Friday, June 1, 2012

Kasich: The FBI comes calling

THE KASICH-LED intra-party hit job that drove State Republican Chairman Kevin DeWine from office is still haunting the perps.  There are continuing reports that the FBI is looking into possible bribes by the governor's lower-level apparatchiks - otherwise known as the Kasich Goon Brigade (KGB)- to complete the deal.  The palace intrigue is now a topic for national blogs like Daily Kos.  Not a good image to project, Republicans.

You may recall that the leak in the Kasich back-channel bubble arrived via ex-Portage County GOP chairman Andrew Manning, who accused two of the governor's agents - Summit County Republican chairman Alex Arshinkoff and party activist Bryan Williams - of  promising  Manning a more honored  place in the Kasich Order if Manning, who supported DeWine,  withdrew from the state central committee.  ( It was as though the party had regressed to the medieval days when Kings and Popes fought over who was actually in charge of the domain.)

Manning signed an affidavit that he was offered a quid pro quo at a sit-down at Portage Country Club on Feb. 4.    Arshinkoff/Williams denied that they had  any such thing in mind.

But now come reports of other complaints about the governor's tactics.  Helen Hurst, chairman of the Lorain County Repubican Party, called for a response from Kasich on the allegations.  There were still others who entered the fray:  Maggie Cook, of Warren County, told the Plain Dealer that her job with Associated Builders and Contractors, was threatened if she didn't withdraw from the central committee race in which the governor put up his own slate. She refused to resign from the committee.  She was later fired.

Pause to catch your breath while I report that Bryan Williams, former director of the Summit County Board of Elections,  is a lobbyist for said Associated Builders and Contractors and a likely suspect in trying to influence Cook.

Finally, the spreading wildfire claimed another victim who supported DeWine.  The Columbus political blog Plunderbund reported that Jean Raga resigned from the Central Committee, when the Kasich forces allegedly threatened to take it out on Dayton Power and  Light.  Her husband Tom happens to be a  DPL  lobbyist.  The plot thickens.

Hard to know how far the FBI will take this probe under the  federal law that says, you can't "corruptly" give, offer or promise anything of value with "intent to influence any official act. ...'" (It's all in detail on the Internet.)

On with the show!  But first a question: Do you ever wonder whether this bunch of cold warriors ever has a little fun?


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't ABC Ohio also have a particular interest for their clients in all the construction Kent State will be doing? The behavior of Bryan and Alex seems to be of the customary except they may have bitten off more than they could chew.

David Hess said...

Patterns of behavior rarely change. Such hardball tactics, some bordering on felonious assault, were the trademark of U.S. House Republicans when Newt, Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Kasich (budget chairman) were running the show in the 1990s and afterward. They brooked no interference and took scalps from anyone who strayed from the reservation. One of their tactics was to deny Democrats and a handful of Republicans any funding "earmarks" for local projects if they voted in committee or on the floor against GOP-approved budgets or appropriations. Over the years before that, pork barrel items in the spending bills had been largely supported in bipartisan fashion, since they were seen to benefit home-town voters from both political camps. But the objective of DeLay and Kasich was to punish Democrats and weaken the Dems' electoral grip on their seats in Congress. In short, an unvarnished power play. Kasich, though predisposed to such tactics, learned even more at the feet of the experts.