Tuesday

Toledo Newspaper Endorses Marc Dann for Ohio Attorney General

We strongly support government officials who protect consumers, and we ask you to do the same. The Ohio Attorney General's office is in charge of protecting Ohio consumers and that is why this year's election is critically important to consumers everywhere.

That's also why the following Editorial article, published in the Toledo Blade newspaper on October 15, 2006, is presented here in its entirety as a public service announcement in favor of better government and better government officials.

Dann for Attorney General

Ohio needs a watchdog, not a partisan lapdog, as attorney general, which is why we emphatically endorse state Sen. Marc Dann for the post in the Nov. 7 election.

After The Blade exposed corruption in the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in 2005, a scandal that spread to Gov. Bob Taft’s office, Senator Dann, a Democrat from the Youngstown area, was among few legislators in the Republican-controlled General Assembly to speak out forcefully to further uncover what would become known as “Coingate.”

We believe that Senator Dann would serve a similarly vigilant role as attorney general. Based on his performance in helping to peel back the layers of official deceit that initially shrouded Coingate, we have no reason to doubt his claim that he would be as tough on Democrats who might be elected to state office as he would be on Republicans and their culture of corruption.

Senator Dann’s Republican opponent, Betty Montgomery, wants her old job as attorney general back, but she doesn’t deserve it. As the incumbent state auditor, and before that as attorney general, it was her job to blow the whistle on Tom Noe’s rare-coin investment deal as soon as she learned of it, but she did not.

Instead, Ms. Montgomery cruised along as an integral part of the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil cadre of GOP officeholders who have been running Ohio for the past 16 years. They looked the other way as workers’ compensation officials quietly handed Noe the breathtaking sum of $50 million, some of which, the state alleges, he converted to his personal use.

That Noe is now on trial on theft and racketeering charges stemming from Coingate does not diminish the culpability of those GOP officials, who turned a blind eye to this egregious waste of taxpayer dollars that were supposed to be used to help injured workers.

Incredibly, Ms. Montgomery has admitted that she knew about Noe’s seven-year investment deal for at least a year before the story broke. But there were no public pronouncements. Even after the scam was revealed, she kept her official head down and essentially took no action for 43 days until the public furor forced her hand.

Tom Noe was Ms. Montgomery’s friend and one of her generous political patrons. While that relationship might explain why she took no real action against him, it is certainly no excuse.

Bolstered by a fat campaign fund to pay for endless TV spots, Ms. Montgomery has been making much of a public reprimand handed Senator Dann by the Ohio Supreme Court for filing the wrong pleading as a private attorney in a divorce case.This was a far less serious matter than Ms. Montgomery would have voters believe. She undoubtedly doesn’t want anyone to recall that, as attorney general in 1996, the state Supreme Court threw out her own appeal of an open-records case after she failed to file a brief on time. At the time, she blamed this nonfeasance on a broken office copy machine.

With a law degree from Case-Western Reserve University School of Law, Senator Dann is a better-trained and far more energetic and articulate lawyer than Ms. Montgomery, and we believe he would better serve Ohioans in cleaning up the current Statehouse mess.

State officials who, like Betty Montgomery, wear partisan blinders and fail to do their job don’t deserve another chance, especially when there’s a better alternative. In our view, the better candidate for attorney general is clearly Marc Dann.
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The Toledo newspaper has it right. There are lots of reasons to vote this year, including the chance to change government for the better. Marc Dann would be one of those better changes, where an elected official cares about consumer rights again.