campaign contributors, which incident Mitchel equates with the corrupt activity that has landed former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) in federal prison. He has been demanding a full investigation, which he accuses local GOP officials of resisting in order to conceal the conflicts of interests and influence peddling that have occurred.

OhioDailyBlog: OH-07: Austria (R) Called Co-Conspirator in Corrupt Steering of No-Bid Contracts:

Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Mitchel (R-Beavercreek), now running for the seat of retiring Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield), charges that opponent State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) and his spouse Eileen are co-conspirators in a scheme to steer no-bid contracts to campaign contributors of Hobson, who supports Steve Austria in the race and has paid Eileen Austria large consulting fees. Mitchel compares the scheme to the steering of federal contracts by Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) that resulted in his resignation from Congress in November 2005 and guilty plea to federal conspiracy charges. Cunningham is serving an eight year prison sentence.

In an email to Greene County officials, following up on his request for a meeting to discuss requests for information on the matter, Mitchel describes his allegations this way:

Former California Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham is in federal prison for steering no-bid contracts toward his campaign contributors. Steve and Eileen Austria sit on the referenced advisory committee along with Sam Greenwood of the Greentree Group. They were instrumental in causing money transferred by Greene County to the Dayton Development Corporation to be used to award a large no-bid contract to Greentree Group, purportedly to assist in an effort to keep Wright Patterson Air Force Base open during the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) process. Mitchel contends, however, that the base was in no real danger of closing, so the transactions in reality amounted to no more than an enormous transfer of public wealth to private hands.

Arrogance

Reformcongress.com: Steve Austria ignored constituents’ rights:
Beavercreek, Ohio, Tuesday, January 8, 2008: Today congressional candidate John Mitchel criticized State Senator Steve Austria and Representative Kevin DeWine for failing to defend their constituents’ constitutional right to initiative petition. In March, 2005, Mitchel filed a grievance claiming that over 2,000 citizens were denied their right to place on the ballot an initiative to vote up or down on $14 million of Greene County tax dollars for financing The Greene, privately developed by Steiner and Associates.

Desperation

thestateofamericasfamily: Ohio Senator Steve Austria’s Bid for US Congress Turns to Desperate Sliming Politics (Mar 2008).

Steve Austria is mired in the muck of dirty tactics because he obviously fears his opponent may win.

Austria is the current Ohio Senate majority leader. He is a Beavercreek Ohio businessman not a lawyer like his mentor Dave Hobson, who is retiring from his career job on Capitol Hill. Remember those words. Hobson is a career politician who never wrote a law and he is Austria’s mentor. Ron Hood also is a businessman and the son-in-law of Bill and Pam Dean. The Dean family is one of Xenia’s prominent entrepreneurs in the service sector. Hood served in the Ohio House of Representative from 1995-2000 and 2005-2006. Unlike Austria who is endorsed only by several party organizations, Hood is endorsed by a number of family associations like Family First, Moms for Ohio and Citizens for Community Values, by several gun owners associations, and by the Chamber of Commerce.

What inspired this post was a slick mailer I received yesterday from Austria. The sliming of Ron Hood advertisement says Hood voted with democrats 80% of the time. Austria’s glossy green with yellow letters oversize postcard accuses Hood of being a RINO, which means a Republican in name only. On the front and back, it says Ron Hood is a Democrat. The real interesting thing about Austria’s sliming tactic is found in the small print. That’s right, in small print Austria acknowledges his accusations are based only on 3 bills and not on Hood’s entire record. Out of the hundreds of bills Hood sponsored and the many more he voted on only House Bill 66, House Bill 23, and House Bill 160 are used as proof of Hood being an undercover liberal. I checked the huge budget bill House Bill 66. I found conservatives Dewine and Widener voting with the Democrats on a lot of legislative items too. Does that make them liberals too?

It is obvious Austria is a real political desperado willing to do any thing to win. It also shows what kind of politician he really is.

Austria’s dirty political tactic against Hood raises the ethics question. Anyone who attempts to deceive the public in such an under-handed but strategic way shows not only desperation but also questionable ethical quality. He is supposed to be pro-life and pro-family. Should we not expect at least honesty from him?

Yet, it was Austria whose ethics have been called into question by Retired Air Force Lt. Col. John Mitchel. His investigation into the BRAC deal led him to bring charges against Austria, his wife, his mentor, and others for using No Bid government contracts to launder money. Citizens should be asking the Governor and Attorney General what is being done about it. (See sources in linked article.)

More Corruption

While out on the campaign trail talking about eliminating wasteful spending and fixing a corrupt system (when he’s not bashing his opponent’s family), Senator Steve Austria then actively solicites donations from the lobbyists with which he has “long-term working relationships”.

In his letter to lobbyist, Mr. Austria seems to make these points:

1. We’ve been working hard to raise money and build grassroots support.
2. Our opponent is getting support from the Democratic Party.
3. The work we’ve done on the ‘grassroots’ part of the campaign can’t hold up, so I’m turning to you, my long-time lobbyist friend.
4. Can you get other lobbyists to help me?

It appears that Steve Austria is appealing to his lobbyist friends to help him clean up Washington?? (DailyKos)

OhioDailyBlog: OH-07: Austria (R) Called Co-Conspirator in Corrupt Steering of No-Bid Contracts. (Jan 2008)

State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) and his spouse Eileen are co-conspirators in a scheme to steer no-bid contracts to campaign contributors of Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield), who supports Steve Austria in his campaign and has paid Eileen Austria large consulting fees. Mitchel compares the scheme to the steering of federal contracts by Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) that resulted in his resignation from Congress in November 2005 and guilty plea to federal conspiracy charges. Cunningham is serving an eight year prison sentence.

In an email to Greene County officials, following up on his request for a meeting to discuss requests for information on the matter, Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Mitchel (R-Beavercreek),describes his allegations this way:

Former California Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham is in federal prison for steering no-bid contracts toward his campaign contributors. Based on remarks spoken to me by Ms. [Marilyn] Reid, [the Greene County GOP chair who is running for county commissioner,] I am alleging that is exactly what occurred with the BRAC Initiative Agreement. There is compelling evidence that Dave Hobson and other elected officials, including Steve Austria as well as Mrs. Austria, who both sit on the Dayton Development Coalition Wright-Patt 2010 Advisory Committee, intervened to influence the award of no-bid contracts to The PMA and Greentree Groups. Please note that documents disclosed on the FEC website show that employees from PMA and Greentree donated over $50,000 to “Hobson for Congress” prior to, during and since the period of performance (PoP) of the BRAC Initiative Agreement. Don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions prior to our meeting on the 24th.

On the telephone yesterday, Mitchel further explained his accusation. Steve and Eileen Austria sit on the referenced advisory committee along with Sam Greenwood of the Greentree Group. They were instrumental in causing money transferred by Greene County to the Dayton Development Corporation to be used to award a large no-bid contract to Greentree Group, purportedly to assist in an effort to keep Wright Patterson Air Force Base open during the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) process. Mitchel contends, however, that the base was in no real danger of closing, so the transactions in reality amounted to no more than an enormous transfer of public wealth to private hands, and in any event the purpose of the contract was lobbying and that is not the business of Greentree, an IT firm. Greentree in turn awarded a $660,000 contract to PMA, which is in fact a lobbying firm. During the period for performance under these contracts, principals or employees of Greentree and PMA gave $50,000 in campaign contributions to Hobson. Eileen Austria was a district director for Hobson, and while so employed Hobson paid her $50,000 as a political consultant. Linking the transfers together, Mitchel sees an orchestrated chain of transactions that acted as a pipeline for public money that ultimately wound up in the hands of Eileen Austria.

Mitchel has aggressively sought information and documents from county officials in this matter, but says that he has been stonewalled. He has kept the other GOP congressional contenders in the district informed of his efforts and has no intention of letting the matter drop. He is attempting to spur the press and local federal prosecutors to investigate further, but has seen little movement to date. He attributes the inaction on the part of prosecutors to the existence of close ties to the Republican establishment, pointing out for example that the wife of prominent Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Schenck was a staffer for Sen. Mike DeWine (R) in his Xenia district office.

Not Endorsed

The Dayton Daily News has endorsed attorney Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) , and wrote that Austria does not “have the kind of reputation that Rep. Hobson had when he first ran for Congress.”

The editorial board criticized Austria as being “scared of saying anything that might offend” in their endorsement of Neuhardt. They note Neuhardt’s never having held office, but say that she “compares well with the experienced politician in her understanding of issues.”

The board concludes that if voters select Austria “they are settling for mediocrity, quite possibly on a long-term basis.” But if voters choose Neuhardt, “they are hoping for something better.” “She has the potential to develop into a leader in an important policy realm or more than one,” The News wrote. “The rookie is the better, bolder, more optimistic choice.”

DDN wrote that “Austria’s attacks are shameful” and that “Austria has not earned a major promotion” as he has “no compelling record”.

Unconstitutional

Furthermore, in 2007, Mr. Austria thumped his chest in support of the Adam Walsh Act Law ( Ohio Senate Bill 10) which violates the constitutional rights of 30,000 Ohio citizens. He introduced and sponsored the bill, and proudly puffed his chest, even as various Ohio Senators spoke out in concern about the violative nature of the implementation of these laws. Only a voice vote was taken and Mr. Austria voted to enact these laws, which impose ex post facto punishment on citizens whose crimes date back decades.

Both the Ohio and United States Constitutions prohibit enacting any law which imposes punishment for crimes committed before the law went into effect. Mr. Austria either does not understand the constitution or he does not feel it applies to him or his decisions as an elected official in Ohio.

ConstitutionalFights.org has made multiple efforts to contact Mr. Austria and his office and campaign manager. All of our calls to his office over the past 10 months have not been returned. In asking to speak or meet with Mr. Austria, our requests were denied. Our request for a written statement from Mr. Austria for this blog was ignored. If you would like to contact Steve Austria to ask him about these issues, his official contact information is: Ohio Senator Steve Austria –
sd10@mailr.sen.state.oh.us Telephone: (614)466-3780

Ohio Senator Jon Husted: Corruption, Fraud, Arrogance

October 28, 2008 Comments off


Ohio Representative Jon Husted (R-37th Ohio House District and Speaker of the House): Corruption, Fraud, Arrogance…

Multiple issues involving corruption and fraud of Jon Husted have been uncovered in 2008. These facts demonstrate Mr. Husted as a man unfit to serve the people of his District or the people of Ohio.

Illegal And Dishonest

Update- 30 October 2008: Montgomery County Elections Board to Investigate Husted.

Jon Husted, contrary to law, does not live in the 6th District. Husted, Speaker of the House, is currently representative for the 37th Ohio House District. A Cleveland Plain Dealer article published Sunday that reported that Husted’s Kettering home looks abandoned. The article said:

“While Husted won’t say how much time he spends in Kettering, his modest ranch-style house had tightly-drawn blinds and a six-week-old stack of newspapers next to the front door on a recent summer day. Cobwebs were beginning to creep over a front picture window.”

The Columbus Dispatch reports
: Residency questions continue to dog Husted; Husted claimed a tax break on a Kettering house; his wife got a break on another home (18 Oct 2008):

DAYTON — Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering, has long claimed that although he lives with his family in Upper Arlington, his real home is in his district in Kettering. But legal documents involving property owned by Husted and his wife, Tina , raise new questions about his principal place of residence.
Those documents show that Jon and Tina Husted received a property tax break on the Upper Arlington home she owned at the same time he got a tax reduction for his Kettering home.
(Tina is Husted’s second wife ; Husted is divorced from his first wife, according to Cleveland.com)

Ohio law says a couple can only take that tax reduction on one home.

Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith, a Democrat, and Franklin County Auditor Joe Testa, a Republican, said they will investigate to see if the law was broken. Since they married in 2005, Jon and Tina Husted each claimed a separate house as a primary residence on legal documents that trigger the 2.5 percent property tax reduction for owner-occupied homes.

“The 2.5 percent reduction is meant to be on one property and one property only. It’s supposed to be your primary residence,” said Keith. “Those are legal documents. You are signing those documents under penalty of perjury.” A “principal residence” is a person’s legal, permanent residence and used to determine where a person can vote, according to John Kohlstrand, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Taxation.

By law, Husted cannot run for the Legislature if he does not live in his district. He is registered to vote in Kettering.

Husted said he stays in an Upper Arlington house with his wife and children. He would not say how often he sleeps in his Kettering home, nor whether he plans to move his family to that house once he relinquishes his Speaker duties this year, or if he is elected to the Ohio 6th District Senate seat.

His opponent in that race, Democrat John Doll, said Husted should forfeit his seat if it turns out he does not legally reside in the district. Husted said he does live in the district and was unaware of the tax issue.

Cleveland.com: “While Husted clearly spends most of his time living in a $343,000 three-bedroom (2436 square foot ) home in the Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington with his growing family, he is supposed to live in his legislative district.”

In an Editorial Letter written by Kettering resident,
Marybeth W. Rutledge, Husted was challenged:

“If Rep. Jon Husted really lived on Sherbrooke Drive in Kettering, he would have endured at
least 10 days without power (due to the September hurricane wind storm) . But, of course, he doesn’t live there like we do. No, he was happily ensconced in Columbus in “his wife’s house.”
If Husted really lived on Sherbrooke, he’d have done all he could to help his constituents
(aka neighbors) with their ordeal; he’d know that his constituents include the elderly, small
children, pregnant women and others whose health and safety were at risk. He’d know some
constituents/neighbors had power, but no phone or cable, and he’d have seen what
influence could be brought to bear from his position as state representative to help. But he
doesn’t live there.

Jon Husted wants to be elected to the Ohio State Senate from his “home district.” Come on,
Jon, you’re kidding, right?”
Marybeth W. Rutledge
Kettering

Kettering resident Lauren Klein wrote:

“Husted’s dishonesty is upsetting.

Re: ‘Husted’s residency in Kettering questioned,’ Sept. 13:
As a Kettering resident, I am not upset that Jon Husted owns a home in Kettering, but lives with his family in Upper Arlington. I’m upset that Husted won’t admit it. I’m annoyed that he specifies his wife owns
the home in Upper Arlington. He won’t admit he doesn’t live in the Sherbrooke residence
because it’s dishonest, and he knows it. He is not committed to the area or the people he was
elected to represent. He is committed to what works best for him.

I contacted Husted’s opponent, John Doll, a labor attorney who lives in Washington Twp.
He believes voters want the person who represents them to live in the district they represent. I’m voting for John Doll.”
Lauren Klein
Kettering

The Dayton Daily News: Questions About Husted’s Kettering Residency
13 Sept 2008

DAYTON — Ohio Speaker of the House Jon Husted was accused on Friday, Sept. 12, by his opponent of not living in his district. “Apparently he thinks the residency laws of the state of Ohio do not apply to him,” said Centerville school board member John Doll, a Democrat who is running against Husted, R-Kettering, for the 6th District Ohio Senate seat.

Doll said it is impossible for Husted to be in touch with his district and properly represent the community because he spends little time here.

Husted said the home he owns at 148 Sherbrooke Ave. is his residence, but he said his duties as House speaker require that he spend more time in Columbus than the average legislator. He said he also lives in an Upper Arlington house owned by his wife.

Husted’s Kettering home frequently looks unoccupied and newspapers sometimes accumulate on the grounds. He said he has a basket by the front door to collect items in and he does not believe that six weeks of newspapers piled up, as Doll contends.

Husted said he does sleep in the Kettering home but refused to say what percentage of the time he spends living in Kettering and how much he spends in the Upper Arlington house with his wife and two children.
“I’ve answered these questions many times,” said Husted.

Doll also demanded that Husted agree to serve a full four-year Senate term should he be elected to the Senate in November, rather than run for Ohio secretary of state in 2010. “I’m flattered that people are considering me for other offices of a statewide nature,” said Husted, adding that it is premature to for him to comment on his future plans.

The deadline has passed to challenge a person’s place on the ballot. However, the board can question the validity of a person’s registration, said Steve Harsman, board of elections director.
Ohio law on residency for voting purposes says a person’s residence is the “place where the family of a married person resides.”

A legislator may be forced to forfeit his seat if he is not a legal resident of the district he represents.

Currently things stand with the Montgomery County Board of Elections attorney conducting a review of residency laws. The Board is considering a full investigation of Husted.

More Disception

Jon Husted refused to commit to serving a full term for the people of Ohio, in his run for an Ohio Senate seat in 2008. Mr. Husted is playing coy on speculation that he will leave his Senate seat early if he decides to run for Ohio Secretary of State in 2010.

Opponent John Doll demanded that Husted agree to serve a full four-year Senate term should he be elected to the Senate in November, rather than run for Ohio secretary of state in 2010. “I’m flattered that people are considering me for other offices of a statewide nature,” said Husted, adding that it is premature to for him to comment on his future plans.

Cleveland.com: Jon Husted won’t say if he’s a secretary of state candidate.

buckeyestateblog: Meet Jon Husted: The Eternal Candidate.

The Dayton Daily News seems to have caught everyone’s favorite Republican state rep between a rock and a hard place. You see, Speaker of the House Jon Husted is running for a state senate seat even though it’s widely expected that he’ll run for Secretary of State in 2010.

Of course no one really enjoys being stepped on by someone out to climb the ranks, so Husted has been pretending to care about the Dayton area senate district he’s running for. The truth came out however, when Husted refused to commit to staying the full senate term if elected.

In St. Paul last week during the Republican National Convention, Ohio Republican Party Deputy Chairman Kevin DeWine told a crowd of delegates that he looks forward to working along side his friend, Jon Husted, when Husted runs for Ohio Secretary of State in 2010.

Husted, R-Kettering, is now House Speaker and a candidate for a four year term in the Ohio Senate. Despite the open talk of him running for secretary of state, Husted is mum on it and declined to say whether he’s committed to serving his entire term if elected to the Senate.

Cleveland.com: “Asked about his statewide ambitions in 2010, Husted hedged, saying the decision “hasn’t even been approved at the family level yet.” Yet he mentioned both secretary of state or treasurer as possibilities.”

Corruption

The House speaker, Jon Husted, a young opportunist from Kettering in the Dayton area, was nailed by the Cleveland and Dayton papers for repeatedly accepting free flights and trips from his lobbyist pals. While Husted’s office denied at the time that the lobbyists were engaging in politics, I looked up their firms’ websites. One site proudly proclaimed that they could create personal relationships with legislators on behalf of their clients! Of course Husted’s office had no comment and the Ohio press, in spite of their occasional good reporting, seems inadequate to hold politicians accountable, especially considering that television news in Ohio does virtually no political reporting. (OhDave)

Cleveland.com: “Trips that Husted has taken as speaker with his son, Alex, and high-powered lobbyists have brought controversy in recent years. On Memorial Day Weekend in 2005, the pair jetted off on a fishing trip with a trio of lobbyists in tow as the state’s $51.2 billion budget was being debated. An Ohio State bowl game trip that year on a plane owned by NCR, a Dayton-based Fortune 500 company, with his family and lobbyists along also netted headlines. “You just have to make sure to do things in a way that are more appropriate, and I have tried to follow those lessons,” he said. ”

Husted’s rise also had a dark side in the form of covert assistance from a little-known nonprofit group known as Citizens for Conservative Values. In 2004, the Dayton-area issue advocacy group began a secret push to help Husted became speaker, even going so far as to ink contracts handing out fat bonuses to consultants if he was named the House leader. After benefiting from the group’s work, Husted pushed a campaign-finance bill that forced more disclosure from issue advocacy groups.

“That was a great lesson for me in life, because that is not who I am and I can’t affiliate with organizations that are not me,” Husted said. “

Husted Fears Free Speech

House speaker considers political blogs dangerous:

Sunday, July 30, 2006 — Ohio House Speaker Jon A. Husted is no fan of political blogs.

“I believe they’re overrated in some respects,” the Kettering Republican said during a taping Friday of ONN’s Capitol Square. “In high-profile campaigns, this is a way for people to use third parties to get bad information out about your opponent.” The fact that people are paying attention to the blogs, Husted said, “is undermining the campaign process in terms of trying to advance ideas.”

Jon Husted should be afraid of political blogs because with his actions in the Ohio General Assembly, they may soon put him out of work. Perhaps Jon Husted thinks free speech is dangerous too?

Unconstitutional

Furthermore, in 2007, Mr. Husted thumped his chest in support of the Adam Walsh Act Law ( Ohio Senate Bill 10) which violates the constitutional rights of 30,000 Ohio citizens. He presided over the Ohio House vote where various representatives spoke in concern about the violative nature of the implementation of these laws. Only a voice vote was taken and Mr. Husted voted to enact these laws, which impose ex post facto punishment on citizens whose crimes date back decades.

Both the Ohio and United States Constitutions prohibit enacting any law which imposes punishment for crimes committed before the law went into effect. Mr. Husted either does not understand the constitution or he does not feel it applies to him or his decisions as an elected official in Ohio.

ConstitutionalFights.org has made multiple efforts to contact Mr. Husted and his office. All of our calls to his office over the past 10 months have not been returned. In asking to speak or meet with Mr. Husted, our requests were denied. Our request for a written statement from Mr. Husted for this blog was ignored. If you would like to contact Jon Husted to ask him about these issues, you can apparently find him living at his home in Upper Arlington, not in Kettering. His official contact information is: Ohio Representative Jon Husted – Speaker of the House, district37@ohr.state.oh.us Telephone: (614) 644-6008