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State Representative John Patrick Carney Launches Bid to Challenge Auditor Dave Yost in 2014

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 2:40 PM

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A Democratic state lawmaker who has been critical of Ohio’s auditor is running for office. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports John Patrick Carney has thrown his hat in the ring to run against Republican Auditor Dave Yost next November.

The Kelly green signs in the union hall read John Patrick Carney for State Auditor. Carney himself, who doesn’t normally use his middle name when doing legislative business at the Statehouse, is wearing a matching Kelly green tie when he announces his candidacy for state auditor.

Carney’s announcement is probably the worst kept secret in the halls of the Statehouse. Political insiders have expected it for months. After all, Carney has been an outspoken critic of JobsOhio, the state’s non-profit private job creation corporation. He says it isn’t transparent enough.

“The only way taxpayers know whether elected officials are giving them a positive return on their investment is to have an auditor who provides a transparent accounting on how every dollar is spent,” he said.

Carney questions the sincerity of Ohio’s current Republican auditor when it comes to JobsOhio. Carney says Auditor Dave Yost has made statements that he wants to audit JobsOhio, but notes he didn’t do it before a new law kicked in that prevents it. Yost had said in June he intended to complete an audit of JobsOhio with documents he asked for via subpoena in March. The auditor’s office says that audit is still being conducted, but there’s no word on when it might be complete.

Carney says Yost is also part of the team that gave approval to the current redistricting maps.  Carney blames those maps for creating districts that stifle progress in state government.

“Republicans aren’t getting along with Republicans, let alone Republicans working with Democrats,” he said. “That’s because these districts have been drawn in such a way to elect people with ideological ideas instead of who realize it’s their job to actually get something done for the taxpayers. And so until you fix the ailing democracy, it’s going to be difficult to get a number of the substantive issues completed that we need to be working on.”

The Ohio Republican Party’s Chris Schrimpf says voters cannot trust Carney to be the state’s top fiscal watchdog. He say Carney was one of the Democrats who voted to appoint former Democratic Treasurer Kevin Boyce to a statewide office in 2012. His former staffer has since been indicted on federal conspiracy, bribery and money laundering charges.

“Carney voted to seat Kevin Boyce in his caucus even as Kevin Boyce was coming off a federal investigation into his treasurer’s office,” Schrimpf. “The question is why did Carney think it was OK for Kevin Boyce to be seated with that corruption scandal going on, or if he didn’t know about it, was it OK for Kevin Boyce to remain in that office and to have withheld that information from his Democratic colleagues?”

The Ohio Republican Party plans to submit an open records request for correspondence by Carney concerning Boyce.  When asked about the GOP’s criticism, Carney says they are throwing up smoke to distract from the issues.

“A number of ridiculous statements seem to come out of the GOP because they don’t want to have an evidence-based conversation about anything they are working on,” he said. “JobsOhio is a perfect example where they don’t want to talk about government in secret because they know nobody wants government in secret so instead of responding in a substantive way to it, they’ll throw barbs. This is just another example of that.”

Now that Carney has announced his intention to run for auditor, Democrats have fielded candidates for all of the statewide offices. Election Day 2014 is 14 months away.

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Government/Politics, Elections

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