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Ohio Democrats Request U.S. Justice Department Investigation Following Reports of Potential Corruption at Highest Level of State Government

Appeal to Ohio's Southern District Attorney details concerns that Ohio's Attorney General lacks capacity to conduct thorough investigation
February 22, 2024
Nickie J. Antonio News

Senate Democratic Leader Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) today announced that they have sent a letter to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio requesting assistance from U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker in the ongoing House Bill (H.B.) 6 political corruption scandal. 

The request comes after recent news reports revealed that officials at the highest level of the DeWine-Husted Administration failed to act in the taxpayer's interest when given evidence of proven or potential criminal activity.

“Recent reports seem to suggest an administrative culture that willingly ignored potential criminal activity within the Administration itself, or within proximity to it,” wrote Leaders Antonio and Russo. “Though the AG’s efforts are laudable, we believe the office does not possess the capacity to detach itself from the political realities of Ohio’s control of state government...The latest news reports highlight additional issues within government that only your office in its objective position and resources could investigate.” 

The state legislators also expressed their concern that the DeWine-Husted Administration has failed to endorse or propose reforms to prevent future corruption within the Administration or those that follow. 

“While we are doing all we can as Ohio state legislators serving in the minority, we continue to have no support from the administration on our proposed needed reforms to ban corrupt practices and undo the economic damage that corruption has inflicted on our constituents. We respectfully ask for your assistance in investigating questionable practices and circumstances at the highest levels of state government to once and for all root out corruption that continues to cost Ohio taxpayers,” the Leaders continued in the letter.

At a news conference Thursday where the request to the U.S. Justice Department was announced, Leaders Antonio and Russo went into greater detail about their concerns over AG Yost’s investigation.

“As elected officials, we have a duty to act in the best interest of Ohioans, and that includes enacting legislation to reestablish integrity in our legislature,” said Leader Antonio. “The Republican-led legislature failed Ohioans when House Bill 6 was passed and the Republican majority continues to fail Ohioans by not taking action to fully repeal House Bill 6, protect Ohio consumers and end the corruption tax.”

“There are simply too many unanswered questions and frankly the state alone– the very system that manifested this corruption– does not possess the capacity nor resources to detach itself from political realities of Ohio’s control of state government,” said Leader Russo. “It’s time we finally close this dark chapter in Ohio’s history, undo the economic damage of corruption to Ohioans, and ensure corruption is never commonplace in our state government– no matter who is in charge.”

Despite these crimes and the economic impact to Ohio families, small businesses and consumers, not one reform has been passed in the last five years that would prevent another H.B. 6 scandal from happening again. 

The letter sent today to U.S. Attorney Parker can be viewed here.