Voter Guide

The counties included in the voters guide are: Montgomery, Warren, Miami, Greene, Clark, Champaign, Preble, and Butler.

NOTE: Not all communities have issues or candidates on the ballot.

Ohio Auditor

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  • Candidate picture

    Robert Coogan
    (L)

  • Candidate picture

    Keith Faber
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Zack Space
    (Dem)

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Biographical Information

Why are you running for auditor?

Will you push lawmakers to change state law to allow the Auditor to audit JobsOhio?

How will your administration seek to audit online and charter schools?

What specific skills/credentials do you have that qualifies you to oversee audits of hundreds of government entities?

What are the three biggest issues facing the state you can deal with if elected?

What else do you want the voters to know about you and your campaign?

Experience CPA - Ohio, Member of Ohio Society of CPAs; Certified Internal Auditor (inactive) - Institute of Internal Auditors; Retired from Cincinnati Bell - served as VP-Accounting at Cincinnati Bell Telephone and VP-Internal Audit at Cincinnati Bell Inc; Retired from The Health Collaborative - Director-Grant Accounting
Education Princeton University – 1969 to 1973 - Bachelor’s degree; Xavier University – 1973 to 1978 – Master of Business Administration
There is too much influence from special interests in State Government, including in the Auditor of State’s office. Both the Republicans and Democrats are influenced by large donors and outside pressures. An example is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow case. As long ago as the City Club of Cleveland’s 2014 debate with the Auditor of State candidates, ECOT was a major issue. The obvious biases from special interests and outside influences are still plaguing State Government in 2018. Independence and objectivity will be important as current issues come to the forefront, such as the roll-out of medical marijuana, and as new issues arise.
Yes, I will push lawmakers to the change state law to permit the audit of JobsOhio. It was unconscionable for the legislature to hide the use of public funds from public scrutiny. In my experience I have never seen an arrangement in which the provider of funds is prohibited from auditing the pertinent financial details of the recipients. When I was Director-Grant Accounting, all contracts with the federal government, state governments and private foundations/charities included provisions for the funders to audit the recipient of funds regarding expenditures and operations. JobsOhio should be treated similarly. If the reason for the audit prohibition is the confidentiality of negotiations, are secret deals actually in the best interest of taxpayers? It would be better to openly negotiate for infrastructure changes, worker training and business taxation improvements that apply to all businesses.
The Auditor of State has a critical role in the oversight of community schools.

This monitoring of the granting of public funds for a specific purpose (education) parallels the close examination by government and other funding organizations of the use of their funds. All grants that I have managed have required that the recipient of the funds allow complete and open access to auditing how the funds are used and accounted for.

The Auditor’s office must review and evaluate all aspects from the procedures to ensure fair admissions, validating the tracking and reporting of results, confirming the achievement of performance criteria per statutes and contracts (e.g., attendance, instruction time) and examining the billing/documentation for accurate and proper invoicing/requests for funds to cover expenditures.
In my professional career I have experience in managing a large number of employees (184), geographically dispersed locations (e.g., Cincinnati, Bellevue Wa., Chicago, McLean Va.), risk assessment, resource allocation, open communications, trust, and negotiation skills (approx. 40% of financial audits are contracted out to independent public accounting firms). This executive management experience, coupled with my CPA and auditing credentials, demonstrate my qualifications for the job.
1. Independence of the Auditor’s Office - The role of the Auditor of State is the constitutional officer responsible for ensuring financial integrity and compliance with respect to financial and operational performance of State entities. This role works to ensure Public Accountability and is a key part of the checks and balances within the State Government.

I bring a career of professional accountant/auditor experience, integrity, independence and objectivity to the Auditor of State office. Neither major party can bring this experience and independence. They are too involved for too long with major influences to be able to claim true independence or objectivity. They need only to have the appearance of conflicts of interest to seriously impair the taxpayers’ view their independence and objectivity.

2. Gerrymandering - My non-partisan approach as the Auditor of State will bring independence and objectivity to redistricting process for Congressional and State legislative districts.

I will apply the criteria defined in the constitutional amendment to achieve community-centric voting districts that are not based on historic partisan voting results and tendencies. Population and location information will be used to develop the district maps. Voting results data (e.g., precinct level results by party designation) will not be a criterion for determining the district boundaries, in order to eliminate gerrymandering and its impact on future election results. Legislators must not select their voters. The voters should select their legislators.

3. Current compliance issues – There are several current issues that require on-going investigation and follow-up, such as community school audits, Medicaid payments to middle-men, and marijuana licensing of growers, producers, and dispensers.
I am the only Auditor of State candidate with professional Accounting/Auditing experience as a CPA and Certified Internal Auditor (inactive). My MBA from Xavier was earned via night and weekend classes. I was able to get my Princeton undergraduate degree with a combination of scholarships, loans and campus/summer jobs. I worked my way up to VP of Accounting and VP of Internal Audit at Cincinnati Bell.

I am running because Ohio voters and taxpayers should not have to tolerate the obvious partisan back and forth between the major parties, as exemplified by the ECOT case. Influence from outside factors on both the Republican and Democrat sides are at play, impairing their independence and objectivity.

I am not a career politician. I will not use the office of Auditor of State as a stepping-stone to other offices such as Governor, Senator, U.S. Representative or Ohio Legislator. I will be 100% focused on the Auditor of State job for 100% of my time in office.
Experience Practicing attorney, handling complex financial litigation and mediation Former State Senator and President of Ohio Senate Current State Representative
Education Oakland University, BA The Ohio State University, JD
My entire legislative career has focused on making state government more efficient, effective, and transparent. I was a part of the Senate leadership that worked with Governor Kasich to cut taxes by almost $5 billion. I drafted the Common Sense Initiative that has dramatically reduced new regulations. I worked on the budgets that took us from an $8 billion deficit to an $8 billion surplus and that has taken our rainy day fund from $0.89 to $2.7 Billion. Ohio is doing better but better is still not good enough.

I’m running for Auditor now because it is the one office responsible for oversight in state government and protecting the taxpayers. An Auditor that wants to see government work quicker, better, and cheaper for the taxpayers has tremendous power to whip government into shape. That is what I plan to do.

JobsOhio was specifically created as a non-governmental non-profit entity. Historically, the Auditor only has authority over governmental entities and government money. The Auditor doesn’t audit individuals or business unless they spend government money.

Under the current law, the Auditor has the authority to fully audit the liquor business of JobsOhio since they are dealing with taxpayer dollars. It’s vitally important that taxpayers get transparency and that we work to ensure that taxpayer money is being spent in a way that achieves the mission of JobsOhio that is why I supported and voted for recent legislation that provided the Auditor authority to perform a full Performance Audit of JobsOhio.

I have and will certainly continue to encourage the leaders of JobsOhio to be more transparent with taxpayers about how their money is being spent and the results that we have to show for it.

If JobsOhio continues to operate under a shroud of secrecy and not provide additional transparency, I will support additional audit authority regarding Jobs Ohio. As Auditor, I will fully and completely audit any entity as directed by the Constitution or law.
Every public school in Ohio - traditional, charter; brick and mortar, and online - is already audited by the Auditor of State in accordance with the standards put forth by the Ohio Department of Education. I will use this authority to ensure that all public schools are complying with state law and that children are receiving a quality education that sets them on a path to success. As Senate President, I fought for and passed stricter charter school accountability and as a state representative I have fought for reforms that would allow the Auditor and the Ohio Department of Education to receive real time access to participation data and other factors that are related to funding for online schools.

An issue that has been raised by online schools is how to measure if children are actually receiving a quality education. I have advocated for a system of school funding that awards monies based on performance. This system would help to ensure that children in every public school in Ohio is receiving a quality education.
I have been in State Government - I know how it works. State Government is much different than Congress or the private sector. My first hand experience with administrative agencies has shown me how they operate. I won’t need to get up to speed on where the opportunities are to make government work better for taxpayers.

My experience and knowledge of State Government coupled with my personal professional background as a practicing lawyer handling complex financial matters make me uniquely qualified to hit the ground running on day one. My ability to do the job on day one was one of the key factors cited by the Ohio Association of CPA’s and the last four Auditors of State when they each endorsed me in the race.

When I am Auditor, I will use my knowledge of State Government and the power of performance audits to aggressively root our waste, fraud, and abuse in our state agencies and return money to the pockets of taxpayers.

As Auditor, I will use every tool to restore trust in Ohio government by ensuring your tax dollars are spent responsibly and by catching those involved in government who are lying, cheating or stealing.
Jobs and the Economy - As Auditor I will use the power of performance audits to aggressively root out inefficient, ineffective state government, saving taxpayers dollars and increasing the business friendliness of Ohio. The performance audit of state agencies is relatively new, but in the short while Dave Yost has used it, he has found more than $100 million in savings for Ohioans. Making state government efficient means saving taxpayers’ money. That is money that can be redirected toward education, combating the opioid epidemic, assisting local governments, or returning to the people through tax cuts. Ohio is doing better, but better is still not good enough, our kids and grandchildren deserve more.

Healthcare - Ohio has been ground zero for the opioid epidemic. We have spent millions combatting the crisis, but we do not have proof if our efforts are working. I want to use performance audits to measure our response to the opioid epidemic and see if we are effectively combating it - if not, I will encourage the legislature to explore new methods of curtailing this disease plaguing our communities. I also will aggressively pursue waste, fraud, and abuse in medicaid to ensure that Ohio is able to keep its promises to those using the system to acquire healthcare.

Education - As Senate President, I increased funding for K-12 education by nearly $1.5 billion and I issued the 5% Challenge to public institutions of higher education in Ohio that resulted in an average 11.7% reduction in the cost of a college degree in Ohio. As Auditor, I will build on that work to decrease the cost of college tuition and to make college more affordable so that every child can have the opportunity to fulfill their God given potential. I will conduct performance audits on institutions of higher education to find efficiencies and to cut waste allowing universities to bring down the cost of a degree.

I am running for Auditor of State to hold government accountable to Bob and Betty Buckeye. This is a partisan election, but it is not a partisan office. The Auditor wears the jersey of the umpire, calling balls and strikes impartially. When a Republican screws up you condemn him, when a Democrat does well you commend her. I am not running to be a super legislator, I am running to execute the laws set by the state legislature and to be a watchdog over state government and your tax dollars.

Experience City of Dover, OH Law Director: 2001-2006 United States Congressman, Ohio's 18th District: 2007-2011
Education BA, Political Science, Kenyon College (1983) JD, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (1986)
I believe the corrupting influences of money in politics and of political greed, best exemplified by extreme partisan gerrymandering, are grave threats to our democracy. The Auditor of State is uniquely positioned to tackle these two nefarious influences and to restore faith and confidence in the institution of government.

As Auditor, I will be a dynamic and independent watchdog of elected officials in the General Assembly and all across Ohio. I will use my position on the Redistricting Commission to create as many fair and competitive legislative districts as possible when new maps are drawn in 2021. I will fulfill the traditional duties of the Auditor’s office, with an eye towards proactive and holistic reviews of state departments and agencies.
Yes. JobsOhio uses public monies to conduct economic development, and while discretion and privacy can be necessary during competitive negotiations, taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent.
Online and charter schools must be held to the same standards as traditional public schools.

ECOT and other for-profit charter schools have perpetrated the biggest political scandal in Ohio history against students and taxpayers. They were aided and abetted by politicians -- such as my opponent Keith Faber -- whose loyalty was purchased with campaign contributions.

I have announced plans for the creation of a Special Audit unit to investigate attendance data provided to the State by for-profit charter schools. Ohioans deserve to know how much they were overbilled by these schools. I will also shine a light on political contributions made by business executives whose management companies are the main recipients of the taxpayer dollars allocated to charter schools.
I have managed teams in business environments, as a managing partner of a law firm and real estate developer.

While serving in Congress, I oversaw several district offices across my largely rural 16-county district. These district offices received an incredible volume of constituent correspondence (via phone calls, mail, and email), and solved countless issues that constituents of mine had with Federal agencies or programs such as the Veterans Administration, Social Security, and Medicare.

I know how the Auditor’s office works with local, state, and Federal government, and I’m confident that by recruiting and maintaining a diverse, experienced staff, my administration will successfully conduct both traditional and dynamic audits.
I believe that the corrupting influences of money in politics and extreme partisan gerrymandering are preventing Ohio government from acting honestly, transparently, and rationally. Our state government, which has essentially institutionalized corruption, is not effectively solving our biggest problems, which I consider to be: the opioid epidemic, a crisis in public education resulting from an unconstitutional schools funding method and the bilking of taxpayers by for-profit charter schools, and the rising costs of healthcare.

As Auditor, I won’t be able to directly impact public policy, but I can use my influence to urge lawmakers to act in the interests of their constituents, instead of in the interests of wealthy donors and corporations. The Auditor can also conduct Performance Audits to holistically evaluate public entities such as the Department of Medicaid in order to make wholesale recommendations. I will use these powers to evaluate the significant issues listed above, and more, while also rooting out the systemic flaws in our political process.
I’m running for Auditor of State to restore fundamental faith and confidence, which has been lost, in the institution of government. Too many Ohioans believe their voices and their votes don’t matter, and have therefore turned away from the political process. Ohio government is failing to provide social justice for its people, and I contend that the influence of money and political greed in this process have exacerbated these existing failures. It’s time we fixed this broken process and restored Ohioans’ faith in their government.