Being the Ohio auditor is a tough job. You have to proactively make sure that the people you work with are doing their job and spending taxpayer money wisely. You have to provide fair and honest reports on different programs run by the State, and no matter how much your friends beg, you can’t give them special treatment because that would betray the taxpayer.
Or you can take the Dave Yost path.
The tenet of the Yost path is to be a follower, never a leader. When you get a chance to audit a troubling program bilking Ohioans out of millions of dollars, you look the other way until it’s election season and public opinion yanks you along. When friends or campaign donors want you to look the other way, you do it – until it’s election season and public opinion yanks you along.
Under no circumstances must you do your job until you are absolutely forced to.
When it comes to the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), Yost was a true follower and friend to his friends. ECOT’s problems have been known for years (check out this 2015 article) but Yost didn’t bother to audit the school. His negligence helped the school steal almost $200 million from Ohio taxpayers and decades worth of education from Ohio students.
Even as the tide began to shift against ECOT, Yost resisted taking any meaningful action. He kept refusing to audit the school and blew off whistleblowers for over a year. It took a slew of bad press and an epiphany that he could use the school for political gain for him to even do an audit.
Despite the clear conflict of interest, Yost refuses to recuse himself. Then, after years and years of stalling, Yost finally referred the case for criminal prosecution…to another one of his pals who’s swimming in ECOT money.
That’s just the Dave Yost way.