Why is DeWine’s campaign still sitting on $36,000 in ECOT-connected cash?
Today, Vice President Mike Pence will host a campaign fundraiser at Cincinnati’s Queen City Club on behalf of Mike DeWine’s gubernatorial campaign. But while Vice President Pence attempts to woo campaign donors, DeWine’s campaign is still sitting on $36,000 in campaign cash connected to the scandal-ridden Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT).
ECOT, which abruptly closed earlier this year after the online charter school was caught defrauding Ohio taxpayers, is at the center of the largest scandal in Ohio history. As ECOT scammed Ohio taxpayers and schools out of hundreds of millions of dollars, ECOT founder Bill Lager and his associates pumped millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of Ohio Republicans — including Mike DeWine and his running mate.
Now, even as Bill Lager faces an FBI investigation for alleged illegal campaign contributions, the DeWine campaign has yet to part ways with $36,000 in ECOT-connected cash.
“Mike DeWine owes Ohio taxpayers, parents, and students an explanation on why his campaign is still holding onto tens of thousands of dollars in dirty ECOT money,” said For Our Future Ohio spokesperson Daniel van Hoogstraten. “For years, Mike DeWine had the opportunity to intervene and stop ECOT from ripping off Ohio taxpayers and kids, but instead he looked the other way while accepting campaign donations from ECOT’s founder.”
Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against ECOT, which was attempting to avoid repaying the money that it stole from taxpayers. As the Akron Beacon Journal editorialized, the court’s ruling offers even more evidence that Ohio Republicans including Mike DeWine could have acted sooner, yet failed to do so:
The court ruling points to something else in this campaign season. William Lager bought favor through political money, generous contributions mostly to Republicans. Now, after looking the other way, Republicans are quick to give the impression of cracking down. Yet the court appears to reinforce that, say, Dave Yost, Mike DeWine and Keith Faber could have moved much earlier, warning lights flashing years ago… Unfortunately, Republicans failed to act.