Democrats in the Ohio House of Representatives introduced articles of impeachment against state Attorney General Marc Dann this morning. The articles, available here, feature nine counts of "misconduct in office rising to the level of malfeasance, neglect, nonfeasance, gross neglect of duty, improper exercise of authority and gross immorality," including the obstruction of an investigation into sexual harassment complaints in his office and misleading statements to investigators. 42 of 45 House Democrats signed on.
Also this morning, the Columbus Dispatch reportedon a potential FBI investigation of Dann's ties to gambling interests. Such an investigation would come on top of several others already, or soon to be, underway, including an independent review of the AG office's investigation of sexual harassment complaints, an official audit of the AG office's expense reports to investigate the alleged misuse of state property, and an overall investigation by the state's inspector general. Meanwhile, rumors of additional allegations against Dann and his cronies continue to swirl around the state capitol, something I have heard from several sources.
Perhaps because he was feeling the heat, Dann allegedly offered to resign if state legislators did not authorize an immediate IG investigation of his office. According to the Dispatch:
State Rep. Robert F. Hagan said Michael Harshman, Dann's attorney, told him to offer Dann's resignation this afternoon "within the hour" if the Senate removed an emergency clause in a bill giving the state inspector general the power to investigate the scandal.The Cleveland Plain Dealer is also on the story.
Taking out the clause would have the bill to take effect in 90 days instead of immediately.
But Hagan, a Youngstown-area Democrat, said Republican Senate President Bill M. Harris refused, and the bill was passed by both the House and Senate today with the emergency clause included. . . .
In response to media reports that his resignation was imminent, Dann issued a terse statement saying he has not resigned and there would be no further announcements today.
Sources said Dann told a number of legislators that an investigation by Inspector General Thomas P. Charles "would cause all sorts of problems" for him and he offered to leave office if the bill was scotched.
Despite Dann's request, the House and Senate today approved the bill directing Charles to investigate and sent it to Strickland, who signed it tonight.
UPDATE: The Blue bloggers at BuckeyeStateBlog understand the implications of today's developments:
Dann has completely given up hope on his political career and instead might be trying to avoid more serious allegations from coming to light that would have more serious consequences. He must have something juicy to hide that he feels will be exposed by the IG in an investigation.One other thing about this scandal, it has a catchy tune and beat you can dance to.
WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: From this AM's Dispatch: "Sources close to Dann say he was caught off guard by the surprisingly rapid action from by the Democrats and is trying desperately to leave office with some dignity intact." Um, it's a little late for that.
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