Update: Crooks & Liars has a clip of Jean Schmidt’s interview with David Gregory on MSNBC. What a nut job!
Earlier this week, we wrote about the upcoming special election for a House seat in Ohio’s predominantly Republican 2nd District next week. The Democratic candidate is Paul Hackett, an Iraqi War vet.
Now we learn that Hackett’s opponent, Jean Schmidt, a rightwing political hack who once served in the state assembly, has played a role in one of the many Republican political scandals roiling Columbus these days.
In 2001, Roger Ach II, the CEO of Ohio-based Games Inc., developed a system for operating the state’s lottery on the Internet. What is key here is that Ach had undertaken this project on his own initiative. The state had not ordered a web lottery system. In fact, selling lottery tickets online was illegal in Ohio.
Coincidentally (or not), Games Inc. found itself in some financial difficulty, and Ach became desperate for face time with Gov. Robert Taft in order to lobby him about the Games Inc. Internet lottery system. To grease the way into the governor’s offiice, Ach slipped cash to GOP operatives and politicians in the form of stock in Games Inc. and donations to campaigns.
Schmidt, who was then a state legislator, was one of the GOP pols who took a donation from Ach. And now we have a record of the fact that she lobbied the governor on Ach’s behalf. From the Toledo Blade:
Jean Schmidt … also appealed to the governor’s office on behalf of a Web-based lottery… In a November, 2001, e-mail, Jon Allison, a staff member for Governor Taft, complained that Ms. Schmidt “continues to bug me on Internet lottery.”
One year later, her state representative re-election campaign garnered a $1,000 donation from Mr. Ach.
Ms. Schmidt said [she doesn’t recall the incident].
“The documents indicate that she is lobbying the governor on behalf of Roger Ach,” said her opponent, Mr. Hackett. “After doing their bidding, she takes a $1,000 donation. That is the culture of corruption – documented.”
When Ach finally did get into see the governor, Taft took a pass on the web lottery system.
It is notable that Schmidt obviously places little value on her own virtue. Or maybe she thinks a thousand bucks for a few lousy phone calls is a pretty good day’s work.
Finally, this scandal also has a dash of liberal Hollywood glitz: One of the investors in Games Inc. is a notable Democrat, Jerry Springer.