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Ivanka’s Ethics in Question
Coincidence? The Chinese government granted Ivanka Trump’s company provisional approval for three new trademarks in April, according to a report by the Associated Press. This move by the Chinese government will include monopoly rights to sell her jewelry and bags. The decision was made on the same night that Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner dined with President Xi at Mar-a-Lago.
He Lobbied for Oil and Coal, Now Advises Trump – on Oil and Coal
Swamp name you haven’t heard, but matters: Michael Catanzaro.
Catanzaro, an appointee to the National Economic Council whose portfolio includes energy and environmental issues, was formerly a lobbyist for oil and coal companies. As a lobbyist, Catanzaro opposed the Obama administration’s clean power policy. Catanzaro is now working on that same issue in the Trump administration.
Technically there are prohibitions against this, but the President can issue a waiver.
ECOT’s Taxpayer-Finance PR Machine, With Help From a Legislative Ally, Keep Fighting
The academic failures of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) have been well documented long before a 2016 New York Times’ analysis which found that ECOT has the nation’s worst four-year graduation rate.
That same year, the Columbus Dispatch reported this:
“One of every six high school dropouts in Ohio last year came from ECOT. That measures up to 3,252 of its students.’’
Also well-documented: ECOT owner Bill Lager’s related companies also get special treatment – and millions from taxpayers. ProgressOhio uncovered this in 2016:
“Amid growing opposition to William Lager’s consistently failing online charter schools, Mr. Lager found a new cash cow: IQ Innovations, his online learning management company.
“Political leaders close to Lager steered at least $2.7 million in public money to help refurbish IQ Innovations, a distance learning platform that Ohio tapped to provide online textbooks and other educational materials used by K-12 schools. The state calls the clearinghouse iLearnOhio.
Governor John Kasich’s first state budget mandated that the digital clearinghouse be housed at Ohio State University but authorized the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents to choose IQ as its outside vendor.
This resulted in a highly unusual arrangement: Ohio taxpayers paid millions to help IQ, a private firm, build a sophisticated technology platform – but the state received zero ownership interest in it.’’
iLearn was canceled last year.
ECOT’s political giving – mostly to Republican candidates and causes – has been documented and now tops $6.2 million.
It’s no surprise that a GOP House member is working hard to help ECOT. Dispatch has the details:
Rep. Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, is crafting amendments to the two-year budget to change how much each charter school counts toward a sponsor’s overall academic-performance rating.
Without the change, ECOT, the state’s largest charter school, is expected to eventually struggle to find a willing sponsor.
While many candidates refused contributions from ECOT last year, Brennan, chair of the Ohio House Education and Career Readiness Committee received the maximum $12,532.
Exxon Seeks Waiver To Do Biz in Russia – Under Deal Cut by Tillerson
Exxon Mobil wants to sidestep 2014 US sanctions against Russia in order to do business there. Back in 2012, former Exxon CEO and now Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed a major deal with Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft.
Exxon received a waiver from the Treasury Department in past years to continue to do business, despite the sanctions. This year, Exxon is asking for another waiver but this comes as US-Russia relations are at a low point thanks to escalating tensions around Syria and allegations of interfering with the Presidential election.
Rep. Retherford, Drunk Behind the Wheel With Loaded Gun, Escapes Felony Weapons Charge
Remember State Rep. Wes Retherford? He was arrested after officers found him, apparently passed out, behind the wheel of his pick-up truck at a McDonald’s drive-thru. Retherford also had a firearm with him. The police report of the incident said he was so pickled that the he nearly fell over while trying to perform a field sobriety test.
He also had several moving violations for driving at excessive speeds and assorted traffic violations.
Retherford was indicted on drunk driving charges, but the firearms charges appear all but forgotten. Had he been indicted on the weapons charge, a fifth-degree felony, Retherford could have been removed from his seat in the Ohio House. Read the full story here.
Kasich Withholding Information About Troopers Sent to Guard Pipeline; Ohio’s Pipeline Spills Into Wetlands
John Kasich (finally) admitted to sending state troopers to the Dakota pipeline protests, where force was used against protestors. Details are still scarce.
Remember why protestors were so adamantly opposed to the Dakota Pipeline? One big one was to protect their water.
Back in Ohio, construction began on the Rover pipeline in March – and it’s being constructed by the same company doing the Dakota pipeline. On April 14, Rover caused 50,000 gallons of drilling fluids to spill into a wetland in Richland County. Earlier that week, two million gallons were spilled within a wetland adjacent to the Tuscarawas River in Stark County.
The Rover pipeline will carry fracked gas across four states and will cross three major rivers: the Maumee, Sandusky, and Portage, all of which feed in to Lake Erie.
Sherrod Brown and His Fellow Senate Democrats Pressure Trump to Support ‘Buy-America’ Bill
US Sen. Sherrod Brown urged Trump to go farther on his “Buy America” stance by calling for the President to support legislation to use American steel and iron and American labor to build all taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects. Trump built his casino with Chinese steel.
This is what it means to put your money where your mouth is, President Trump.
Read more here.
Cleveland Awaits Winner of Epic Battle Between Dan Gilbert’s Fortune and the City’s Neighborhoods
Millionaire Dan Gilbert made it personal this week when he directly lobbied Cleveland City Council members to support the controversial Q Arena deal. This deal would guarantee public dollars for renovations to Quicken Loans Arena. If City Council has 12 “yes” votes out of 17, it will pass as an emergency measure, making it ineligible for a citizen referendum.
The Greater Cleveland Congregation has begun plans to take the controversial issue to the voters if the deal passes.
Renacci Boots Campaign Manager; Citizens United Backs Mandel Bigly; Surprise: Everybody Has a Driver’s License
U.S. Rep. and GOP candidate for Governor Jim Renacci booted his campaign manager just weeks into the race; Bryan Reed has been replaced by Weston McKee, a recent advisor to U.S. Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ).
A conservative group, Citizens United, infamous because of its role in opening the flood gates to corporate dollars in elections and for its ties to Trump, endorsed Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel for his 2018 Senate campaign. We’re shocked.
Just double checking…. The Cincinnati Enquirer checked the driving records of all announced gubernatorial candidates. They all have a valid driver’s license.
If Congress Cuts Medicaid, Schools Would Lose Nurses, Speech Pathologists, Social Workers
According to statement from Policy Matters Ohio, proposed cuts to Medicaid would force schools to their cut nurses, speech pathologists and social workers – or find a way to pay for their services directly.
“Medicaid has created a safety net for thousands of students who walk our halls with undiagnosed mental illness, said Andrew Smith, a social workers with the Sheffield-Sheffield Lake City Schools. This is so important as more students face the stresses of opioid addiction among loved ones.’’
GOP Lawmaker Compares Planned Parenthood to Nazis and has Fondness for White Supremacist
We weren’t really sure where to start with State Rep. Candice Keller, a Republican from Middletown. She compared Planned Parenthood to the Nazis. You’d think she could get some advice from Sean Spicer after he compared Syria’s Assad to Hitler, and said “even Hitler didn’t gas his own people,” evoking immediate backlash. It was, after all, during Passover.
Keller also appeared on a known white supremacist’s radio show, and then tried to back pedal. She wants sanctuary cities banned and was one of the few legislators who spoke out against Maribel Trujillo, the mom of four deported earlier this week.
Ohio is better than Rep. Keller, and her mentor Josh Mandel.
BREAKING: Study Shows Right-to-Work States Have Slower Growth
What we’ve known here for years, and why Ohio is a free bargaining state: “Right-to-Work” really is the “Right to Work for Less.” Wages are lower and wage growth is slower.
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