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Ohio auditor backs anti-corruption training, and quick reporting

Keith Faber.jpg
Associated Press
Republican Auditor Keith Faber has partnered with state Senator Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) on a bill to strengthen anti-corruption training and reporting for public employees.

Republican Ohio Auditor Keith Faber wants more training for public employees to spot government fraud and corruption and requiring them to speedily report suspected crimes, as a way of improving the state’s ability to root out and prosecute bad actors and recoup taxpayer money.

Faber said Thursday that his office has raised the bar for catching officials at all levels of government who are trying to lie, cheat and steal from public coffers.

“Unfortunately,” he told reporters at a Statehouse news conference, “there is much more to do.”

His calls for additional training and reporting came as Faber marked his office’s 100th conviction for fraud and corruption — most at the local government level — since 2019, when he began his first term as auditor. Those cases have resulted in more than $5 million in restitution and findings for recovery totaling over $18.3 million.

Faber’s is the second Republican anti-corruption bill to be announced against the backdrop of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder’s trial on a federal racketeering charge in federal court in Cincinnati. Federal prosecutors allege Householder, a Republican, and lobbyist Matt Borges, a former chair of the state Republican Party, took part in a $60 million bribery scheme secretly funded by Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp.

A group of Republican state representatives led by state Rep. Derek Merrin announced an Ohio Ethics and Financial Disclosure Reform Act proposal on Jan. 18, a couple of days before jury selection began in the trial.

State Rep. Phil Plummer said the Householder trial was an embarrassment to the GOP. “The Republican side of the aisle is involved in this trial, and the Republican side of the aisle is now going to fix these problems,” he said at the time.