Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bad to Worse for Richard Cordray (and Ted Strickland)

Could it get much worse for Richard Cordray right now?

Yes.  Apparently it can.

First he gets pummeled in his attempt to install a loyalist as Chairman of the ODP, then the press calls him out for being a lousy politician and now his top staffer in Ohio is being investigated for campaign finance misconduct

The article talks about a significant amount of money that Richard Cordray’s fundraiser says is owed to her by the Franklin County Democrat Party.  Apparently the debts that she claims are owed didn’t show up in campaign finance reports that the county party has to file.  The worst part is that the folks that are supposed to be backing her claims are keeping their distance.

The article also mentions a previous client of Cordray’s fundraiser, John Reardon, who ran for state Auditor in 2006 when he was Mahoning County Treasurer.  Apparently Reardon listed false loans to his campaign as a way to beef up his fundraising report, which is obviously not allowed under campaign finance law. 

Reardon claims that Cordray’s fundraiser suggested that he ask for a contribution from the state party in exchange for getting out the race.  Soon after Reardon dropped out he received $50,000 from the state party.  He subsequently made a $10,000 contribution to Richard Cordray’s campaign for Ohio Treasurer.

Honestly, it doesn’t even matter whether these allegations against Cordray’s fundraiser are true.  The story here is that Cordray, and his people, are diminishing his chances of winning a primary for Governor by the second.  The only people stepping up to their defense are former elected officials like Jennifer Brunner who are not well liked by the ODP and Chairman Redfern.

You’d think that all of this bad news for Cordray would be great for Ted Strickland. Right?

Not so much.

Joe Vardon from the Dispatch posted a story yesterday that added a Ted Strickland link to this scandal.  Apparently John Reardon received a call from then candidate Strickland in 2006 that, in his opinion, was a job offer from the Strickland administration if Reardon got out of the Auditor race.

Ted’s response was to be expected; “I would not and I have not offered anyone a job for doing something like that – dropping out of a race – or whatever,” Strickland said. “It’s not my style, it’s not (chief of staff) John Haseley’s style.

It turns out this is exactly his style.

A Cincinnati Enquirer article from 2010 details exactly how Ted Strickland, and his staff, found a job for a Cincinnati Councilwoman 4 days after she agreed to withdraw from a potentially divisive Democrat primary for a vacant Ohio House seat.  Councilwoman Laketa Cole was given a $78,354 a year job at PUCO after her resume was sent around by top staffers in Strickland’s office.

In all fairness this whole story could be a giant coincidence.  Maybe she just happened to finally get the job within a week of withdrawing from a race that would cause Democrats a huge headache.  However, I think you might have trouble finding anyone who would actually thinks this is a coincidence.

So let’s review.  Two of the Democrats most likely to run against Governor Kasich are in a heap of trouble; one has zero political infrastructure left in Ohio and the other lost 400,000 jobs on his watch and just got caught lying.

Who’s left to lead Ohio’s Democrats?

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