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LWV League of Women Voters of Ohio Education Fund

Smart Voter
Ohio State Government November 4, 2008 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Attorney General

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on Consumer Protection, New Authority

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

? 1. What specific actions should the Attorney General take to protect consumers in Ohio?

Answer from Mike Crites:

As Attorney General I will make the protection of Ohio consumers one of my top priorities. I am a career prosecutor, not a career politician. I have 21 years of prosecutorial experience, more than the last seven Attorneys General combined. As United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio I prosecuted every type of criminal from members of the Mafia, to dangerous drug dealers to tax evaders. I pledge to use that experience to uphold the consumer laws of Ohio and to go after criminals, both individuals and businesses, who illegally prey on Ohioans.

Answer from Robert M. Owens:

Protecting consumers starts by sacredly guarding their tax dollars, eliminating the "corruption tax," which by some accounts has been as much as $2,000 per family. This means changing the system that awards nobid contracts to large campaign contributors representing special interests. It also means eliminating the current "slush funds" that are created by monies collected by the attorney general's office through settlement and litigation. Those funds should be returned to the people's treasury. As attorney general, I will work to reduce regulation on small business (often falsely marketed as "consumer protection"), while increasing focus on prosecuting fraudulent business practices. Finally, consumer protection means fighting crime. I will work to expand capabilities for the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) forensic lab in order to better support law enforcement across Ohio. I will also work to expand education to communities and law enforcement regarding citizen rights to self defense.

Answer from Richard Cordray:

Ohio's Attorney General should use all the powers of the office against anyone who tries to scam Ohioans or use `gotcha' tactics to take their hard-earned dollars. As Attorney General, I would carry on the work begun in the State Treasurer's office to educate consumers about predatory practices and making informed financial decisions. Financial education helps, but the rule of law is the critical tool to protect the financial security of Ohioans. Specifically, we will continue our work on foreclosure prevention (taking on predatory lenders, appraisers, flippers, and foreclosure "prevention" scammers); stand up for fair consumer practices by credit card companies (including marketing to students on campus); initiate a Senior Strike Force to prevent consumer fraud against seniors; and battle every kind of unfair financial practice that takes money out of our pockets or jobs from our hometowns.

? 2. What changes would you propose in the authority of the Attorney General?

Answer from Mike Crites:

I believe the Ohio Revised Code statutes that refer to the Office of Attorney General currently in place are well thought out and give the office an appropriate amount of authority. We have arrived at this special election not because of a failing in the authority of the office of Attorney General, but rather because of the personal failings of the last Attorney General. The office has worked very well under the last several Attorneys General and therefore I do not believe that sweeping new authority is needed. However, I have offered several policy proposals as to how I would improve the office,including the creation of an Ad hoc committee to streamline the various ongoing investigations into the office, the creation of new fellowships to reward professionalism and improve morale, and a Public Corruption Commission to ensure that these types of scandals never again taint the office.

Answer from Richard Cordray:

As the only candidate who has actually worked in the Attorney General's office as Ohio's first State Solicitor, I understand the expansive powers of the office and do not plan initially to seek broader powers. Instead, I intend to exercise my authority to uphold the standards of professionalism and restore public trust in the office. I also will protect the financial interests of Ohioans and be a strong partner to local law enforcement. I will reconstitute the Criminal Law Project to help local prosecutors arguing in the Ohio Supreme Court to keep criminals behind bars, establish commissions to assist on budgetary issues for local law enforcement, and work closely with small businesses to provide an early warning system and dispute mediation to reduce costs. If the structure or functions of the office prove inadequate, I will work with both sides of the aisle in the General Assembly to address that.

Answer from Robert M. Owens:

The attorney general should not have the authority to unilaterally distribute hundreds of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts. I am the only candidate to propose, from the beginning of the race, that every contract be subject to a full, open competitive bid process. All financial transactions of the attorney general's office should be readily available (i.e. online), open to public and media scrutiny. The only way to restore integrity to the office of attorney general is through independent oversight and full transparency. I am the only candidate to sign the Buckeye Institute's "Transparency in Government" pledge. Let there be no more blind trust in politicians. The system itself must be changed. As an independent, I alone have the ability to make these changes without concern from party politics and big money special interest pressure.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. The answer must not exceed 100 words. Direct references to opponents are not permitted.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

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Created: January 24, 2009 10:48 PST
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