Data Shows Long History of Pay-to-Play Among Ohio Republican Party, DeWine, Householder and FirstEnergy


Editor’s Note: This is the first of three stories examining Gov. Mike DeWine’s use of pay-to-play when he was attorney general and how the Ohio Republican Party funnels money from donors to individual candidates. This series also will examine the relationship between the party, DeWine and former House Speaker Larry Householder to FirstEnergy.

Mike DeWine, as former Ohio attorney general, often awarded no-bid contracts to lawyers and collections agencies to do state work. Many of those chosen vendors also happened to be his campaign donors.

The Dayton Daily News in July 2014 reported on the connections between Attorney General DeWine’s awarding of collections contracts to vendors who also just happened to be campaign donors.

Hudson collections company CELCO Ltd., owned by Peter Spitalieri, was formed on April 11, 2012, two days before then-Attorney General DeWine’s office issued an request for proposal (RFP) for collections agencies to do state work, the newspaper said. Spitalieri also owns PASCO Group.


Since 2010, 119 outside attorneys handling debt collection for the attorney general, their firms and their close family members contributed $1.38 million to the campaigns of DeWine, his son Pat DeWine, then an appeals judge and now a justice on the Ohio Supreme Court, as well as the Ohio Republican Party.

DeWine met frequently with long-time Summit County Republican Party Chairman Alex Arshinkoff and other donors, including Spitalieri, who was a donor.

In the spring of 2010, Validati, a division of PASCO, was awarded the contract with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to monitor compliance of the state’s motor vehicle financial responsibility laws. The program launched August 4, 2010.

The Ohio Star issued a FOIA request with the Ohio Department of Public Safety for a copy of the contract.

The department said:

Upon completion of our research, it was determined that the Ohio Department of Public Safety does not have any executed contracts with the entities in your request.  However, a contract associated with Pasco/Validati  was administered by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS).  The contract expired at the end of August 2015.

The Star made the same request to DAS, but as of August 16 had not heard back from the department other than an acknowledgment it had received the FOIA.

The Daily News in January 2014 reported on other allegations of pay-to-play in Attorney General DeWine’s office concerning an advisory panel.

The Daily News examination found that the law firms on the panels tend to be the ones who get the work. Of the 27 law firms assigned to the cases that pay on contingency, 19 serve on DeWine’s panel. Most of them also contributed via PACs or employees to the Ohio GOP, Mike DeWine and/or Pat DeWine — more than $1.3 million from 2010 to 2013. About half of the donations came from firms whose main office is outside Ohio.

The Ohio Republican Party, which received the bulk of the campaign contributions from firms seeking outside work with DeWine’s office, has funneled $977,537 to DeWine’s campaign fund since he took over as AG in January 2011.

Tomorrow’s story: Funneling money, and connections to FirstEnergy.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Jane Timken” by Jane Timken.






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5 Thoughts to “Data Shows Long History of Pay-to-Play Among Ohio Republican Party, DeWine, Householder and FirstEnergy”

  1. DJP

    how is no one discussing the fact that Janey Timken’s husbands company said they were going out of business if HB6 didn’t pass and it was pushed through by her party? It’s hard not to see this a clear conflict of interest personally.

  2. Lawrence G Jorgenson

    Need to make sure these clowns cant even find a job collecting garbage.

  3. Deborah

    I’m glad to see Jane Timken pictured, as she is certainly trying to avoid responsibility, but must not be allowed to pretend that as the chairwoman of the Republican State Central Committee, she had nothing to do with selecting and backing these state level republicans. When I asked her what she was doing to rein in the governor (at a Women for Trump meeting up near Cleveland) just a few days ago, she looked confused at why I would even ask her such a question. Then she said, “I am not an elected official,” and slipped on out the door to photo-op time in the parking lot. Odd, no?

  4. Joe Hammond

    Great story on Corrupt DeWiner! Keep it up!

  5. Susan

    Ohio has currently suspended food cards to those receiving additional federal unemployment monies?
    Dewine needs to make this right! Single mothers, once working in restaurants, need the food cards to feed children! Unemployment and additional fed funds cannot support them – food, rent, utilities!
    We need to know the facts about this!
    It may be a story worth pursuing!