The Democrat hoping to be Ohio’s next auditor calls ECOT the prime example of the corrupting influence of money in Ohio politics. And Zack Space says the current auditor could have done something about it long before millions of dollars were lost. For Ohio Public Radio, WKSU’s ML. Schultze has more from his speech to the Akron Press Club today.
Much of the speech by – and questions asked of -- Zack Space focused on policy issues well beyond the direct control of the state auditor – things like guns, the environment, job creation. But on the issue of privatizing government, Space said the auditor can ensure public money and responsibility are protected.
He singled out the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, the on-line charter school from which the state of Ohio is trying to recover tens of millions of dollars.
“The auditor could have and should have stopped the ECOT madness in its tracks by declaring those books un-auditable when hundreds of millions of dollars were pumped into for-profit management companies without any oversight.”
Space said private prisons and payday lenders are two other areas in which campaign contributions have improperly influenced Ohio law and oversight. He’s running unopposed in the May primary and will face Republican Keith Faber in the November election.
Space said he supports the current auditor’s attempt to monitor the rollout of the state’s medical marijuana program, but cautions against delays in implementation. He said the roll-out of the program by the Ohio Department of Commerce has been sloppy and he doesn’t fault Auditor Dave Yost for taking a closer look. But he said many Ohioans are counting on the program being launched as promised in September.
“If this is going to give my loved one a chance at a better improved quality of life, then I’m all for it. And I think any efforts to stall the implementation of this law under the pretext of an audit would be a mistake and an injustice.”
Some GOP lawmakers have called for a delay. Space’s Republican opponent, Keith Faber, was opposed to the medical marijuana law when he was Senate president, but says it’s too late stop it now. So does Auditor Yost.