Settlement with Dann irks some

By Marc Kovac

The fallout over Marc Dann’s term as attorney general continues.

COLUMBUS — A state Senate committee postponed consideration of two appointments to the Ohio Elections Commission following that panel’s recent approval of a settlement with former Attorney General Marc Dann.

Sen. Tim Grendell, a Republican from Chesterland, called the $1,000 fine and no criminal referral against Dann a “slap on the wrist” and asked the chairman of the state and local government committee for an opportunity to question commission appointees.

Earlier this year, Gov. Ted Strickland named former state Rep. Larry Wolpert, a Republican from the Columbus area, and Danielle Blue, an attorney from Columbus, to the elections commission.

Lawmakers technically must give final approval to the appointments, but Wolpert and Blue already have assumed their commission seats, and both voted in affirmation of the settlement with Dann last week.

Sen. Jim Hughes, a Republican from Columbus and chairman of the state and local government committee, agreed to contact Wolpert and Blue and postpone a decision on the appointments.

Dann and the state inspector general reached a settlement over claims that the former attorney general used campaign contributions for personal expenses or directed them to family and friends.

Dann admitted he used campaign funds to pay for travel for his family, but he did so without knowing the action was illegal or intending to break the law. He subsequently refunded about $2,000 to cover those costs.

All other claims made by the inspector general in an investigation report released late last year were dismissed, and no criminal charges will be pursued by elections officials.