GOP Fetes Possible Criminal

Amidst a storm of ethics charges levied in a report by the Kasich-appointed state inspector general, Kasich's state schools superintendent Stan Heffner resigned this past weekend. He resigned Saturday afternoon whining that he was being picked on by Democrats. The IG report was generated by a Republican official.

Many across the state are saying his resignation isn't enough, and that the IG charges should be referred for possibly prosecution. Says today's Columbus Dispatch

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien has reviewed Meyer’s report and is waiting to receive supporting documents before deciding whether criminal charges are warranted. Columbus City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. is also reviewing Meyer’s findings.

So what do Republicans do? This (also from the Dispatch story):

Hugs, cake and a lingering sense of shock marked a small going-away party for state Superintendent Stan W. Heffner yesterday inside the Department of Education.

This is one of the things about politics that drives me up a wall, one of the big lies of "both sides do it." When Republicans get themselves into a situation that may involve criminal wrongdoing, their supporters double down, circle the wagons, and blame everything on the media. Remember all the bluster when the stories about Tom Noe and Coingate started to pour out of the Toledo Blade? It was all a partisan witch hunt, according to Republicans.

And Democrats? Too often in the past at the first whiff of Republican indignation, they knuckle under and apologize for virtually nothing. They are way too fond of the phrase "We are better than that" to justify eating their own.

Anyone remember Marc Dann, the Democrat elected state attorney general in 2006? He was hounded out of office after Democrats quickly abandoned him. What was he accused of? Having a couple of crony employees who engaged in some frat-house type tactics and having a consensual affair with another adult. Quick, fan me! I think I just fainted.

No one held a party for Marc Dann. No one spoke to Marc Dann anymore. Dann's name was never mentioned in Democratic circles again. At the state Democratic dinner recently, one speaker mentioned all the terrific Democrats elected in 2006 and of course Dann's name was conspicuously absent — and Dann did some great things as attorney general even in the brief time he was in office.

On the sleaze scale, Marc Dann isn't in Stan Heffner's league (We're talking about performance in office here, not personal activities, which frankly are none of our business). Heffner is accused, among other things, of trying to corrupt the education of Ohio's schoolchildren for his own potential enrichment.

Yet his pals hold a party for him. There's no sense that he's slinking out the door hanging his head. He's boasting about the charity work he'll do and his second-in-command, now interim superintendent, Michael Sawyers is saying, "People were surprised by his decision to retire. That just wasn’t part of the discussion for him," just like no one there was aware that the state inspector general had been investigating his activities for the past year and maybe — just MAYBE — would find he had done something wrong.

By the way, the oblivious Sawyers provided the cake. It figures.

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