Strange Happenings in Ohio
So my sister is in town from Chicago, and last night I was having dinner with her and of course we started talking politics. And she shares with me this bizarre story she had heard about out of Ohio. It seems that Ohio Republicans (they control the Governor's Mansion and both legislative bodies) entrusted tens of millions of dollars of the Ohio Workers Compensation Fund to an investor who deals in rare coins, art and collectables. Yes, that's right, the State of Ohio is the ONLY state in this nation to invest public funds in rare coins and collectables (yeah, like baseball cards and similar items). And things get worse. About $12 million of the funds are now missing. Hundreds of the rare coins (2 of them worth $300,000) are missing and other investments are unaccounted for. Now here's the kicker. The investor to whom the money was entrusted is a major contributor to the Republican Party both at the state and national levels. It seems that the reason he was hired to make these investments in the first place was as a "thank you" for his financial support over the years. But the real twist is that it was recently revealed that some of the missing assets have been missing since as early as 1993. So it appears that this loyal investor was stealing from Ohio State funds, and turning around and giving it to Ohio Republicans as donations for election campaigns (including the campaign of the current governor of Oio)! And now many of those very Republicans are balking at the suggestion that they personally return that money to the Ohio Workers Compensation Fund. O.K., I couldn't believe it myself, so here's the story from the Toledo Blade if you want to check it out yourself.
I suppose $12 million is chump change though compared to the $200+ million lost from the very same fund as a result of mismanagement by an investment firm headquartered right here in my home town of Pittsburgh, PA. It seems that the Governor's Office may have attempted to cover up those losses, and is now being investigated in this regard as well. Looks like the Republicans have some real damage control to do in Ohio. They better work fast if they want to retain control of the state, which they need to do if they want to steal the election there in 2008 like they did in 2005.