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Ohio Senator Steve Austria: Corruption, Fraud, Arrogance

October 28, 2008


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

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