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Published: Wednesday, 7/20/2005

Ohio GOP leader blasts 'hypocrisy' of Democrat


COLUMBUS - Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett yesterday accused the leading Democratic critic of the Bureau of Workers' Compensation investment losses of "hypocrisy."

Mr. Bennett cited a quote from yesterday's editions of The Blade from state Sen. Marc Dann, a Democrat from suburban Youngstown: "Who am I to tell the Supreme Court about legal ethics?" Mr. Dann asked.

He made the statement after fellow Democrats said several Supreme Court justices should recuse themselves from a lawsuit Mr. Dann filed to gain access to weekly reports sent to Gov. Bob Taft.

"I'm glad Senator Dann admits his own hypocrisy on this issue," Mr. Bennett said.

"Here's a guy who's been running around for weeks lecturing Republicans about ethics in state government, and his own ethical misconduct is finally catching up with him."

Mr. Bennett cited a March 4, 2004, article in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer about the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously issuing a public reprimand to Mr. Dann, an attorney, for not properly preparing for a legal matter.

"Senator Dann's own ethical lapses are a prime example of the hypocrisy coming from Ohio Democrats lately," Mr. Bennett said in a written statement.

"Republicans continue to lead, while Democrats stand on the sidelines and politicize the issues.

"Any Democrat donkey can kick down a barn, but it takes a Republican carpenter to build one," he said.

Mr. Dann responded by acknowledging he had made a mistake and he made changes at his law firm to "ensure it would never happen again."

"The truth was far more important to me than protecting my own self-interest. I have never tried to hide the facts of this bar reprimand or that I am [a] human being and made mistakes.

"I call on Bob Bennett, Bob Taft, Jim Petro, Betty Montgomery, and Ken Blackwell to do the same thing. Admit that they made mistakes by creating a pay-to-play system with investments at the Bureau of Workers' Compensation, take aggressive steps to restore the integrity of the funds, and make meaningful changes to prevent corruption in the future," Senator Dann said in a written statement.

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