COLUMBUS -- Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, a Democrat, was convicted of providing improper compensation by allowing money to supplement the salaries of two state workers he had hired.
According to a Tuesday report by WCMH-TV Channel 4 reporter Ted Hart, time records of two current Ohio Senate employees, both Republicans, are putting that same law to the test.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said the legislative inspector general and other law enforcement agencies are looking into Senate Chief of Staff Jason Mauk and Communications Director John McClelland.
The two were paid at least $79,000 by their political consulting firm during periodic leaves from their state jobs, then belatedly updated Senate time records – and – in Mauk's case, did not take leave time on three occasions for work that appears to be political, according to the Dayton Daily News. In a statement to Channel 4, Mauk called the controversy “false accusations designed to score political points.”
Officials from the government watchdog group, Common Cause Ohio, have been critical of the payments. They issued the following statements in response to the Channel 4 report:
Common Cause Ohio Chairman Sam Gresham:
"When Marc Dann got into trouble for using campaign money to supplement the pay of his public employees, Republicans called that 'justice.' Today, Jason Mauk says his trouble comes from someone wanting to 'score political points.' You can't have it both ways. Justice is bi-partisan."
Common Cause Policy Analyst Catherine Turcer:
"I applaud law enforcement for looking into this. Our law is clear: Public money should be used for the public's business, not to pay for political work done by either party.''
The Channel 4 report can be viewed here: