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2018 was a big election year in Ohio. Republicans held onto all five statewide executive offices including governor and super majorities in both the Ohio House and Senate. But there were a few bright spots for Democrats, among them the reelection of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and the election of two Democrats to the Ohio Supreme Court.With election 2018 over, the focus now shifts to governing. Stay connected with the latest on politics, policies and people making the decisions at all levels affecting your lives.

GOP Candidates Donate ECOT Campaign Contributions to Charities

Photo of Bill Lager

Republican candidates on this fall’s ballot are distancing themselves from the founder of what was the state’s largest online charter school. This follows a state audit that could result in criminal charges and reports of an FBI investigation for illegal campaign contributions.

After he announced that he was turning his audit of the now-closed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow over to prosecutors, Auditor and attorney general candidate Dave Yost said he’s donating to charity more than $29,000 in contributions from ECOT founder Bill Lager.

Rep. Keith Faber, who’s running to replace Yost, says he’ll give away the $36,000 in ECOT money he’s received over 15 years.  And Attorney General and candidate for governor Mike DeWine will donate the more than $12,000 he received. 

Bill Lager has made political contributions of at least $2.1 million since he founded ECOT in 2000.

Overwhelmingly that money went to Republican candidates, the party and its campaign committees. But Lager has given tens of thousands to the Ohio Democratic Party and much smaller donations to individual candidates.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.