Ohio Democrats are right to ask questions about JobsOhio, the private, nonprofit organization leading economic development for the state. Their problem? They are pursuing the wrong questions, increasingly seeming desperate in their effort to tag Gov. John Kasich with an ethics violation concerning the operation.
Before arriving in the governor’s office, Kasich served for nearly a decade on the board of Worthington Industries, a Columbus-based steel processor. Once elected, he severed his ties with the company. Yet he continued to receive deferred compensation, roughly $610,000.
Democrats have pushed the idea that the compensation somehow was part of a quid pro quo, leading to an equivalent sum in tax credits for Worthington the past two years. Kasich earned the money for serving on the board before he was elected governor. The tax credits were approved by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority, not JobsOhio.
The Ohio Ethics Commission looked at the question and concluded, reasonably, there was no violation. Now Democrats are suggesting Merom Brachman, the commission chairman, is under the Kasich influence, overlooking his strong record on the commission compiled over decades.
Pretty soon, Democrats are going to squander their credibility. And when they raise legitimate questions about JobsOhio, concerning transparency and performance? Too few will listen.