Ginther Proposes Stricter Ethics Rules For Lobbyists, City Officials
Columbus City Council president and mayoral candidate Andy Ginther today proposed tougher new ethics rules for lobbyists and elected officials, as questions about his own behavior have been raised in recent weeks.
Under Ginther's plan, the city would expand the definition of what a lobbyist is and require them to report their activities at City Hall, with tougher penalties for failure to do so. Elected officials would have to provide a description of all gifts, conduct yearly ethics training and appoint an ethics officer, while also facing increased penalties for failure. The city would create an online database of campaign finance reports and require campaign finance filings above and beyond those the state requires. Ginther has been the subject of federal investigations into bribes a former red-light camera company official said she funneled through a lobbyist to the campaigns of Ginther and others. The Columbus lobbyist, John Raphael, signed a plea agreement last week on one count of extortion for his role in the Red-Flex investigation. Raphael and Ginther are friends. Ginther says the timing of today's announcement had nothing to do with the red-light camera scandal, or the guilty plea by his lobbyist friend. Ginther is facing Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott in the mayoral contest. Scott last month released his own plan for tightening restrictions on lobbyists and gifts to elected officials.