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?