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Dem Lawmakers Push for Disclosure of Possible JobsOhio Conflicts

Controversial agency's internal procedures should show conflict-of-interest determinations
August 5, 2013
Democratic Newsroom

COLUMBUS- State Rep. John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus) and Asst. Minority Whip Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today called on the Ohio Development Services Agency to release records concerning reported conflicts of interest at JobsOhio. Records relating to JobsOhio’s contract with the Development Services Agency (DSA) are to be maintained by DSA and made available to the public.*

“According to their conflict of interest policy, recently renewed with DSA and on file with the controlling board, JobsOhio’s directors and officers are required to disclose any conflict or potential conflict,” said Rep. Carney. “It would certainly appear as though there have been some conflicts and we need to be sure that steps are being taken to ensure that JobsOhio’s Board is conducting itself appropriately.”

A recent investigative report from the Dayton Daily News highlighted numerous instances in which JobsOhio directors and Governor Kasich may have had conflicts of interest between business before the controversial economic development entity and personal financial interests.

“This morning, we called on the House Policy and Oversight Committee to hold hearings on JobsOhio, and hearings on the JobsOhio Accountability Act,” said Asst. Democratic Whip Dan Ramos. “These revelations of potential conflicts of interest at JobsOhio are very serious, and the legislature needs to devote an equally serious amount of time and attention to providing accountability, transparency, and legislative oversight to the millions of taxpayer dollars controlled by this troubled entity. When an exposé discloses that the Governor himself has cozy ties that may have unduly benefitted his previous employers—that’s a problem. It creates a perception that no one in the Kasich Administration is able to look at JobsOhio objectively.”

In similar news, Democrats on the House Policy and Oversight Committee today called for oversight hearings on Jobs Ohio and the JobsOhio Accountability Act. The JobsOhio Accountability Act was introduced in June after reports of millions of dollars in misappropriated tax dollars surfaced. The bill, if passed, would restore state ethics and public records standards, require a full public audit by the Auditor of State, create a website to track the dollars, reinstate the Inspector General’s authority and ensure whistleblower protections. 

“There are elected officials in this state whose job it is to oversee waste and abuse of public dollars,” added Rep. Carney. “They are not doing their jobs and if not for the press, we would not be aware of any of the potential conflicts that exist within JobsOhio. Every time Governor Kasich and his administration rail against accountability and transparency at Ohioans’ economic development agency it only furthers the belief that there is a bad reason they want it to continue to operate in secret.”