Shortly thereafter, Dann reversed an earlier denial by admitting to a consensual office affair that may have set a wrong tone for his managers. They took this position for political reasons only. They showed no regard for the rights of Dann, the persons who helped elect him, or the Ohioans he was working to protect. A surprising win in the election Dann was a heavy underdog when he ran for attorney general in against the well-known Republican state auditor.
As a state senator in and , Dann had been a leader in exposing the corruption through a series of public-records requests, three lawsuits filed against then-Gov. Additionally, in an era of widespread corporate malfeasance, Dann fought securities fraud, predatory lending, antitrust violations, Medicaid fraud, and other corporate wrongdoing.
As he had promised during the campaign, Dann vigorously opposed white-collar criminals. He was bringing a populist mindset to the operation of the office. Longtime attorneys there said Dann was willing to boldly go where no Ohio attorneys general — Democrat or Republican — had gone before. And those lawyers were pleased about it, because they were at last able to work for some long-overdue justice for the public.
Approximately a month before the complaints became public, an article about Dann in Columbus Monthly magazine said the aggressive agenda he was pursuing was controversial among some business interests. But the article was mostly favorable toward Dann and contained speculation he could someday be governor. They have never shown as much interest as he did in representing average citizens and the poor. But they have been very interested in pleasing big business and receiving its campaign contributions.
Either way, a misdemeanor is a crime. But there was no evidence that Dann had committed a misdemeanor, and thus no authority to remove him under the constitutional standard for impeachment. Bob Taft met the constitutional standard in when he was convicted of committing four first-degree misdemeanors in his acts as governor. He was the first Ohio governor in history to be convicted of a crime.
The Republican Taft was not only a criminal but an incompetent and unethical dolt who ran a remarkably corrupt administration and allowed the state treasury to be plundered by corporate crooks. At a minimum, hundreds of millions of dollars were lost. Bush should have been impeached on any of numerous grounds, such as intentionally lying to take the country to war in Iraq, causing the unnecessary deaths and maiming of thousands of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens, violating the federal criminal law on wiretapping FISA , authorizing torture of prisoners in violation of U.
In his book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, famed prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi argues compellingly that Bush, who had avoided service in Vietnam like a coward, should be prosecuted for murder for knowingly using false pretenses to send American soldiers to their deaths in Iraq. He thought providing huge tax cuts for big business and the wealthiest citizens was a higher priority.
In a lawsuit alleging Clinton had sexually harassed a state employee as governor of Arkansas, he committed perjury, obstructed justice, and attempted to improperly influence the testimony of witnesses.
Clinton, who has also been described as a corporate Democrat, was impeached by the U. House of Representatives but not convicted in the Senate. Then she referred the matter to the Arkansas Supreme Court. The settlement also enabled him to avoid prosecution by the replacement independent counsel for the crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice.
Clinton later surrendered his U. Supreme Court law license to end disbarment proceedings begun by that court. Dems lower the bar for Dann The failure to remove Taft, Bush, and Clinton from office seemed to set a very high bar for impeachment.
And Dann was far below it. But the sly Strickland, along with his unprincipled and spineless Democratic lackeys in the Ohio House, devised a method to get around the problem. They apparently decided that a much lower impeachment standard should apply to populist officeholders.
In the impeachment resolution introduced against Dann, they declined to use the impeachment standard in Section In particular, the standards came from Ohio Revised Code Section 3. Its standards include acts less serious than crimes. It would involve collecting signatures of over , qualified electors and then having the matter heard by a state appellant court, whose decision can be appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court. By bringing the impeachment resolution under Section 24 but not using the removal standard contained in that section, and instead using the Section 38 standards that apply to an entirely different procedure, Strickland and the Democratic representatives acted unlawfully and fraudulently.
Their resolution was intended to deceive the public into erroneously believing that impeachable acts had been committed. In setting forth the impeachable offenses, the resolution included acts that no one before had ever dreamed could be grounds for impeachment. Some of the alleged impeachable acts included failing to perform official duties of the office, failing to exercise due care in the administration of the office, failing to ensure the safety and security of state property, failing to know about the misuse of state property for personal business, and undermining the effectiveness and efficiency of the office.
Far less than criminal acts are needed to meet such standards. As one Ohio newspaper editorialized: This was a remarkable instance of putting the cart before the horse. It also showed they had decided the issue regardless of what the investigation would find. But this was not the end of their unfairness or deviousness. In providing for the outside investigation, Strickland and the General Assembly did not choose an independent and impartial investigator, as would have been the right thing to do under the circumstances.
Instead, they chose the Ohio inspector general. In essence, the inspector general answers to the small man who was working feverishly and unethically to remove Dann from office: The General Assembly might as well have passed a law allowing Strickland to tie up Dann and hit him over the head with a large stick until he agreed to resign.
Either approach would have been equally effective in producing the same result. And he would be sure to do it with a vengeance. Reportedly stunned by the raid, Dann was stripped of his computer, BlackBerry, and state vehicle. He was compelled to resign, but still contended he had not committed an impeachable offense. Other government offices, both at the federal and state levels, often investigate allegations of workplace sexual harassment.
They manage to do it successfully without using Gestapo tactics and seriously disrupting the operation of workplaces. But those offices normally strive to conduct a fair and nondisruptive investigation, which is not what Strickland and other Democratic leaders wanted for Dann. They were determined to force him from office no matter if laws and civilized standards of fairness had to be trampled.
That is not the attitude of people who want an impartial investigation and a fair application of the law. During the same press conference, Strickland advocated impeachment while also revealing he was unsure what the standard for impeachment is under the Ohio Constitution. This nonsensical position was, by itself, indisputable proof that his acts were based on political calculations and not the law.
If, as many believe, the manner in which a person uses power is the best test of character, Strickland failed the test miserably. Conclusion Strickland and his fellow corporate Democrats should be ashamed of their unlawful and unethical conduct that drove the populist Dann from the office the voters had elected him to hold.
A stronger case could be made for removing those officials from office than for removing Dann. The entire episode was a huge miscarriage of justice, an affront to democracy, and a victory for powerful corporate interests. In announcing his choice of an interim attorney general to replace Dann, Strickland said he did not know she was a Democrat until after he had offered her the position.
This was another indication of his lack of interest in having an attorney general who aggressively supports traditional Democratic principles. And although the appointee said she is a Democrat, a check by the media revealed that when Strickland and Dann were elected in , she was registered as a Republican.
For the special election to decide who will serve the final two years of the term Dann had been elected to, both the Republican and Democratic candidates promised business groups they will be less aggressive than Dann was as attorney general. The impeachment bar will surely be raised high again for such officials.
And the lower standards will be placed in storage until the next hard-charging, populist statewide officeholder comes along. Sadly, much of the above story has not been told by the corporate media in Ohio. They seem obsessed with the parts about sex and drinking. If there were, Strickland and Democratic members of the Ohio House would be in big trouble. But maybe the voters will someday play that role.