Ohio candidate calls for FBI-style checks on AG staff

Chris Rizo Oct. 25, 2008, 2:42pm

Mike Crites (R)

Marc Dann (D)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-Senior members of the Ohio attorney general's staff should undergo comprehensive background checks, said the Republican running for the seat.

Mike Crites, a former U.S. attorney, said this week that if elected he would institute FBI-style background checks for people within his administration.

The move, he said, would be part of an effort to bolster public confidence in an agency that has been shaken by controversies surrounding former Democratic Attorney General Marc Dann, who resigned in May.

Crites echoed concerns by Dann's 2006 primary opponent, Subodh Chandra, that Dann would have failed the FBI background check to become an entry-level federal prosecutor because of his 2004 reprimand by the Ohio Supreme Court for his handling of an alimony case in 2002.

"Marc Dann's short tenure as attorney general was marked with missteps and scandal, including a number of questionable hires early on in his administration," Crites said. "Ohio voters should be confident that their next attorney general and his top advisers have both the qualifications and the appropriate background to serve in such an important office."

Crites said Dann's pick to serve as interim superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation had troubles as the former chief of police in Howland Township, where his evidence room was not properly maintained and many of his policies were deemed inadequate by the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police.

He also noted that in May 2007, Dann fired an aide who coordinated his security details and served as his driver after a background check uncovered that he served time in prison for manslaughter.

"Ohioans are still recovering from the parade of incompetence and corruption that began on day one of the Marc Dann administration," Crites said. "By implementing the same kind of background checks that are required of our U.S. Attorneys, we will assure Ohio taxpayers that the Attorney General's office is being lead by men and women of high quality and character."

Also vying to complete the two years remaining on Dann's term are Democrat Richard Cordray, the state treasurer; and independent Robert Owens.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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