COLUMBUS -- Former U.S. Congressman Zack Space announced Tuesday afternoon press conferences in five cities across Ohio scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday to call attention to the pervasive culture of corruption on Capitol Square. On Monday, the Associated Press reported that officials at the now-shuttered Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow manipulated software to inflate attendance figures and defraud Ohio taxpayers.
“Ohioans need only pick up a newspaper or turn on the news for proof that a culture of corruption has invaded their state government,” said Zack Space. “Earlier this month, Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger resigned amid an FBI investigation into pay-for-play relationships with lobbyists from the payday lending industry. Now, the Associated Press reports that officials at the now-shuttered Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow criminally defrauded Ohio taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars. This corruption must be stopped.
We must take state government back from the self-interested incumbents and campaign contributors who put their special interests above the needs of ordinary Ohioans. That’s why I am calling for a wide-ranging criminal investigation into ECOT and for the politicians who aided and abetted this scam to donate every cent of campaign contributions received from ECOT founder Bill Lager and his associates to charities supporting Ohio public schools.
I have pledged to shine a light on the corrupting influence of money in the political process as Auditor of State. It is past time to restore faith in Ohio’s broken political system, and that starts by rooting out the pay-to-play culture that runs rampant in our state government.”
Ohio’s Auditor of State has broad oversight and investigatory powers, including the authority to declare entities receiving public funds “unauditable.” If ECOT’s book had been declared “unauditable,” the Ohio Department of Education could have stopped the flow of public funding.