Ohio Republican Party (ORP) Treasurer Dave Johnson won his race for re-election on Tuesday to represent the Youngstown-area 33rd District in the GOP’s State Central Committee. However, conservatives and reformers won several ORP victories elsewhere.
Johnson defeated challenger Rick Barron, who ran on implementing rigorous and regular audits of committee finances, something many in the party believe Johnson has neglected. Alleged financial irregularities, including $3 million said to have “gone missing” from party financial records, have led several ORP members to sue Johnson and state-party Chair Bob Paduchik.
An Ohio Republican Party (ORP) Central Committeeman sent an email to party associates on Monday calling on ORP Chairman Bob Paduchik and Treasurer David Johnson to resign.
Mark Bainbridge, an accountant who represents ORP’s State Central Committee District 16 and who has led the committee’s reform caucus, wrote that the state party has suffered a decline in net worth that is “shrouded in secrecy.” Specifically, he stated, ORP reported a net gain of $147,259 through 2021 when it allegedly should have reported a loss of $162,088. He concluded that $309,347 in net expenses are absent from the organization’s profit and loss statement and that ORP had equity totaling $2,568,530 at the end of 2021 compared with $2,730,618 at the end of 2020.
A band of five members of the Ohio Republican Party’s Central Committee filed suit against the Ohio Republican Party, Party Chairman Robert A. Paduchik and Party Treasurer David W. Johnson November 29 at the Franklin County Courthouse petitioning for the court to grant their four requests:
– An injunction against Paduchik and or a temporary restraining order stopping him from reassigning members of the party’s Central Committee from their subcommittees or otherwise reorganizing the Central Committee outside the process set out in the party rules;
– Production and recovery of financial documents for a court-ordered forensic audit of the party’s books going back to the party’s fiscal year 2017, or going back as far as necessary to track down impropriety and illegality;
– Accountability and transparency sufficient to make auditable books and records that the petitioners claim has not been accomplished in 12 years, leaving the party with entirely corrupted and un-audited financial records; and
– The party’s adoption of the necessary management and officer accountability and an investigation towards the recovery of funds illegally transferred or converted from the party.
Sept. 10 meeting of the Ohio Republican Party’s State Central Committee offers the first opportunity for reform-minded members to press their agenda for changes in the governance and policies of the GOP ahead of the 2022 election for five statewide officeholders and the congressional mid-terms.
Whether the voices for reform first heard in a series of stories The Ohio Star published in late July and early August carry the day at the meeting depends upon the willingness of central committee members on the sideline to consider whether to follow the bylaws of the organization representing nearly 2 million Ohio voters registered as Republicans or falling in line behind GOP Chairman Bob Paduchik.
Lingering accounting issues dating back at least four years have pitted three members of the Ohio Republican Party’s Central Committee against Ohio Republican Party (ORP) Chairman Robert Paduchik over the scope of the ongoing audit of the ORP’s financial records – the first complete audit of the party’s finances in at least 16 years.
The Ohio Star has obtained internal emails exchanged between three of the Ohio Republican Party Central Committee 66 members – Audit Committee member Laura Rosenberger and Fiscal Review Committee members Mark Bainbridge and Denise Verdi – and Chairman Paduchik that discuss the need to improve the financial reporting practices of the ORP to accounting industry and government regulatory reporting standards, starting with an expansion of the years covered by a standard audit just now getting underway.