Denis Smith oversaw charter schools when he worked for the Ohio Department of Education. Since he retired, he has documented the numerous instances of corruption that have gone uninvestigated.

The recent collapse of ECOT (Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow), which died while owing the state many millions of dollars for inflated enrollments garnered media attention. But the media ignored the numerous times that legislators accepted expensive gifts of foreign travel paid for by the Gulen charter chain.

Cliff Rosenberger, the powerful Speaker of the House, recently resigned because he had accepted junkets from the payday lending industry.

“Before he left on the series of overseas junkets to China, France, and the UK that sealed his doom, Rosenberger pocketed $36,843 in campaign contributions from ECOT and its founder, William Lager. In 2016, the former speaker served as the commencement speaker for the now-closed charter school in the midst of the Ohio Department of Education audit controversy which ultimately brought down the ECOT empire.

“While all of the current attention about Rosenberger seems to focus on payday lending and foreign travel, there has been zero commentary about a previous all-expense foreign junket the former speaker and several of his fellow Republican legislative colleagues enjoyed just prior to his election as leader of the Ohio House.”

Why is the press alert to the sins of the payday lending lobbyists, but indifferent to the depredations of the charter industry?

Bill Phillis of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy read Denis Smith’s article and posed these questions:

“The Speaker of the House resigned under a dark cloud precipitated by overseas junkets funded by the payday lender lobby. So why didn’t the Speaker resign after taking a trip to Turkey funded by the Gulen Islamic charter school lobby? Would the Turkey junket have had influence on the fortunes of the Gulen charter industry?

“But there is more, ECOT provided the former Speaker with $36,843 in campaign contributions plus commencement speaker perks. Would these “benefits” have had an influence on the way the former Speaker handled charter legislation?

“If the Speaker resigned due to payday lender lobby-funded trips, should there not be an investigation of those who have been fed a steady diet of ECOT campaign funds? These funds were laundered from tax money that should have been used for the education of students?”