Week 2: Mandel Calls New Allegations In Treasurer’s Office Cronyism Scandal A “Non-Issue,” Despite Campaigning Against Cronyism In 2010

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Week 2: Mandel Calls New Allegations In Treasurer’s Office Cronyism Scandal A “Non-Issue,” Despite Campaigning Against Cronyism In 2010

Following Report That Mandel Surrounded Himself With Political Cronies In Treasurer’s Office, New Details Emerge Of Top Staffer Sent To “Beginner’s Course” In Subject He Was Overseeing

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Following the stunning report by the Dayton Daily News, which revealed that “Josh Mandel hired young, relatively inexperienced staffers from his 2010 campaign and gave them high-ranking jobs in the state treasurer’s office,” a new examination by The Huffington Post has uncovered that Mandel shockingly dispatched a top aide to a beginner’s course in the subject he was overseeing.”

You can’t make this stuff up. The Huffington Post reported:

“Days after being accused of hiring young, inexperienced staffers for key positions in the state Treasury, new evidence shows that Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, the Republican nominee for the state Senate race, dispatched a top aide to a beginner’s course in the subject he was overseeing.

“…Joe Aquilino — Mandel’s debt management director at the time — attended the conference. The seminar is tailored for those new to the subject.

“According to the brochure for the NABL seminar, its purpose was to help people ‘learn the building blocks of municipal finance and gain or strengthen basic knowledge of state, tax and securities law issues in municipal finance.’

“Aquilino, 26, had been the political director for Mandel’s 2010 campaign for treasurer before being tapped to oversee Ohio’s debt management, including issuing new bonds and working with the state’s investment underwriters. Aquilino has since left that position to serve as political director for Mandel’s Senate race…”

In a not-at-all-surprising attempt to dismiss revelations that Josh has surrounded himself with political cronies, his campaign called it a “non-issue,” putting Mandel at odds with – wait for it – himself, during his own campaign for Treasurer.

VIDEO: Josh Mandel on Political Cronies

“Josh Mandel repeatedly slammed his predecessor for alleged cronyism and promised to operate differently if elected, but he went back on his word and awarded top jobs and taxpayer funded raises to political cronies, many who lacked the basic qualifications to do their jobs,” said Friends of Sherrod Brown spokesperson Sadie Weiner. “Josh Mandel’s decision to surround himself with political cronies after campaigning furiously against cronyism is the clearest indication yet that Mandel isn’t doing the job he promised to do and can’t be trusted.”

BACKGROUND

During 2010 Campaign For State Treasurer, Mandel Repeatedly Criticized Kevin Boyce For Appointing Politically Connected People Into Key Positions…And Promised To Operate Differently If Elected.  In March 2012, The Dayton Daily News reported “Mandel’s hires stand out because of the strong stance the then state representative took against incumbent Democrat Kevin Boyce’s hiring practices during the heated 2010 race for treasurer.  Mandel repeatedly criticized Boyce for appointing politically connected people into key slots, and pledged to operate differently if elected to the office that oversees billions of dollars in investments and bond deals.” [Dayton Daily News, 03/31/12]

Mandel: “Regardless, Cronyism Is Bad.” In October 2010, in an interview with the Dix Editorial Board, Josh Mandel said, “You know regardless, cronyism is bad, and a hallmark of our campaign, one of the main messages we’ve had in our campaign is restoring character and integrity to the treasurer’s office.” [Marc Kovac, Ohio Capital Blog, 10/5/10]

Mandel Hired Six Campaign Staffers To Positions Ranging From Debt Management And Policy Advising To Community Outreach.  In March 2012, The Dayton Daily News reported “To see if Mandel was fulfilling his pledge not to hire political friends the Daily News reviewed personnel files and other records from the treasurer’s office.” The Dayton Daily News went on to note that Mandel “…hired six campaign workers whose average age is 26 and assigned them duties ranging from debt management to policy-advising to community outreach.”  [Dayton Daily News, 03/31/12]

Mandel’s Debt Management Director, Joe Aquilino, Attended A Conference Tailored For Those New To The Subject Of Debt Management.  In April 2012, The Huffington Post reported “Days after being accused of hiring young, inexperienced staffers for key positions in the state Treasury, new evidence shows that Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, the Republican nominee for the state Senate race, dispatched a top aide to a beginner’s course in the subject he was overseeing. A roster of attendees for a seminar on the fundamentals of municipal bond law, held at the April 2011 National Association of Bond Lawyers, shows that Joe Aquilino — Mandel’s debt management director at the time — attended the conference. The seminar is tailored for those new to the subject.” [Huffington Post, 04/05/12]

  • ·         The Purpose Of The Seminar Is To “Strengthen Basic Knowledge Of State, Tax And Securities Law Issues.”  In April 2012,The Huffington Post reported “According to the brochure for the NABL seminar, its purpose was to help people ‘learn the building blocks of municipal finance and gain or strengthen basic knowledge of state, tax and securities law issues in municipal finance.’” [Huffington Post, 04/05/12]

 

  • ·         Municipal Bond Expert:  “To Be A Director Of Finance Of A Major State At 26 Is Highly Unusual.”  In April 2012, The Huffington Post reported “Wilson White, a municipal bond expert who spent more than 60 years purchasing bonds from U.S. states, including Ohio, said Aquilino’s qualifications are troubling. White also owned his own municipal bond house and has published several textbooks on the subject. ‘Just let me say to be a director of finance of a major state at 26 in highly unusual,’ White said. ‘I know of no parallel example that I’ve come across in all my 60 years of municipal bond experience. I just find it hard to believe.’”  [Huffington Post, 04/05/12]

 

  • ·         Municipal Bond Expert:   “It Sounds Like Pure Patronage To Me, And If It Were In My State I’d Be Ashamed Of It.”  In April 2012, The Huffington Postwrote “When asked about Aquilino’s experience and his position working for Mandel in the Treasury and now for Mandel’s Senate campaign, White said, ‘It sounds like pure patronage to me, and if it were in my state I’d be ashamed of it.’”  [Huffington Post, 04/05/12]

 

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