To the FBI, It’s Ohio’s ‘Largest Bribery Case Ever’…Others See it as a Rallying Cry for Reforms

Experts to discuss political reform and ethics issues in Common Cause Ohio panels

COLUMBUS – Ohio has seen it before: legislators and lobbyists embroiled in a pay-to-play scheme, dark money helping to seal the deal, and a northern Ohio electric utility at the center of the scandal.

Common Cause Ohio is convening two panels of nationally acclaimed experts to discuss the FBI’s on-going bribery investigation into Ohio’s passage of a nuclear bailout law. Panel members will offer advice on how to fix the current mess while strengthening the guardrails of our democracy to prevent a similar corruption scandal from happening ever again.

Presenters include officials from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, and experts in utility regulation, whistleblower protections, and government transparency. Each panelist will do a Zoom presentation, and make recommendations. 

Ohioans are invited to participate in Blueprint for Democracy: How We Can Stop Being Ripped Off on November 16 and 23. The public will be provided an opportunity to weigh in and consider these proposals following the presentations.  


November 16th Panel

WHAT: Panel with experts on dark money, direct democracy, whistleblower laws, and the legislative process

WHEN: November 16, 2020; 7:00 pm ET

WHERE: RSVP for November 16’s Blueprint Session




November 23rd Panel

WHAT: Panel with experts on lobbying and ethics reform and restructuring the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) 

WHEN: November 23, 2020; 7pm ET

WHERE: RSVP for November 23’s Blueprint Session




Topics and Information about the Panelists:

November 16th Panel:

  • Shining a Light on Dark Money: Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Stetson University and Brennan Center for Justice Fellow. Professor Torres-Spelliscy teaches election and constitutional law, is an expert on money in politics and has testified before Congress and state and local legislative bodies on campaign finance reform.
  • Improving Direct Democracy Elena Nunez of Common Cause. Elena Nunez is an expert in ballot measures. She provides direct support to states on campaigns, fund raising and policy, and she helped Colorado to promote voting, expand access to public records and improve campaign finance transparency.
  • Strengthening Ohio’s Whistleblower Law: Fred Gittes, Gittes Law Group. Fred Gittes is among the nation’s top civil rights lawyers. He has obtained relief involving promotions and pay for a variety of clients, and he is a passionate voice for whistleblower reforms, calling Ohio’s whistleblower law “one of the worst’’ in America.
  • Discovering Who Really Writes the Legislation: Aristotle Hutras, founder of the Aristotle Group and former longest-serving Executive Director of the Ohio Retirement Study Council.

November 23rd Panel: