Even in the #MeToo era, powerful men can still snake their way out of anything.
Just ask Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and House Minority Leader Bill Seitz. In January, an anonymous House staffer filed a formal complaint against Seitz for sexual harassment after he publicly disparaged several women at a bar.
DeWine, whose job is to responsibly and seriously investigate sexual harassment claims, took a different route. He farmed out the contract to the same law firm that Seitz worked at for 36 years. That firm had also directly donated over $13,000 to Seitz’s campaign, while another $25,000 was donated from firm employees – including from the lawyer DeWine appointed.
When all this came to light, DeWine’s office quickly tried to feign ignorance and throw the firm under the bus. Now DeWine may be old, but no one running for Ohio governor should have a memory so bad they forgot where their friend and colleague worked for over three decades.
Also, the Ohio House threw DeWine under the bus by admitting everyone knew about the conflicts of interest from the beginning.
BUT, that’s not even the most absurd part of this story. While the law firm was investigating Seitz, the law firm donated to Seitz’s campaign.
So the same people who were supposed to be investigating Seitz for sexual harassment donated to his campaign before the investigation and kept donating during their investigation. They probably just gave him the check during their “interview.”
Oh yeah, and they only interviewed two people not named Seitz.
In the least surprising development of this story, the law firm cleared Seitz.
And that is how, if you’re a powerful man in Ohio, you can make your sexual harassment disappear.