SHEFFIELD TWP. — Sharon Sweda thinks state Rep. Nathan Manning, R-North Ridgeville, needs to answer questions about his involvement with former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and trips they took to Europe.
Sweda, who could face Manning in the November general election for the Ohio Senate 13th District, held a news conference at her Sheffield Township office Wednesday along with Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper.
“Today is about the questions I have as a citizen in this district, as well as the questions I’m hearing when I’m out with my friends and neighbors and all of the other people who are wondering the same things,” Sweda said. “We’re wondering why we’re not hearing from Nathan Manning with answers to questions that we have.”
Pepper said the events that have taken place over the past few weeks in Columbus are what happen with the combination of “one-party rule and a pay-to-play culture.”
“It kind of builds and builds and at some point the wheels kind of come off,” Pepper said. “It becomes obvious that it’s broken. That happened about 12 years ago with what became famous as Coingate. That’s happening again in Columbus.”
Coingate refers to the scandal that erupted after the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation put money into investments led by large donors of Republican candidates in the early 2000s, including a $50 million rare-coin fund. The fallout included convictions for multiple people, including former Gov. Bob Taft and coin collector Tom Noe, who was accused of corruption in his handling of the bureau’s investment. Prosecutors said Noe used state money to support a lavish lifestyle, including renovations at his Florida home.
Earlier this month Rosenberger announced he was resigning from office amid talk of an FBI investigation into his activities. The FBI declined to confirm or deny if Rosenberger was being investigated.
The former speaker, a term-limited Republican from Clarksville, had been criticized for his lavish lifestyle, which includes traveling around the world and staying in a luxury downtown Columbus condo owned by a wealthy Republican donor.
“Rosenberger is the most recent one to resign, but there have been numerous resignations over the last six months for all sorts of things, but the ties go beyond Rosenberger,” Pepper said. “I think the Republican Party would like his resignation to be the end of it, but I think his resignation just begins the questions.”
Manning will face Ryan Sawyer, of Norwalk, in the Republican primary election May 8. Sweda is running unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face the winner of the Republican primary in November.
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