Friday, October 20, 2006

19 Days Before Election Day Mary Taylor Finally Realizes She Needs a Plan to Run for Auditor

Here’s an Idea: “Start by auditing your own inappropriate official activities”

Taylor stood to personally benefit from inappropriate letter

Columbus, Ohio – As Mary Taylor prepares to release a plan for the Auditor’s office just 19 days before Election Day, more questions are being raised about inappropriate behavior in her state legislative office. Taylor, seeking to be the state’s fiscal watchdog, wrote a letter to her Republican legislative colleagues on official stationary advocating funding for the Global Business Institute at the University of Akron because it was supported by “several of the Ohio Republican Party’s biggest supporters.”

Now, more information is coming to light regarding Taylor’s inappropriate letter that is causing even more trouble for the candidate of Ohio’s most scandal plagued political party. While Mary Taylor was advocating for this program, University records show that Welty Construction, the firm owned by Taylor and her husband Don had a $331,000 contract to help build the new Global Business Institute building expansion at the University of Akron. Representative Taylor did not disclose her financial relationship with the Global Business Institute while advocating for its funding.

Please see page 3 of the University of Akron’s Board of Trustees Memo for more information.

“Mary Taylor is sinking deeper and deeper into the muck of Ohio’s Republican scandals,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern. “Taylor doesn’t have the fortitude to even audit her own inappropriate official actions. She has a lot of explaining to do before Ohio voters should even think about letting her near the state’s checkbook. The last thing Ohio needs is four more years of investigations.”

After Rep. Taylor circulated this letter, she was rewarded by these same supporters with more than $10,000 in campaign cash.

The letter’s content – as well as Taylor’s use of statehouse resources – appears to violate the following ethical guidelines:

IMPROPER INFLUENCE – Section 7A, General Assembly’s Legislative Code of Ethics
No member ... of the General Assembly…shall use or attempt to use…the authority of influence of the member’s or employee’s office…to secure anything of value or the promise or offer of anything of value…as to manifest a substantial and improper influence upon the member…

IMPROPER INDUCEMENT – Section 11, General Assembly’s Legislative Code of Ethics
If any person attempts to induce a member of employee of or candidate for the General Assembly or employee of any legislative agency to violate any provision of this Code of Ethics, the member, employee or candidate shall report the matter to the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee.

Sykes Continues To Campaign To Restore Trust In Government

State Rep. Sykes has been canvassing the state talking about her 3 point plan for brining transparency and responsible government back to the Auditor’s Office by:
--Reducing the number of audits contracted out to private auditing firms and bring them in-house.
--Increasing the number of performance audits conducted by the Auditor’s Office.
--Requiring agency internal auditors to file a copy of their reports with the Auditor’s office at least once each year.

Additionally, Barbara Sykes has pledged to strength the Auditor’s accountability to taxpayers by:
--Fighting for full disclosure from the Auditor. Currently work papers prepared by government auditors are subject to the public records law. There is no reason that work papers prepared by private auditing firms that are paid with taxpayer’s dollars should not be subject to the public records law also. Ohio’s Republican Supreme Court is wrong on this issue and Barbara Sykes will work to make sure all private audit work papers are available to the public.
--Restoring Check Writing Authority to the Auditor’s Office. Until recently, the State Auditor signed state warrants. The signing of a state warrant is a promise to the citizens of Ohio that their money is being spent properly. Removing the Auditor from this process allows the executive branch of government to review and approve its own expenditures. This change eliminates an essential check and balance and needs to be restored.

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