Dann should say sorry, and mean it

On the side

AG’s update: Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will speak Tuesday at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s Government Affairs Council meeting at Ciminero’s Banquet Centre, 123 N. Main St. in Niles. Registration and lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. with DeWine speaking about various initiatives at his office at noon.

Deadline: Thursday is the deadline to apply to the Mahoning County Republican Party to succeed Judge Robert A. Douglas Jr. of Youngstown Municipal Court, who is retiring Aug. 1. A screening committee will review the applications, interview candidates and recommend three finalists to Gov. John Kasich.

The person selected will serve the rest of Judge Douglas’ term, which ends Dec. 31, 2013.

Biden’s snub: For those who haven’t read it yet, Politico wrote an article about my column last week. The link is: http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/05/ohio-paper-biden-snubs-getting-old-123859.html

It’s been four years since Marc Dann resigned in disgrace as Ohio attorney general.

But Dann, a Democrat formerly of Liberty, is still making news for what he did during his brief 16-month term as attorney general.

Dann says he’s taken blame for the problems that led to his downfall and disgrace.

That includes an inability to properly manage and run the office (Dann has said he didn’t expect to win his 2006 election for the job), an extramarital affair that resulted in his divorce, and a guilty plea to a misdemeanor ethics conviction for filing a false financial-disclosure statement.

Ethics conviction

He also didn’t fight a second misdemeanor ethics conviction for providing $42,178 in improper compensation to two state employees from his campaign and transition accounts.

But to others, Dann doesn’t appear to be completely remorseful.

Dann, who now runs a small law practice in the Cleveland area, is in the process of being sanctioned by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Dann and his attorney had worked out a tentative deal on Oct. 23 for the former attorney general to receive a six-month stayed suspension of his license that would have allowed him to still practice law.


The only formality was a Nov. 3 hearing in front of three members of the Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline.

All Dann had to do was be sorry and take full responsibility, and the deal would likely have been approved.

But the court’s disciplinary counsel said Dann tried to minimize what he did at that hearing, and recommended a 12-month stayed suspension.

The three-member panel agreed Dann didn’t take enough responsibility.

The full 28-member discipline board went a step farther, recommending Dann’s law license be suspended for six months.

The disciplinary counsel supports the suspension, writing that Dann’s “inability to accept complete responsibility for his misdeeds while serving as Ohio’s attorney general” is the reason for the stiffer penalty.

“Despite stating that he accepted full responsibility, [Dann] tried to minimize his involvement,” according to the disciplinary counsel.

Decision pending

The Supreme Court heard arguments on the proposed suspension last month. A decision should come in the next two to five months.

Just last week, the 10th District Court of Appeals rejected an effort by Dann to overturn a decision by the Ohio Elections Commission that he and his former campaign treasurer improperly used $40,610 in campaign funds for a security system at his former house.

The only discipline the elections commission gave Dann was a $1,000 fine and a public reprimand.

Even so, he appealed that decision to a Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge. When the judge agreed with the commission, Dann went to the court of appeals.

Not letting go

But rather than letting it go after the court of appeals agreed with the common pleas court judge, Dann plans to ask the court to reconsider its decision.

In a recent article for Politico, a political website, about what’s happened to politicians after sex scandals, Dann said he’s “moved on in my life. Every once in a while it’s come back to haunt us.”

He added that “the media remains very hostile.”

Perhaps if he accepted full responsibility for his actions, Dann could really move on with his life.

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