Capitol Insider: Cordray thinks if he had stayed at fed job, Trump would‘ve fired him

Darrel Rowland The Columbus Dispatch

Richard Cordray faced criticism even from some fellow Democrats when he quit as head of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in November to run for Ohio governor. The critics say that even though Cordray‘s term was to end this summer, he could have done several more months worth of good by staving off the Trump administration‘s takeover of the agency despised by many Republicans.

But during a Dispatch podcast last week, Cordray says that if he had stayed, he thinks he would‘ve been fired shortly after last week‘s election-filing deadline had passed. The only reason he would have survived even that long is that Trump was heeding Ohio Republicans‘ request not to make him a martyr for the governor‘s race.

LaRose on the spot

Last week, the Ohio Republican Party took a controversial shot at state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, a Ravenna Democrat who‘s running for secretary of state. The GOP noted that a $50 donor to Clyde, a Stark County official who also was one of 12 co-hosts of a Clyde fundraiser, had a domestic-violence conviction 22 years ago.

Often, political parties slice up opponents without telling their own candidate in the race. So we decided to ask Sen. Frank LaRose the somewhat-sensitive question about whether he approved of his party‘s “help.”

“We‘re focused on why I should be the next secretary of state,” he replied. “That‘s the kind of race that we‘re going to run. The party‘s going to do what the party‘s going to do. They don‘t need my permission to send out press releases.”

Read into that what you will. When asked whether he was informed ahead of time about the attack on Clyde, LaRose said: “Very briefly, right before it went out.”

Goofy FBI texts about Kasich

As text messages sent between the two FBI agents removed from the probe of possible connections between Donald Trump‘s campaign and Russia continue to dribble out, it‘s now evident that they had enough time on their hands to even discuss Ohio Gov. John Kasich now and then.

For example, the day after a March 3, 2016, GOP presidential-primary debate in Detroit, agent Peter Strzok texts: “I may vote for Trump.”

Lover and fellow agent Lisa Page replies: “What? Poor Kasich. He’s the only sensible man up there.”

Strzok answers: “Exacty re Kasich. And he has ZERO appeal.”

Four days earlier, Strzok talked about a fellow worker: “He asked me who I’d vote for, guessed Kasich.”

As previously reported, Page ventured into absurdity in December 2015 by texting that Kasich was “long suspected of being gay.” She added he then “married a supermodel wife and immediately popped out kids, twins even.”

Sympathy from the chief?

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O‘Connor might be sympathetic to the plight of fellow Republican Justice Patrick DeWine.

DeWine was slapped with a disciplinary complaint last month alleging that he improperly has failed to disqualify himself from cases involving the office of his father, Attorney General Mike DeWine.

In his defense, the younger DeWine pointed to ethics opinions he obtained saying that he needs to recuse himself only if his father is personally or directly involved in a case before the court.

It turns out that O‘Connor ruled in 2012 that the simultaneous service of a married judge and prosecutor in Lucas County did not pose an automatic courtroom conflict, reporter Randy Ludlow found.

In the Lucas County case, after earlier agreeing that Common Pleas Court Judge James Bates could preside over the case, lawyers in a death-penalty case asked him to disqualify himself because his wife, Julia Bates, is the county prosecutor. Judge Bates refused, and O‘Connor then was asked to remove him from the case.

O‘Connor declined, ruling that Judge Bates‘ disqualification was not required unless his wife was personally prosecuting the case. Citing a 2003 ruling, the chief wrote that judges are presumed to follow the law and be free of bias, and “the appearance of bias or prejudice must be compelling to overcome these presumptions.”

Footnote: In Hamilton County, former state Treasurer Joe Deters is the prosecutor, and his brother, Dennis, serves on the county appellate court that fields appeals from Deters‘ office.

And unrelated to any of that, Patrick DeWine was accused in August of misusing his office to obtain a summer internship for his son in the Hamilton County prosecutor‘s office.

A randomly assigned panel of three judges is to conduct a hearing on the allegation against DeWine.


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