The recent disclosure by the Associated Press that lobbyists for David Brennan on behalf of his White Hat Management corporation not only lobbied Ohio House speaker William Batchelder on charter schools but actually prepared legislative wording favorable to his corporation is, sadly, nothing new and, more disturbing, legal. The $217,000 in political campaign “contributions” by the Brennans over the last two years to Ohio Republicans was a pretty good investment. Nine out of 11 items on Brennan’s/White Hat corporation’s “wish list” allowing for-profit corporations to operate schools without oversight from nonprofit sponsors ended up to some degree in the final House budget bill.
Is this the route to a healthy and sustainable democracy? It’s no wonder a recent Harris poll shows large majorities feeling that big companies, PACs, banks, financial institutions and lobbyists have too much power and influence in Washington.
The same can be said in Columbus.
The real solution goes way beyond stripping the self-serving White Hat corporation “wish list” provisions from the House bill as the problem transcends issues, political parties and state government. We must end the constitutional doctrines that money equals speech and that corporations possess first amendment free speech rights.
It’s time we declare our independence from corporate rule and big money in elections by joining 111,000 Americans in the national Move to Amend (www.movetoamend.org) campaign.
House cozy with charter school lobby
Magnate's agents had frequent input in state budget, wrote some provisions
SUNDAY, JUNE 5, 2011 03:12 AM
BY JIM SIEGEL AND DARREL ROWLAND