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This writer has received a new e-mail from “Ohio Concerned Citizen,” the anonymous source that provided what turned out to be accurate and complete copies of the Athens, Ohio, police records concerning the sexual misconduct crimes committed in 1994 by Rep. Ted Strickland’s 1998 campaign manager. Strickland is the Democratic candidate for Ohio governor in the Nov. 7 election.

The new communication contained new information. Evidently, in the last weeks of the 1998 campaign when Strickland was anonymously tipped off regarding the sexual offenses of this top employee, criminal arrest records were also sent to a wide range of Ohio Democratic Party officials. In the new e-mail, Ohio Concerned Citizen makes this charge:

“This was not a simple note. Strickland received the same package of information that was sent to all the Democratic chairs, all the Democratic officials on the ballot in his district, all of Strickland’s big campaign donors, news media, etc.”

This accusation suggests a broad-based cover-up was under way within Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District Democratic Party and very possibly beyond. Previously, we had assumed that only Strickland had the information. Now, it appears several key Democratic Party officials had the opportunity to confront Strickland with police reports to demand he take action to remove a convicted criminal sex offender from the top of his re-election campaign.

The apparent desire to cover up the incident and protect the Strickland campaign extended not only to Ohio Democratic Party officials, but to top campaign contributors and to the news media.

Even if Strickland, Democratic Party officials, important campaign contributors and the media were inclined to doubt the veracity of an anonymous source, checking the police records would have been relatively easy. Remember, in 1998 all police reports regarding the campaign manger, both in Washington County and in Athens, Ohio, were still available to be checked. With one or two phone calls, any of those tipped off could easily have validated that the charges were true.

The lack of action in 1998 and Strickland’s current explanations of his personal failure to take the offenses seriously enough to fire the person in question strains credibility. Ohio Concerned Citizen comments directly on the point:

“It is incredible to think that the congressman thought this was made up by the police. If he did not know it was because he did not want to know or that he thought exposing yourself to children was not a big issue.”

With the lack of Ohio media investigation into the issue, especially after the Foley scandal in Washington, I have to conclude that Ohio Concerned Citizen is right. Even today, Ohio mainstream media, including the vast majority of Ohio’s newspapers, evidently are more invested in a political agenda to elect the Democrat Ted Strickland governor than they are concerned to follow traditional standards of rigorous investigative journalism.

The political bias of the mainstream media in Ohio to apply a double standard is unconscionable. Why are Republicans like Foley excoriated for sexual misconduct when Democrats are given a pass for the same behavior or worse?

Why are no mainstream media reporters in Ohio demanding that Strickland answer hard questions on the scandal involving his 1998 campaign manager? What did Strickland know and when did he know it? Does no mainstream media reporter in Ohio care to ask this question of Strickland himself, of Democratic Party officials or of Strickland’s top campaign contributors in 1998 or now?

Ohio Concerned Citizen is equally direct in his conclusions.

“Today, Strickland is lying again. When he claims he did not knowingly hire someone with that background, he may be telling the truth. But when Strickland learned of these matters in the fall of 1998, he knew then and he did nothing about it. After the campaign was over, Strickland hired him again in late 1998 or early 1999, back to his congressional staff. So Strickland did hire this guy (albeit back) to his congressional staff with knowledge of this guy’s background or at the very least with knowledge of his arrest.”

Evidently, no Democratic Party official or big contributor objected when Strickland went on a celebratory jaunt to Italy with the discredited campaign manager, leaving the congressman’s wife back home.

Ohio Concerned Citizen also wants to know the answer to a question I have posed: Did Strickland write a letter of recommendation for his 1998 campaign manager when he went to work subsequently for Sen. Robert Torrecelli, D-N.J.?

Ohio’s Republican Party officials should demand an explanation from their Democratic Party counterparts. Are any laws being violated even today by what appears to be a continuing cover-up? If this were a Republican Party sexual scandal, we could all be sure the mainstream media in Ohio and the Democratic Party would be screaming their demands for answers.

The information given me by Ohio Concerned Citizen in the past has been true and verifiable. In this instance, I’m sure Democratic Party officials in Ohio and top Strickland campaign contributors would deny they knew anything, regardless how ridiculous their denials now appear.

Remember, in 1998 the police records existed, and the anonymous source’s charges would have been easy to verify. The charges of long-buried criminal sexual misconduct in the presence of minors was covered up by Strickland and the Ohio Democratic Party in 1998 as most assuredly it is still being covered up right now.

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