The Republican Governors Association released a new television ad in the Ohio governor’s race Thursday, drawing attention to what it considers to be “bad judgment” on the part of Democrat candidate Richard Cordray.
The ad focuses on Cordray’s time as Ohio treasurer and his decision to hire a Pakistani-American named Amer Ahmad as chief financial officer.
While working as CFO, Ahmad pulled off a brazen conspiracy to pilfer more than $500,000 in taxpayer dollars from the state treasury. He pleaded guilty in December 2013 to conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery. But, before his sentencing hearing was held, Ahmad fled to Pakistan, the country from which his parents had immigrated.
Watch RGA’s Ohio TV ad below:
“Richard Cordray’s bad judgment is further proof that he doesn’t belong in the Ohio governor’s office,” said RGA Spokesman John Burke.
The RGA supports Cordray’s opponent, Republican Mike DeWine, for Ohio governor.
“Cordray’s hire of Amer Ahmad led to the rip-off of taxpayers and the biggest kickback scheme in the history of Ohio state government,” Burke said. “Ohio can’t afford Richard Cordray’s bad judgement.”
Cordray hired Ahmad at the Ohio Treasury in May 2008.
From January 2009 through January 2011, Ahmad used his position as Deputy Treasurer to direct official state of Ohio business to securities broker Douglas E. Hampton in return for bribes.
According to the U.S. Justice Department press release, Ahmad and Chicago businessman Joseph Chiavaroli concealed the payments received from Hampton by passing them through the accounts of their landscaping business. Hampton also funneled more than $123,000 to Mohammed Noure Alo, an attorney and lobbyist who was Ahmad’s close personal friend and business associate. Over the course of the scheme, Hampton paid in excess of $500,000 in bribes and received, in exchange, approximately $3.2 million in commissions for 360 securities trades on behalf of the Ohio Treasurer’s Office.
Ahmad was eventually extradited back to the United States in 2015 and is now serving a 15-year prison term.
“Amer Ahmad abused the public’s trust and ran halfway across the globe to hide,” said FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge Angela Byers in a written statement in August 2015. “Tenacious FBI special agents and investigators continued to pursue Ahmad until he could be returned to face justice. Now he will have plenty of time to reflect on his corrupt actions while serving out his lengthy prison sentence.”
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson expressed shock at Ahmad’s sentencing hearing that others in the Ohio Treasury’s office did not discover what was happening sooner.
“I can’t believe the utter gall of this man to operate with the impunity that he operated,” Watson said of Ahmad at sentencing. “I can’t believe that there weren’t others in the state treasurer’s office who would have had red flags going off all over the place that would have blown the whistle on this activity — that should have blown the whistle on this activity.”
Read full ad script below:
Just how bad is Richard Cordray’s judgment?
Cordray hired Amer Ahmad as chief financial officer to protect your tax dollars
But Ahmad ripped off taxpayers, illegally taking more than a half a million dollars
Then Ahmad fled to Pakistan
The biggest kickback scheme in the history of state government
It all started thanks to Richard Cordray
Richard Cordray, bad judgment, Ohio literally can’t afford
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.