Monday, July 21, 2014

Dayton Daily News: Arshinkoff a pay-to-play DeWine figure

The Dayton Daily News investigative  report on Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine's  elaborate campaign fund-raising scheme widened the narrative of the AG's  money machine by mentioning Summit County Republican chairman and lobbyist  Alex Arshinkoff as one of the varsity enablers. Who knew?

Still, it shouldn't surprise anyone.  Arshinkoff has long - and I mean long - prided himself in his ability to  lay piles of campaign money at the doorstep of this GOP pol or that one. The rule of politics Alex once breezily said, "is all about money."  He so impressed DeWine  that he once served as  the AG's  liaison  in northern Ohio .

Did I say lobbyist?  How about $10,000 a month  representing the University of Akron to Gov. Kasich?

In her telling report, the paper's prize winning investigative reporter Laura A. Bischoff
wrote that DeWine, despite his denials, has been  "actively  involved" in the lucrative debt-collection process in which special counsel appointees could pocket princely sums from their work with hundreds of thousands of dollars returned to his political coffers.

She wrote:  "A review  of his calendar shows  he has met routinely  with debt collection attorneys, vendors and their lobbyists, many of them with close ties to DeWine's political  operation."

How close?  Bischoff disclosed  this untidy plot device in which DeWine emailed top aides  on Feb. 20, 2011:

 "Please call Debbie Walsh in Alex arishnikoff (sic) office.  He wants to bring in Pete spiteleri (sic) ...The issue is collections.  So figure out who needs to be in the meeting."

Spitalieri is is a well-connected Hudson businessman, Republican contributor  and Arshinkoff's close friend.  They didn't plan to play ring-around-the-rosie at the meeting.

"In his first 16 months in office," Bischoff wrote,"DeWine met four time with Arshinkoff and Spitalieri  in his office, lunched with the two men at Spitalieri's property in Hudson and held a conference call with them, according to DeWine' work calendar.  DeWine said he doesn't recall meeting that many times with Spitalieri..."

Bischoff told me there was no point in calling Arshinkoff.  "He hasn't returned  any of my calls in more than 10 years,"  she said.

In a campaign year, this story will grow.   But in the event that the Beacon Journal editorial writers might possibly read it, will  they hesitate in damning DeWine's opponent, Democrat David Pepper, for raising pay-to play questions?

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