Ohio Attorney General faces legal action after Eye on Ohio story

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Columbus— A new complaint before the Ohio Elections Commission alleges that the Ohio Attorney General’s practice of hiring debt subcontractors violates state law.

J. Whitfield Larrabee, a left-leaning activist, filed the complaint Thursday, citing a recent article by the Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism as exhibit A. The article noted that under current Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine, and his Democratic predecessor Richard Cordray, large campaign contributors were much more likely to get large collections contracts. Both DeWine and Cordray are currently running for governor.

Larrabee alleged, in his 27-page brief, that “DeWine’s scheme to economically coerce contractors to make campaign contributions amounts to extortion, fraud and racketeering in violation of Ohio and federal law.”

DeWine’s campaign spokesman, Joshua Eck, said in response: “This is nothing more than political grandstanding by a Massachusetts liberal. This complaint is frivolous and will go nowhere.”

Larrabee practices employment and health law from his suburban Boston office. He first made headlines in 2016 when he filed a complaint against President Donald Trump and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. That case was later dismissed. Larrabee filed a complaint against Trump again in January 2017, alleging numerous conflicts of interest due to the president’s ownership and operation of a Trump International Hotel in a federally-owned building.

By law, the attorney general’s office has 21 days to respond to the complaint. The next meeting of the Ohio Elections Commission is Aug. 23 at 10 a.m.

Maddie Capron and Becca King contributed to this report.

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