Top Senate Staffers Apparently Committed Theft in Office and Tampered with Evidence Running Political Campaigns
September 8, 2014
Columbus – Common Cause Ohio and ProgressOhio called for felony charges against ex-Ohio GOP Executive Director Jason Mauk and his business partner, ex- GOP Communitcations Director Jason McClelland.
The call for action followed a Dayton Daily News investigation that found clear instances where Mauk committed theft in office while working as Ohio Senate Chief of Staff, which is a felony. One day after receiving a records request from reporter Laura Bischoff, Mauk and McClelland altered government records, in an apparent cover-up attempt. The Ohio Revised Code section 2921.12 states that an official altering any record when an investigation is “likely” is tampering with evidence, a felony.
Common Cause Ohio Chairman Sam Gresham stated, “If you need proof this is a big deal, just look at what they did when they were caught. I want you to understand that people have been convicted of felonies for much more minor offenses. I believe it is hypocrisy if these two are not pursued in the same manner.”
Per the Ohio Revised Code, any state employee theft from the state is considered a felony. In 2012, a wildlife officer was charged with theft in office for hunting on the job. Two months ago, a school board member was charged with two felonies for using 10 gallons of gas for personal use.
In addition to pursuing charges, the organizations made two other recommendations:
- The Ohio legislature should pass a law banning paid political work by state employees not on official leave.
- The Senate Clerk should immediately implement a time card system. A follow-up Dayton Daily News story revealed that 99.99% of Ohio public employees have such a system, only the Senate does not.
Common Cause Ohio’s Policy Analyst, Catherine Turcer, stated, “We need a firewall between doing the people’s work and political work. We have a long tradition of Statehouse staffers taking time off to do campaigning, but Jason Mauk and John McClelland are full-time senior aides and it may not be clear to interested parties when they are working on campaign and when they are doing the work of the people.”
ProgressOhio Executive Director Brian Rothenberg reiterated that Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien must take action, saying, “These are top legislative staffers that weren’t happy with the nearly quarter million dollars a year they were making off tax payers. They got caught double-dipping and then committed a felony trying to cover it up. Ron O’Brien charged Columbus City Schools and Rep. Luckie with tampering and he must do it again here.”