Republican candidates on this fall’s ballot are moving to distance themselves from the founder of what was the state’s largest online charter schoo, following a state audit that could result in criminal charges and reports of an FBI investigation for illegal campaign contributions.
After he announced that he was turning his audit of the now-closed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow over to prosecutors, Auditor and Attorney General candidate Dave Yost said he’s donating to charity more than $29,000 in contributions from ECOT founder Bill Lager. Rep. Keith Faber, who’s running to replace Yost, says he’ll give away the $36,000 in ECOT money he’s received over 15 years. And Attorney General and candidate for governor Mike DeWine will donate the more than $12,000 he received. Bill Lager has made political contributions of at least $2.1 million since he founded ECOT in 2000. Overwhelmingly that money went to Republican candidates, the party and its campaign committees, but Lager has given tens of thousands to the Ohio Democratic Party and much smaller donations to individual candidates.