An anonymous source has indicated the IRS hopes to blame two “rogue” employees who went “off the reservation” for the national scandal over targeting of conservative nonprofits, CNN reported this afternoon. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released its report on the matter yesterday.
In early 2012, IRS Exempt Organizations agent Joseph Herr asked the Ohio Liberty Coalition (OLC) to provide times, locations, handouts, and instructor credentials “for all the public events conducted or planned to be conducted,” along with ”detailed contents” from any speeches or forums, as OLC reported at the time.
Herr also requested “a hardcopy printout of your organization’s website” as well as “hardcopy printouts” of any social media profiles maintained by OLC.
“We have been told by people in Washington that the IRS is under specific instructions to delay and scrutinize any applications having to do with TEA Party or Liberty Groups,” wrote Tom Zawistowski, who was then OLC president and now leads the Portage County Tea Party.
By January 2012, OLC had already waited a year and a half for an IRS determination on its application for tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status.
Yesterday the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) published a March 1, 2012 letter IRS Exempt Organizations agent Mitch Steele sent to the Liberty Township Tea Party asking for information about any leaders or leaders’ family members who had “previously conducted similar activities for another entity,” had run or planned to run for public office, or had “served on the board of another organization.”
Ominously, Steele asked the local tea party group to “provide details regarding your relationship with Justin Binik-Thomas,” a Cincinnati Tea Party activist. The IRS agent also requested that the group “provide information regarding the Butler County Teen Age Republicans and your relationship.”
Additionally, Steele asked the Liberty Township Tea Party to “describe the nature of all contacts” with any 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 527, or for-profit organizations the group was associated with. He requested copies of all voter education, fundraising, and advertising materials the group had ever used.
A cover letter from Steele made it clear responses to all 35 questions – many of which included three or more sub-questions – must be accurate under penalty of perjury.
“Lois Lerner, director of tax-exempt organizations for the IRS, said the activity highlighted in the report took place at the IRS office in Cincinnati, which handles applications for 501(c)(4) status,” Dana Bash and Tom Cohen wrote at CNN.
“But documents suggest at least three other IRS offices did the same.”
According to FOX News, Lerner and acting IRS chief Steven Miller knew that the agency’s Exempt Organizations office was targeting conservative groups for months while the House Ways & Means Committee attempted to investigate what is now a full-blown scandal.
Timothy Zureick, a former Ohio University student paid to canvass for the 2012 Voters First Ohio campaign and arrested last August for election falsification, pled guilty to all charges in the Athens County Court of Common Pleas last month.
Zureick, a 22 year old Cincinnati native, filed a motion to change his plea from “not guilty” to “guilty” after months of legal wrangling. As The Athens News first reported in October, Zureick originally pled not guilty by reason of insanity to accusations that he had forged the signatures of 22 Athens County Democratic Party officials and Board of Elections employees in June 2012.
Athens County Board of Elections employees who had not signed Zureick’s petitions alerted County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn, a Democrat, after finding their signatures on petitions Zureick submitted for certification.
In an interview with Media Trackers, Blackburn explained that Zureick could face up 23 years of probation, although Blackburn said that he found that unlikely.
“He’d likely have to do community service, possibly pay a fine, possibly have some local community jail in our Southeast Ohio Regional Jail, or another jail in the state. No alcohol, no bars—there’s occasionally a drug and alcohol assessment, if that’s what the DBSI [Disruptive Behavior Stress Inventory] indicated was needed… any number of things like that,” Blackburn said. “Certainly, ‘no contact orders,’ although I don’t know if the court would put any here, except maybe involvement in the political process, given his crime.”
“Being an elected official, being someone who takes part in the political process, it’s important to me that the process is fair and the process is uninterrupted by fraud,” Blackburn added. “These signatures that the Board of Election caught – these signatures, they did not get through to alter whether something should or should not be on the ballot – but still, it was an attempt to do that.”
“It’s something that we will not support or put up with,” Blackburn concluded.
Zureick committed his multiple felonies while employed by Working America, a campaign arm of the AFL-CIO, to collect signatures for Voters First Ohio, a union campaign to rewrite the state’s political map-making process.
Voters First canvassers were filmed seemingly breaking Ohio election laws earlier in the summer of 2012, but Zureick’s arrest has resulted in the only conviction to date.
According to Blackburn, Zureick had attempted to hide from police serving the warrant for his arrest, but officers saw his car parked in the driveway and could see movement inside his father’s house.
Following Zureick’s arrest, the president of the Ohio University College Democrats claimed Zureick had not been a member of the group since 2010. However, according to Zureick’s Facebook account, he regularly attended Ohio University College Democrats parties as recently as March 31, 2012.
Zureick’s sentencing is scheduled for July 2.
Governor John Kasich told reporters last week that he supports expanding Medicaid “however we get there,” endorsing a possible campaign to pass Medicaid expansion as a ballot issue. The Ohio House removed Medicaid expansion from the state budget last month, and the Ohio Senate has indicated its priority is Medicaid reform.
“I would love to think that this could be done, that the Legislature could do it, and I haven’t given up hope on that at all,” Kasich said at a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Ohio event on May 8, according to The Associated Press.
Gov. Kasich, who has pushed Medicaid expansion with progressive rhetoric and promises it would free up money for mental health programs, told the NAMI Ohio rally that “we have to tell people about why it matters and who the folks are that have to battle each and every day the challenges that come with mental illness.”
A central component of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Medicaid expansion would increase Ohio’s annual Medicaid costs by at least $500 million by 2021. Ohio’s reputedly conservative governor is nonetheless fighting for the PPACA Medicaid expansion because it would bring billions of dollars in new federal deficit spending to the state.
Gov. Kasich has falsely claimed the PPACA Medicaid expansion would be paid for using “Ohio’s tax dollars” which will be sent elsewhere if Ohio does not expand Medicaid, and has attempted to construe his pursuit of PPACA funds as something other than an embrace of Obama’s unpopular 2010 health insurance law.
The governor’s most recent endorsement of Medicaid expansion came one week after The New England Journal of Medicine released findings from an Oregon Medicaid study showing “that Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes” in the first two years.
Six days before Kasich said he supports expanding Medicaid “however we get there,” the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) reported that small business owners in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Kansas, and Missouri had sued the IRS and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over an IRS rule meant to prop up PPACA in states without state-run insurance exchanges.
“The Obama administration plans to tax, borrow, and spend more than half a trillion dollars in clear violation of Obamacare, yet still says Obamacare is ‘the law of the land,’” Cato Institute health policy director Michael Cannon told CEI.
Last November, Cannon explained that states should reject both PPACA insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion in order to block PPACA’s implementation and force reform. A year earlier, Cannon and Case Western Reserve University Professor Jonathan Adler shined a spotlight on the IRS rule as an attempt “to rewrite the law by fiat.”
Cannon, one of America’s leading free market voices, refuted the Kasich administration’s Medicaid expansion talking points during March 13 testimony before the Ohio House. The governor has made no discernible effort to address Cannon’s criticisms, instead relying on Ohio’s legacy press to ignore arguments against the PPACA Medicaid expansion.
Shortly after the Ohio General Assembly refused Gov. Kasich’s calls to expand Medicaid as part of the biennial budget, The Washington Post reported that only 20 states have agreed to adopt the PPACA Medicaid expansion.
As Media Trackers reported in February, Governor Kasich did not seek the input of conservative health policy experts prior to announcing on February 4 that he wanted to expand Medicaid. Instead, Kasich worked with the socialized medicine advocates at the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio) on messaging to pressure the Republican-controlled legislature.
Kasich’s continued support for expanding the enormous entitlement program follows months of deceptive marketing from the Republican governor, health industry lobbying groups, progressive activists, and left-wing journalists.
Idris Kabir Syed, the faculty advisor for the Kent State University (KSU) student organization that invited Bill Ayers to keynote a May 4 university event, defended the Weather Underground co-founder and unrepentant domestic terrorist during a recent interview with Media Trackers. KSU is – like the University of Illinois at Chicago, where Ayers used to teach – a public school.
Syed told Media Trackers that Ayers was “absolutely” an appropriate speaker for the May 4 KSU commemoration of the deaths of four students at the hands of the National Guard during a Vietnam War riot, “especially since Mr. Ayers had a connection to Kent State University as far back as the early 1960s – I definitely feel it was relevant.”
“Terry Robins, [Ayers's] roommate who died in the Weather Underground bombing in New York, was actually a student here at Kent State,” Syed said. “He was instrumental as a member of Students for a Democratic Society, and Kent State had one of the strongest SDS chapters in the country.”
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) is a socialist organization, and Robbins died while making explosives which authorities believe were intended for use at a military dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
Syed advises the May 4th Task Force, a group created by KSU student government leaders in 1975 ”to raise awareness regarding misunderstood truths about the Kent State tragedy of May 4, 1970″ and promote “understanding about the importance of recognizing and maintaining the tradition of KSU student activism promoting positive social change.”
Syed, who was present at the meeting where the May 4th Task Force decided to invite Ayers to the memorial event, told Media Trackers “there were no objections by the May 4th Task Force” to Ayers’ selection, adding that Ayers’s “persona has been extremely maligned.”
The KSU lecturer expressed confusion about the controversy surrounding Ayers, saying he found it “very fascinating that people are interested at all” in the unrepentant domestic terrorist’s background.
“People only talk about the sensational aspects of his personality, without looking at the hard work and activism which he’s engaged in for the past 40 years. So, that’s my point – my point is that people only look at him as ‘Obama’s terrorist’ or whatever,” Syed said, referring to the fact that Ayers helped launch President Obama’s political career.
“What I’m saying is that the mass media portrays him in that way, without understanding or recognizing the history and the strong educational background with which he’s put himself out there.”
“I don’t think people understand the context behind Ayers’s involvement [with Weather Underground's bombings],” Syed explained. “I don’t think that they understand the technicalities of Ayers’s involvement in the movement. Context is everything.”
“On April 30, 1970, Nixon announced that we were entering Cambodia. It was something that activists already knew, they knew about Laos too, that the war was on 3 fronts,” Syed said in a 2010 interview with Revolution, the newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party of the USA. “But Nixon having that press conference and admitting it was the catalyst.”
“We’re at war on three fronts now – in Iraq, Afghanistan, and secretly in Pakistan – so to me it’s one of the reasons that I wanted to get involved as faculty advisor this year. To really push that radical agenda for the youth,” Syed told the communist publication.
Syed explained that for a 2010 conference, the May 4th Task Force brought leaders from SDS, Weather Underground, and other radical leftist groups to KSU to educate students about “racism, classism, sexism, [and] heterosexism” and the “huge inequities versus this plutocracy that runs the world.”
State Representative Robert Hagan (D-Youngstown) recently introduced a bill which would legalize marijuana used for medical reasons, and has submitted a separate resolution to put marijuana legalization on the statewide ballot.
House Bill 153 (HB 153), cosponsored by Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain), would allow and regulate marijuana use for pain relief and other medicinal purposes.
House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR 6), cosponsored by Rep. Foley, would place an issue on the November 2013 ballot to legalize marijuana in the state by amending the Ohio Constitution.
HB 153 would create a statewide registry of individuals allowed to possess and use marijuana as recommended by a “registered primary caregiver” for the treatment of “debilitating medical conditions or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.”
If past performance is an indicator of future success, Rep. Hagan’s medicinal marijuana bill may be a pipe dream. Hagan introduced similar legislation in 2012 that was snuffed out by the Republican-controlled House Health and Aging Committee.
Commander John Burke, president of the Ohio Task Force Commanders’ Association and Warren County’s top drug law enforcement authority, strongly criticized Hagan’s “medical marijuana” bill.
“This is not the first time; he hasn’t had much success, or any success, but, yeah, I saw in the news that he introduced it,” Burke told Media Trackers. “Obviously, we’re totally opposed to it – the problem is that medical marijuana is not a legitimate topic, and it’s a scam.”
“It’s a scam by most people’s definition – and I’m not reflecting on this guy who introduced this bill – but people who want it, want to smoke dope recreationally,” Burke said. “I would appreciate it if they’d be more honest, frankly.”
Rob Ryan, president of the Ohio chapter of the pro-marijuana legalization National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), disagreed with Burke’s assessment of HB 153 in a separate Media Trackers interview.
“Well over a third of the United States’ population lives in a medical marijuana state. Numerous different medical organizations have given – one way or another – some sort of positive statement about the use of marijuana,” Ryan said. “Prohibition creates corruption. Marijuana is not deadly, is not addictive, and it truly has merits: medical use.”
HJR 6 would alter the state constitution to “declare that the use of marijuana should be legal for persons twenty-one years of age or older,” “in the interest of the efficient use of law enforcement resources, enhancing revenue for public purposes, and individual freedom.”
Under the proposed amendment, marijuana would be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol.
Similar ballot and legislative initiatives to legalize the medical or recreational use of marijuana have succeeded in 19 states or districts. In Colorado, where voters recently approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, state auditors determined that marijuana regulators were wasting taxpayer funds.
Left-wing radical Terry Robbins, who died making explosives for Weather Underground, appears to be the strongest connection Kent State University shares with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, who played a starring role in last weekend’s commemoration of a 1970 riot that saw four Kent State students killed at the hands of the Ohio National Guard.
Ayers, a co-founder of Weather Underground once pursued by the FBI while the terrorist wing of the socialist Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) conducted a series of domestic bombings intended to “disrupt the empire,” was invited to the weekend-long event at the public university by the May 4th Task Force.
Robbins, one of three Weather Underground members who died in a March 6, 1970 explosion while assembling bombs in a Greenwich Village apartment, was instrumental in orchestrating Vietnam War protests at Kent State. The bomb that killed Robbins also killed Ayers’s then-girlfriend, and was allegedly destined for a dance at Fort Dix in New Jersey.
“Before SDS offensive began last week, Kent State University reflected only one side of the world-wide war against U.S. imperialism: Ruling class exploitation and oppression,” Robbins and another SDS leader wrote in “The War at Kent State.”
“We watched ROTC guys training to give tactical leadership to the genocide of the Vietnamese; we heard smart liberal professors training smart liberal students to be the administrators of the white occupation army in the black colony (police); we sat forever in boring classrooms geared to the needs of a future employer,” the SDS paper continued.
Weather Underground bombed targets including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, New York City Police Department Headquarters, and multiple courthouses, prisons, universities, and military offices across the nation.
”I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough,” Ayers told The New York Times in a 2001 interview.
The organization that invited Ayers to campus is a progressive student group advised by Idris Kabir Syed, a lecturer in Kent State’s Department of Pan-African Studies.
Syed told Media Trackers that Ayers was “absolutely” an appropriate individual to address a memorial event for students killed during a 1970 riot.
Syed explained that he didn’t understand why people might find Ayers controversial, noting, “there were no objections by the May 4th Task Force” to the suggestion that Ayers be invited to speak.
Ayers is “absolutely” misunderstood by the general public, Syed added, saying, “all people really need to do is pick up a book and read – then they might understand some of the background” and “technicalities of Ayers’s involvement in the movement.”
During his May 4 keynote at the Kent State event, Ayers called U.S. veterans war criminals, insisted he is “against violence,” shrugged off Weather Underground’s terrorism as “property damage,” and claimed his group’s terror attacks in protest of the Vietnam War had “no relationship at all” to the recent jihadist bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Results from the second year of an Oregon Medicaid study, released May 1 by The New England Journal of Medicine, represent perhaps the clearest evidence to date that Medicaid coverage does not improve patient health. The report comes as Ohio and other states continue debating whether to expand the entitlement program in order to claim billions in promised Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) funding.
“This randomized, controlled study showed that Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in the first 2 years, but it did increase use of health care services, raise rates of diabetes detection and management, lower rates of depression, and reduce financial strain,” the study’s authors wrote in a summary of their latest findings.
“In 2008, Oregon expanded its Medicaid program, but because the state could not cover everybody, lawmakers opened up a lottery that randomly drew 30,000 names from a waiting list of almost 90,000 and allowed them to apply for the program,” Philip Klein explained at The Examiner. “This created a unique opportunity for health researchers, ultimately allowing them to compare the health outcomes of 6,387 low-income adults who were able to enroll in the program with 5,842 who were not selected.”
Klein continued, “Contrary to liberal assumptions, researchers found that those who enrolled in Medicaid spent a lot more on medical care than those who weren’t able to enroll, but didn’t significantly improve their health outcomes.”
“Another interesting finding was that though medical spending increased among Medicaid enrollees due to more prescription drug usage and doctors’ visits, the study ‘did not find significant changes in visits to the emergency department or hospital admissions.’ This undercuts another favorite talking point of liberals, which is that expanding insurance actually saves money by reducing costly emergency room visits,” Klein added.
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Senior Fellow Avik Roy, writing at Forbes, noted that these results came despite the fact that Oregon’s Medicaid program pays a higher rate for services than the national average.
“Because Oregon’s Medicaid program pays more, the state’s Medicaid beneficiaries have relatively better access to doctors. While 21 percent of Oregon physicians won’t take new Medicaid patients—an unacceptably high number—the national average is even worse: 31 percent,” Roy wrote.
In 2011, 28 percent of Ohio’s office-based physicians refused to accept new Medicaid patients.
Roy pointed out that “every state will still have to spend a considerable sum of its own money to sign onto the Medicaid expansion.”
“At a time when middle-income Americans are themselves being squeezed by Obamacare’s hikes to health insurance premiums, it is positively unethical to take money from them in order to fund a broken program that doesn’t improve health outcomes,” he wrote.
Based on estimates from the left-leaning Urban Institute, Ohio’s annual Medicaid costs would increase by over $500 million by 2021 if the Buckeye State were to adopt the PPACA Medicaid expansion.
“There is no way to spin these results as anything but a rebuke to those who are pushing states to expand Medicaid,” Cato Institute director of health policy studies Michael Cannon wrote. “The Obama administration has been trying to convince states to throw more than a trillion additional taxpayer dollars at Medicaid by participating in the expansion, when the best-designed research available cannot find any evidence that it improves the physical health of enrollees.”
There may be no way to twist the Oregon Medicaid study’s findings into good news for Medicaid expansion, but that doesn’t mean the legacy press won’t try. On May 2, The Columbus Dispatch ran an Associated Press story titled “Medicaid improves users’ mental health” which began, “If you’re uninsured, getting on Medicaid clearly improves your mental health, but it doesn’t quickly make much difference in physical conditions such as high blood pressure.”
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters has requested warrants for three individuals suspected of voter fraud, after a February investigation by Board of Elections investigators revealed numerous cases of suspected illegal voting in Ohio’s November 2012 election.
According to May 7 indictments obtained by Media Trackers, Florida resident Margaret Irene Allen, Tennessee resident Ernestine Strickland, and Ohio resident Andre Wilson are each charged with one count of illegal voting as defined by Ohio Revised Code section 3599.12(A)(1). Illegal voting is a fourth-degree felony carrying a maximum penalty of 18 months in jail.
Hamilton County Board of Elections investigators found that Allen requested an Ohio absentee ballot, asking that it be sent to her mailing address in Florida. During the investigation, staff confirmed that Allen last voted in Ohio in 2008; a local elections official purchased Allen’s home when she moved to Florida in 2009.
Strickland allegedly took advantage of “Golden Week” – a Democrat-championed policy permitting individuals to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day – to vote in Ohio despite residing in Memphis, Tennessee. Investigators determined that Strickland was visiting her daughter in Ohio last fall, and her daughter “brought her mother to the board to vote.”
Wilson, the third individual indicted for illegal voting in Hamilton County on May 7, also took advantage of Democrats’ loosening of Ohio elections integrity law. Wilson allegedly registered and cast a ballot using a nonexistent address resembling another address which he “uses” but where he does not “stay,” his brother’s girlfriend told investigators.
“Absentee ballot fraud is a problem that Ohioans must unfortunately face for elections to come,” True The Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht told Media Trackers. Ohio currently allows weeks of mail and in-person absentee voting prior to general elections.
True The Vote, a Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to election integrity, warned public officials in Ohio, Florida, New York, and Rhode Island that tens of thousands of voters were registered to vote in multiple states, which could lead to illegal duplicate voting.
“True The Vote discovered over 500 cases of potential absentee fraud with voters double-registered in both Ohio and Florida before the 2012 election,” Engelbrecht explained. “We warned that Columbus’s relaxing of absentee balloting would only spike the risk of more fraudulent behavior occurring, despite election officials’ best intentions.”
However, progressive politicians including Ohio Senator Nina Turner – a Cleveland Democrat expected to challenge Secretary of State Jon Husted in 2014 – routinely dismiss warnings of voter fraud as “immoral,” insisting that voter fraud “does not exist.”
Earlier this year, Hamilton County Board of Elections poll worker Melowese Richardson was charged with voter fraud when investigations revealed she had cast several votes for President Obama in the November election.
Investigators claim that Richardson forged signatures in the name of her family and members of her households. In February, Richardson told reporters that she believed that she had not broken any laws, promising to “fight it [the charges of committing voter fraud] for Mr. Obama and for Mr. Obama’s right to sit as president of the United States.”
Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) Executive Director Joe Rugola, who last week compared supporters of workplace freedom to Nazis, was paid $253,351 in member dues during the union’s most recent fiscal year.
At a May 1 press conference, Rugola decried workplace freedom as “extreme.” Asked by reporters why 24 states already have workplace freedom laws on the books if the policy is extreme, Rugola said, “all of Germany went extreme in 1933 … that doesn’t make it wise.”
Rugola added, “Extremism as a majority notion does not necessarily pass the test of good government, good policy, sound democracy.”
OAPSE, a local of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), staunchly opposes letting workers choose whether to pay a labor union. Rugola, a former president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, has worked with other union bosses to frame expanded worker rights as an attack on worker rights.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, Rugola was asked whether he meant to compare the introduction of right to work legislation with Nazi Germany and he replied, “no, I meant to compare it to extremism.”
An Associated Press story on the dueling May 1 workplace freedom press conferences quoted Rugola extensively but did not mention his allusion to Nazi Germany.
“America’s right-to-work states are the poorest, most unhealthy and undereducated states in the union. That is a fact,” Rugola asserted, warning that “right-wing extremist legislators” and corporations driven by “godless greed” were looking to rob Ohioans of their rights.
But Rugola, who was paid a quarter of a million dollars in forced dues last year, exclaimed that it was OAPSE’s “intention with every fiber of our being to make war on those who want to make war on the American middle-class.”
Over-the-top rhetoric is nothing new for Ohio union bosses, who torture common sense and the English language to avoid the truth about workplace freedom. When Michigan’s legislature passed right to work in December 2012, union front group We Are Ohio compared their actions to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Although Joe Rugola may currently be in the lead for the most hateful, ignorant comment in Ohio’s workplace freedom debate, he is not the highest paid Ohio union boss. That distinction goes to Ohio Education Association (OEA) President Patricia Frost-Brooks, who was paid $267,916 last year based on OEA’s latest report to the Department of Labor.
Review OEA’s workplace freedom talking points and the propaganda from We Are Ohio to learn how Rugola’s suggestion that workplace freedom is like Nazism fits with union desperation to maintain the flow of mandatory dues.
The Akron Beacon Journal wrote a May 1 editorial based on the entirely inaccurate premise that Ohio voters oppose workplace freedom. Statewide polls have repeatedly shown that most Ohioans believe workers should not be forced to pay a union as a condition of employment.
Explaining that voters found “the excesses” of public union reform law Senate Bill 5 (SB 5) “troubling,” the Beacon Journal editors wrote, “the lesson would be: Take the sound policy, the popular and reasonable provisions, bringing a greater degree of balance to collective bargaining, and seek their enactment.”
The editors then noted, with an air of irritation, that “State Reps. Kristina Roegner of Hudson and Ron Maag of Lebanon are pushing legislation to make Ohio a ‘right to work’ state. In other words, they want to replay the changes to collective bargaining that voters found most objectionable.”
Letting workers opt out of union membership without being forced to pay “fair share” fees typically amounting to 90 percent of member dues is one change – singular – that would not revoke or weaken any worker’s collective bargaining privileges.
The editors of the Akron Beacon Journal don’t appear to realize this, since they also described right to work as the “most objectionable” policy in voters’ minds despite years of polling data to the contrary.
In early 2012, Quinnipiac University reported with surprise that a majority of Ohioans polled supported right to work a mere three months after the $40 million SB 5 smear campaign run by union front group We Are Ohio.
“Despite the overwhelming victory by organized labor and its allies in repealing SB 5 in this past election, by 54-40 percent Ohio voters favor the idea of passing a ‘right-to-work’ law that would ban workers from being required to join a union as a condition of employment,” Quinnipiac announced on February 14, 2012.
Quinnipiac continued, “Support for ‘right-to-work’ is 77-20 percent among Republicans and 55-39 percent among independent voters. Democrats are opposed 61-31 percent.”
This March, The Columbus Dispatch reported that a Saperstein Associates poll conducted at the beginning of the month found 65 percent support for right to work. Only 32 percent of those polled indicated they oppose workplace freedom, with 79 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of Independents, and 53 percent of Democrats responding favorably.
A Hill Research Associates poll conducted in March on behalf of Opportunity Ohio and the Liberty Foundation asked respondents whether they most agreed with the statement, “Some people say workers shouldn’t have to pay union dues to hold a job,” or with the statement, “Other people say strong unions help workers and push to boost wages and benefits.”
With the order of the two options rotated for different respondents, 53 percent answered in favor of workplace freedom and 44 indicated they agreed strongly that workers should not be forced to pay a union to keep a job.
A total of 40 percent polled by Hill answered in favor of forced unionism, with 29 percent saying they felt strongly.
The Beacon Journal titled its May 1 editorial echoing Democrat and union talking points “Lesson unlearned.” It would seem the Beacon Journal editors haven’t learned to do even the most basic research before opining on political issues.