Two leaders of the Ohio Republican Party told The Ohio Star and The Star News Network Thursday that it is time for Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel to get involved in reforming the Ohio GOP.
“I don’t understand why Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the national Republican committee hasn’t looked into these issues, and gotten back to us, and backed us getting answers to our questions regarding the financial activities of the Ohio Republican Party,” said Mark A. Bainbridge, a member of the state party’s central committee, and one of five members of the central committee suing the state party, its Chairman Robert A. Paduchik and Treasurer David W. Johnson.
Bainbridge, a certified public accountant, now in private practice, retired from Ernst & Young as a partner after three decades at the Big Four accounting firm, is at the forefront of exposing more than $3 million in accountable funds, including a $1.7 million write-off of retained earnings.
The lawsuit asked the court to restore Bainbridge and others to their committee assignments after Paduchik summarily took them off those assignments, order an audit of the Ohio GOP books going back to 2017, and claw back funds Paduchik transferred to campaigns not endorsed by the central committee.
The Star and The Star News Network first reached out to McDaniel about transparency and governance issues at the Ohio Republican Party in February, and then sent emails and texts to a member of the RNC’s communications team. In support of this story, an additional effort was made at the RNC’s Capitol Hill offices. Specific questions were asked of the chairwoman, but the staff provided no response for the record.
Mount Vernon attorney Scott A. Pullins, the lawyer for the lawsuit, told The Star and The Star News Network that the five plaintiffs resisted such an extreme step.
“The lawsuit was filed because members of the committee were being shut out of the process,” Pullins said.
“They were removed from committees; they were being denied records and access to committee meetings, documents, financial records—and then, ultimately, the Ohio Republican Party Central Committee is simply not following their own rules,” he said.
“These folks tried and tried to work within the process,” he said.
“They’ve just been stonewalled, and the chairman of the committee says: ‘Well, give me a call.’ The folks would call him, and he would never return their calls,” he said.
Pullins said although McDaniel has no operational role in the Ohio Republican Party, the chairwoman has a moral and leadership role as the party’s national leader.
“Chairwoman McDaniel should be involved; she should be speaking out,” he said.
“The bad actions of the current leadership of the Ohio Republican Party reflects badly upon Republicans everywhere.”
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Neil W. McCabe is the national political editor of The Star News Network based in Washington. He is an Army Reserve public affairs NCO and an Iraq War veteran. Send him news tips: [email protected] Follow him on TruthSocial & GETTR: @ReporterMcCabe
Photo “Ronna McDaniel” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.