Posted March 14, 2010
Welcome back to Americans for John Mitchel. Last time we revealed how Steve Austria earmarks led to a job for Mrs. Austria and other insider campaign contributors in Springfield. We exposed a self-dealt land deal where Steve Austria cronies paid themselves a $4 million profit on investment funds supplied by the taxpayers. Today we’ll follow the money to Qbase, another Nextedge tenant that is confirmed to be under investigation by the FEC for questionable campaign contributions to Steve Austria.
When Dave Hobson announced his retirement from Congress, Steve Austria immediately announced he was running for the seat. That happened in late October, 2007 while Mrs. Austria was still working as Dave Hobson’s District Director earning over $100,000 a year. From October 27 to December 31, the Austria campaign raised over $221,000 from 246 contributors, most of them long-time donors to Dave Hobson. Considering the scope and magnitude of that fund-raising in a short time, there’s compelling evidence that Mrs. Austria was dialing for dollars for her husband’s campaign out of Dave Hobson’s office in Springfield. The most prolific donors were 16 associates of Qbase who contributed over $20,000 between October 27 and December 31, 2007, Mrs. Austria’s last day on the job before passing through the revolving door to work for Nextedge. FEC Records also show that Qbase owners Willard and Janet Pardue gave to Steve Austria’s campaign double the limit allowed by law.
Another contributor was Barb Schenck, wife of Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Schenck, a former Greene County prosecutor and former law partner with Mike DeWine, who is running for Ohio Attorney General. A few interesting things about Mrs. Schenck: She earned over $100,000 a year as former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine’s state coordinator in his Xenia office, and still received a $20,000 bonus two months after Mike DeWine left office when he was defeated by Sherrod Brown in 2006. From there, Mrs. Schenck went through the revolving door to Qbase and then reversed course back to a taxpayer funded job on Steve Austria’s staff in Springfield.
The bottom line here is that your tax dollars helped fund Steve Austria’s campaign for Congress in 2008 – as if the $1.2 million he got from private donors wasn’t enough. As a sidebar, here I have four expensive campaign pieces, two to 7th District veterans. It’s important you know the disclosure down here in the corner in 7 point type. On all four pieces it reads, “This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.” To us, it’s tragic that a man who has never worn the uniform uses our tax dollars to pander to those of us who have. That’s not right, and if I am elected, not only will I refuse to use this abusive franking privilege; I will introduce legislation to make it illegal for others to do so.
Thank you again for joining Americans for John Mitchel. Next time we’ll look into Steve Austria’s role in steering taxpayer dollars toward Steiner and Associates, the private developer for The Greene on the corner of Indian Ripple Road and I-675 here in Beavercreek.
But before we close, a quick update on the campaign, and we think it’s going very well. It’s clear that Steve Austria’s strategy is to avoid any and all confrontations with our campaign in hopes of running out the clock until the May 4th primary. I hope you are in agreement that with nearly 7 weeks to go, that may give Steve the best chance to win, but it’s a losing strategy nonetheless. See you next time…..