Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Schmidt's legal expense fund shows $10 raised to date; On pace to pay off her debt in 25,000 years

Here at the COAST blog, we have been following the Jean Schmidt corruption scandal closely.

Readers will note that last August, the House Ethics Committee ruled that Schmidt had accepted an approximately $500,000 illegal gift from the Turkish Coalition of America and ordered her to repay the gift from a permissible source. (Schmidt serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.)

To purportedly fulfill that requirement, Schmidt established a Legal Expense Trust, a step only six other members of the U.S. House have taken (all corrupt, including Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters).

OK, so how's that going?

Today, Schmidt filed her second quarterly report since the establishment of that fund and to date, to help retire her $500,000 debt, Schmidt has raised a grand total of -- drum roll please -- $10.  Yes, $10.  And that was the initial deposit she made to set up the account.  $10.

So, at that pace, $10 every six months, it will take, ummm, 25,000 years to pay off her debt (without interest) to the Turkish Coalition of America.

Does anyone, anyone, think Schmidt is taking her ethical obligations seriously?  Anyone?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hopelessly corrupt Schmidt targeted for defeat by Super PAC

Our local embarrassment, 
Jean Schmidt
A well-funded Super PAC appears to have targeted local Congressman Jean Schmidt for defeat in March's Republican primary election, the Enquirer reports this morning. Schmidt's only serious opponent in the primary is COAST-endorsed, Iraqi War veteran Dr. Brad Wenstrup.

The group known as Campaign for Primary Accountability indicates that their polling of the district shows that Schmidt is one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the nation, and it is not a surprise given how poorly she has performed as a Congressman:
  1. She voted this past session with President Barack Obama to raise the debt ceiling;
  2. She voted to bail out Wall Street with hundreds of billions of tax dollars with the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
  3. She is hopelessly corrupt, having been found by the House Ethics Committee to have accepted an impermissible ~$500,000 gift.
  4. She voted to raise the gasoline tax 27%. 
  5. She was found by the Ohio Elections Commission to have lied multiple times, claiming a college degree she did not have and two endorsements she did not have.
The Campaign for Primary Accountability calls Schmidt "out of step with her conservative southwest Ohio district."  No kidding.

This development will mean that the fundraising advantage that incumbents enjoy will be "leveled" and that Dr. Wenstrup's challenge to Mrs. Schmidt just became more serious.

Read the entire CPA press release here.

To help Dr. Wenstrup's campaign, click here.

Doc Thompson will be missed

John Kieswetter of the Enquirer reported this weekend that WLW recently fired morning talk show host Doc Thompson.  COAST wants to salute the departing Doc, as he provided a wonderful outlet for the conservative voice in Cincinnati.  He also seemed like a heck of a good guy.

He will be sorely missed.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Monday the 30th, Chris Finney presents on Jean Schmidt corruption scandal to Sharonville Tea Party

Monday the 30th, at 7 PM, COAST attorney (also David Krikorian's attorney in fighting Jean Schmidt), will present "A broken ethics process: a case study on Jean Schmidt" at the Sharonville Tea Party, at the Sharonville Library, 10980 Thornview Dr., Cincinnati 45241.

Please join us for this important presentation.

National Review Online: The Myth of Rebublican Stinginess

Too bad it is just a myth.

Tol' ya so! Enquirer has profile on how City workers are fleecing taxpayers at City Hall

City leave policy generous, costly

We have to hand it to the Enquirer's Barry Horstman for good investigative journalism.  He does a fine job exposing the union excesses of City Hall here.  S.B. 5 again, anyone?  Calling Shannon Jones....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Winburn, Smitherman hold Council hearing on Streetcar budget and financing issues

Hearing at 2 PM in City Council Chambers

Today at 2 PM, Cincinnati City Council members Charlie Winburn and Christopher Smitherman have called for a special session of Council to discuss Streetcar budget and financing issues, forcing the administration to answer questions they have avoided to date, such as: 
  • How the Administration intends to address more than $30 million of potential utility relocation cost overruns.
  • Whether the Administration actually intends to build the Streetcar on top of existing utility lines, an engineering disaster in the works.
  • How the City is going to fund increasing costs on acquisition of the Streetcars, which are coming in well over budget.
  • How the City is going to fund right-of-way acquisition.
  • Why is the project already behind schedule?
Mayor Mallory has been working overtime behind the scenes to get Winburn and Smitherman to cancel the hearing.  Those efforts have not worked.

Please call or e-mail Charlie Winburn at 352-5354 and Christopher Smitherman at 352-3464 to thank them for holding firm in demanding Streetcar answers.  Or better yet, come to Council Chambers and demand answers in person. 

# # #

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Second Tea Party speech on Jean Schmidt corruption scandal is a hit!

COAST attorney Chris Finney delivers a powerful speech on the Jean Schmidt corruption scandal and the toothless House Ethics Committee process at the Anderson Tea Party this evening at Anderson High School.  More than 50 persons were in attendance.

If your group, large or small, would like Chris Finney to present on this topic, please contact him directly at 513-533-2980.

Join us tonight at 7 PM "A broken Congressional ethics process; a case study on Jean Schmidt"

COAST attorney Chris Finney presents at 7 PM this evening 
 to the Anderson Tea Party at Anderson High School

We have read in the newspaper reports of the Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters and Jean Schmidt ethics scandals in Congress, but what do we really know about the process, the integrity of the House Ethics Committee and other federal agencies to address even the most obvious and flagrant violations of House Rules and federal law?

Tonight COAST attorney Chris Finney, who also has also brought, pursued and continues to pursue, ethics charges against Congressman Jean Schmidt, presents "A Broken Congressional Ethics Process; a case study on Jean Schmidt" to the Anderson Tea Party at 7 PM at the Anderson High School.

Please come hear the facts of this important case first-hand and draw your own conclusions about the integrity of the "watchdogs" in Washington and our own local Congressman

Please join us for this second of five speeches Chris is scheduled to give on this topic.  The next one will be Monday night at the Sharonville Tea Party, at the Sharonville Library at 7 PM.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fundraiser for Dr. Brad Wenstrup is a big success

COASTers were high-fiving it Monday night with a successful fundraiser for Dr. Brad Wenstrup at the Anderson Township offices of Finney, Stagnaro, Saba & Patterson.

Thanks to everyone who donated, including volunteers!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thoughts on South Carolina

The lesson of South Carolina is learned over and over and over again in Republican primaries: When voters are given a clean choice between what they perceive to be a moderate Republican and a conservative Republican, they will choose the conservative option every time.  Especially if the primary audience is in South Carolina.

We are not saying that Gingrich is a conservative, or even that there is a ray of sunlight between the the positions and actions of Romney and Gingrich on issues important to COAST.  There really is not.

What we are saying is that in the mind of the public, Gingrich succeeded in positioning the race as between a Massachusetts moderate and a Georgia conservative.

The voters yearn for a real conservative option, someone who will cut taxes and spending, and really reduce the size and scope of the federal government.  That they lurched at the last minute towards Gingrich is a testament to how desperate voters are for that direction from our Congress and President.

Unfortunately, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich do not appear to be willing or able to give them what they want so badly.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Woo hoo! Joe Deters bold move of taking over Banks representation saves County 70% on legal fees

COAST Newsletter readers will remember that Prosecutor Joe Deters took on the too-cozy relationship between the County Commission under David Pepper and Todd Portune, on the one hand, and Tom Gableman and the Vorys-Sater law firm, on the other, back in 2009.

In fact, Pepper and Portune sued Deters at the Ohio Supreme Court to retain the prerogative to select Banks counsel without restraint.  Deters won that suit.

[COASTer Mark Miller sued Pepper and Portune for violating the Ohio Sunshine Law in holding those meetings, and ultimately settled that case.]

Well, today the Enquirer reports that Deters' bold move of taking on his own client -- the County Commission -- and the Vorys-Sater law firm, has yielded huge dividends for the taxpayers: a 70% savings on legal fees.

Thanks to our County Prosecutor for taking on this bruising battle, and winning on for the taxpayers.

And rotten tomatoes to Portune and Pepper for fighting to preserve this wasteful relationship.

Brazilian magnate extols virtues of entrepreneurism

Today's NYT has a great story here on Eike Batista, a Brazilian multi-billionaire who pretty much made it all from scratch. 

He speaks of Brazil being on the cusp of the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that allowed America to climb to its heights of success.

It's too bad no one in America is speaking like this, and that even Republicans attack those who have advanced our capitalist system. 

Who can lead us in this bold direction?

Friday, January 20, 2012

City Beat does exceptionally good job skewering U.C. Center for Economics; They dissect errors in Stadium economic projections

We usually don't praise the work of City Beat, because as a journalistic enterprise they are, well, usually hacks and the paper is, well, a rag.

However, since we call them like we see them, without bias or holding grudges, we must admit that the latest story in City Beat on the economic study performed by University of Cincinnati’s Center for Economic Education in 1995 to support the Stadium Sales Tax Campaign is quite good.

It is here.  We recommend a read.

Here's how not to balance a state budget; Illinois raises taxes 67% and ends up with an $8 billion deficit

Read here about the Illinois experience. 

States facing massive budget deficits had one of two choices several years ago: cut spending or raise taxes.  States like Ohio under John Kasich began to implement long-needed reforms in state spending.  Others like Illinois decided to solve their budget problems with massive tax hikes.  The result: Ohio's budget is balanced and Illinois' budget is collapsing under its own weight.

You see, as COAST has been saying for more than a decade, if you don't take steps to cut spending, seriously and structurally, tax increases will not solve the problem. 

This is so for two reasons: first, the bureaucrat's costs will always devour the new tax dollars, and, second, the higher taxes discourage residents from statying int he state and discourage economic activity in the state.

The result: deficits as we see clearly in Illinois. 

Read it and weep. 

Tol' ya so!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Here's an idea: Let's lay off the attorneys. Smitherman and Winburn get our nod for "capital idea of the year"

At the same time the batsh*t crazy Council is dreaming up and implementing new and crazy ideas of how to spend our money (read here, here and here), a few Council members are taking seriously the job of governing in Cincinnati: Christopher Smitherman and Charlie Winburn.

This week, they proposed laying off every lawyer in the City and farming out the services they provide to competent professionals.  Makes a lot more sense than laying off cops, firefighters and trash collectors, doesn't it?

Even the Enquirer's editorial page is weighing in in favor of the idea.

City prosecutors only appear in Municipal Court each day, prosecuting misdemeanors, and they stand alongside Municipal Court prosecutors from the County Prosecutor's office, wastefully duplicating manpower.  City attorneys do not prosecute felonies.

The City Law Department's civil litigation side is, according to COAST's attorneys, marginally competent but willing to endlessly litigate even the simplest issues, and wastefully gamble with taxpayer money instead of settling meritorious claims.  This ends up costing taxpayers millions of dollars unnecessarily annually.  Only the transactional team at the City appears more competent and responsive, and perhaps worth saving.

Our COAST hats go off to Christopher Smitherman and Charlie Winburn for this needed, overdue and groundbreaking initiative.

Unfortunately, the other seven, who are seriously nuts, won't give the proposal the attention it deserves.

Read more here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

COAST attorney Chris Finney is on with Brian Thomas tomorrow at 7 AM discussing the Jean Schmidt ethics scandal

COAST attorney Chris Finney, who is also representing David Krikorian in his many legal battles with Jean Schmidt, is appearing tomorrow morning at 7 AM with Brian Thomas on WKRC radio, 550 on the AM dial. Read more here.

Listen in!

Monday, January 16, 2012

COAST attorney presents on Toothless U.S. House Ethics process; Chris Finney presents case study on the handling of Jean Schmidt case before House Ethics Committee

It is impermissible for a member of Congress to accept a gift in excess of $335.  Further, a member of Congress must annually report all gifts, even if they exceed the permissible amount.    

Yet, Second District Congressman Jean Schmidt has accepted nearly $1/2 million in the payment of her legal fees from the Turkish Coalition of America in her various legal fights with David Krikorian.  She also failed to disclose this on her financial disclosure forms filed with the House Clerk.

The House Ethics Committee investigated the matter, and concluded that Schmidt in fact had accepted an illegal gift, and failed to disclose it, but decided not to discipline her.

Attorney Chris Finney, who represents both COAST and Krikorian, will present a series of seminars on the breach of Congressional ethics and federal law by Congressman Schmidt, and the failure of the House Ethics Committee to enforce its own rules.

These speeches presently are scheduled as follows:

1)  Anderson Tea Party, Wednesday, January 25 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM, Anderson High School.

2) Sharonville Tea Party, Monday, January 30 from 7 - 8:45 PM, at Sharonville Library, 10980 Thornview Dr., Sharonville, Ohio 45241.

3)  Clermont Tea Party, Tuesday, February 7 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM, Eastgate Holiday Inn. 

4)  Cincinnati East Tea Party, Wednesday, February 15 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM, Oakley Community Center (behind Biggs in Hyde Park Shopping Center).  

Please come and hear the unfortunate facts of this case, and worse, how the citizenry cannot trust the House Ethics Committee to police even the most obvious misdeeds of its members. 

Glass atrium project is $4.4 million of more foolishness from City Hall; It's hard to name all the problems with the City's plan

In a time of fiscal crisis, and $1 billion of unfunded liability in its pension plan, one would think the City would approach its finances a little more prudently these days.  One would be wrong.

On top of the utter foolishness that is the City's $140 million Streetcar project, Council voted with almost no debate, to enclose the City Hall Courtyard with a glass roof, and make it into a party hall for weddings and business functions.

Read here how this plan is completely unsupported with any income or expense projections.  None.  We can't make this stuff up.

In battle for control of Ohio GOP, COAST endorses slate supporting reform; Insurgents seek to oust Chairman Kevin DeWine

In 2010, Tea Party activists throughout Ohio entered races for State Central Committee seats, hoping to influence the direction of the Ohio Republcian Party that for years had been in the grips of Bob Taft-Style Republicans.  These posers squandered more than 16 years of Republican control of the Ohio House, Senate and Governor's Mansion with nary a single conservative initiative to show for it.
True to form of protecting the left-leaning tradition of the Ohio GOP, Chairman Kevin DeWine squandered millions of Republican Party dollars to defeat conservative and Tea Party Republicans in the State Central Committee races instead of saving those critical funds to defeat Democrats in November.  This is because the State Central Committee elects the Chairman.  DeWine would rather spend GOP money electing his lackeys so he can keep his job instead of electing good Republicans like Mike Wilson, who could have used that money in his narrow loss to liberal Democrat Connie Pillich. 

They even went so far as to lie in their campaign literature that the State GOP had "endorsed" the DeWine slate of candidates for these contested Central Committee spots, when no such vote had taken place.  COASTer Thea Shoemake challenged this lie at the Ohio Elections Commission.

Fortunately, this year, Governor Kasich has joined the battle to wrest control of the State GOP from Kevin DeWine.  He has recruited and helped fund a slate of candidates committed to removing Kevin DeWine as Ohio GOP Chair.

We wholeheartedly support this new direction for the Ohio GOP.  One of those reformers in Clermont County is a member of COAST's legal team, Curt Hartman, a solid vote to remove DeWine as Party Chair.

Chris Bortz asks City to rethink Streetcar plan; Council member who launched Streetcar now sees flaws

See here a Local 12 interview of former Cincinnati City Council member  Chris Bortz wherein he asks the City to "slow down" and "rethink" the Streetcar plan.  As we note above, the Streetcar plan is turning into a disaster in its implementation.

Streetcar is display of engineering and fiscal irresponsibility; City announces it will start construction without funds in place to complete project

COAST opposes the Streetcar project not just because it is bad in concept, but because we also know it will be a disaster in implementation.  Unfortunately, this is playing out just as COAST expected.

First, the engineering disaster:

The City's original streetcar budget allotted only $6 million for relocation of underground utilities.  As Dan Monk of the Cincinnati Business Courier has ably reported week after week, the actual costs are now more in the range of $40 million.  Mayor Mallory's plan?  He intended to shift those expenses to ratepayers of Duke Energy, Cincinnati Bell, MSD and the Water Works.

Only, that plan hit several buzz saws.  Courageously, the County Commissioners under the leadership of Chris Monzel passed a resolution forbidding MSD from paying any utility relocation costs.

Additionally, Duke Energy and Cincinnati Bell, according to Business Courier reports are steadfastly refusing to pass these expenses onto ratepayers.

Only the Water Works, which is controlled by Council, has decided to move the lines at the expense of ratepayers.

Then, here comes the disaster: Since MSD, Duke and Bell refuse to move their lines at their own expense, it is the City's plan to build the streetcar ON TOP of the utility lines, an engineering calamity of epic proportions, as the cost of maintenance of the lines will skyrocket and streetcar service will be interrupted every single time utility maintenance work is needed.

Second, the fiscal disaster:
Now, here's the worse part: In this week's Business Courier, City spokesperson Meg Olberding says: "We don't have all the answers yet, but most big projects don't have all the answers at the start."

Olberding's comment means that the City does not have a plan to cover that $40 million. They intend to start construction without a plan to pay these costs, hoping and praying that the money will just rain in on the City as construction progresses.     
Remember, the State of Ohio has outlawed use of state funds for the project, and the feds are broke.  That means the cost of overruns will fall squarely on the shoulders of Cincinnati taxpayers.

# # #

COASTers host fundraiser to help Dr. Brad Wenstrup's congressional campaign; Please join the fight to fix what's wrong in D.C.

   Monday, January 23, 2012 at 6 PM  
* * *
Now is our chance to reclaim  
2nd Congressional seat for fiscal responsibility  

For details, click here.

COAST endorses Brinkman for State Rep.; COAST founder seeks former seat in Columbus

COAST is proud to endorse its founder and spokesman Tom Brinkman, Jr. for Ohio House of Representatives in the Republican primary on March 6.  Tom served his constituents from Anderson Township to Hyde Park in an outstanding fashion for eight years in Columbus, until he retired due to term limits in 2008.

After sitting out for four years, Tom is again eligible to serve, and we wholeheartedly endorse his return to the Ohio legislature.

# # #

Friday, January 13, 2012

Chris Finney on Doc Thompson from WLW this morning discussing the Jean Schmidt Ethics Scandal

Chris Finney, the general counsel of COAST, appears on Doc Thompson of 700 WLW to discuss the Jean Schmidt ethics scandal.  Listen to the Pod Cast here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

COASTers throw fundraiser for Dr. Brad Wenstrup for U.S. Congress

Please join us 
Monday, January 23, 2012 at 6 PM  
* * *
Now is our chance to reclaim  
2nd Congressional seat for fiscal responsibility 
 Wenstrup logo
Chris Bortz and Chris Finney
Brian Bortz * Neil Bortz * Bruce Brandstetter * Thomas Bruns
William Busemeyer * Kim and Joel Grant * Curt Hartman
Dan and Kellie Peters * Dan Regenold * Alvin Roehr
Durk Rorie * Brian Shrive * Ron and Roseann Siderits
Gene Utz * James Zimmerman


Monday, January 23, 2012 * 6:00 pm-8:00pm
Offices of Finney, Stagnaro, Saba & Patterson
7373 Beechmont Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45230

Sponsor $500
$125 per person | $150 per couple

Please RSVP soon to Jeff Groenke at 513-225-6786 or jeffgroenke@live.com

To register online, visit www.TinyURL.com/JoinBrad and denote the January 23 fundraiser in the comments section.

Contributions from corporations and foreign nationals are prohibited. Contributions to Wenstrup for Congress Committee are not tax deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes. Under Federal law, individuals may contribute up to $2,500 to a candidate for Congress during the primary and general elections ($5,000 per person). Under Federal law, Political Action Committees may contribute up to $5,000 to a candidate for Congress during the primary and general elections ($10,000)

# # #

What we have is a failure to discern, prioritize

Cincinnati City Council is fiddling with $150 million Streetcar project, a $4.4 million project to put a glass lid on City Hall, and $1.5 million in annual subsidy for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, all while Rome burns.

The Enquirer here points out one of the more visible indicators of the decay.


Smoke signals from the primaries

Romney? Paul? Santorum?

The Iowa and New Hampshire fight for the Republican nomination has been fascinating to watch, and certainty tens of millions of dollars have been spent and tens of thousands of volunteer hours have been expended choosing a nominee to date, but what political message are we to take from all of this?

First, the candidates continue to fight for the mantle of most conservative on fiscal matters.  Thus, the Tea Party message continues to resound.  We know from history that getting politicians to govern as fiscal conservatives is entirely another challenge, but the Republican mandate is crystal clear.

Second, we consistently hear a yearning among Republican voters for the chance to coalesce around a nominee to defeat President Obama and lead a ticket that will also capture the U.S. Senate and hold the U.S. House of Representatives. 

So, let the battle proceed, let a R3VOLution rein, but let us keep our eye on the prize in November.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

COAST attorney Chris Finney gives speech on Schmidt ethics scandal

COAST attorney Chris Finney gave a powerful speech last night to the Warren County Tea Party at the Warren County Justice Center on the Jean Schmidt ethics scandal.  Read more about it here.

If your organization wants to hear the presentation, please call Chris Finney at 533-2980.

Streetcar schedule is "in"

COAST's public records request has yielded the project schedule form the City.  It already has been blown, repeatedly.  Can you say: "behind schedule and over-budget?"  Get ready.

Here it is.

End the "Occupation" of the White House and the U.S. Senate

Radical, left-wing, big-government types who apparently care little about personal hygiene have "occupied" parks and public squares in cities throughout America.  They seem to have an aimless agenda, except anger against those who work and pay taxes.

As we think about it, other than the hygiene part, that's pretty much the M.O. of Harry Reid and his fellow democrats in the U.S. Senate and Barack Obama and his rapacious hoard in the White House.

We call on the voters this fall to clear the Senate and White House of the "occupiers," just like Mayors across this great land have had to clear the protesters from the parks. 

It's time to reclaim America for the majority of productive citizens who play by the rules and are not looking for a government handout.

Streetcar groundbreaking delayed yet again

The "imminent" groundbreaking for Cincinnati's Streetcar has been repeatedly announced several times, but it never happens.  Scheduling documents from the City show that work was supposeed to have started in December, but has not.

What's the delay?  Could it be that the City has no plan to pay the tens of millions of dollars needed to pay for utility line relocation such as lines for MSD (sanitary sewers), Cincinnati Bell (phone and data lines), and Duke Energy (water, gas and chilled water lines)? 

Publicly, City fathers are claiming they are only waiting for a spot on Ray LaHood's schedule.  Um huh.  We will see.

If construction actually starts in January or February, you can count on massive cost overruns for utility relocation costs, as the City simply has not yet begun to deal with this issue.  They are self-deluded if they think the project will be on budget. Or, more likely, they are intentionally misleading Cincinnati voters and taxpayers.

Monday, January 9, 2012

US Debt now equals total size of economy -- thanks US Congress!

USA Today has the story here.

Wenstrup v. Schmidt is pure good versus pure evil

Speaking of getting rid of Bob Taft Republicans, the Enquirer this weekend had a nice piece on the primary race between Jean Schmidt and Brad Wenstrup. 

We say "speaking of Bob Taft Republicans," because one of Schmidt's claims to fame is her slavish adherence to the Bob Taft agenda while they both served together.  Never forgive; never forget.

It's kind of like pure good versus pure evil.  Maybe more than kind of.

Read it here and thank the good Lord we have a choice in this primary election.

Thought for the day

A COASTer e-mailed me this morning.  After reading the Bob Taft entry below, he asked "so, why am I even a Republican."  The answer, dear COASTers is our raison d'etre

All together now: 

"So we can vote Bob Taft Republicans out in primaries."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Catching up with Bob Taft

Today's Enquirer has this quaint piece "catching up with Bob Taft."

"Taft said he had no desire to run for higher office beyond Ohio governor."

Well thank goodness, we were so concerned that he might launch a presidential campaign.