WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Ohio's Marc Dann is the nation's only state attorney general with a dedicated lobbyist in Washington, it was reported Monday.
Craig Mehall, the Democrat's former campaign aide, is paid $98,000 a year to keep congressional money flowing to the Buckeye State's attorney general's office, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
"I believe that in the end, my being here is justified," said Mehall, who worked briefly as Dann's deputy chief of policy in Columbus before moving to the District.
Before joining the Attorney General's staff, Mehall, 40, worked in his family's farm business in Ashtabula County and for a high-tech communications company in Chicago following graduation from law school at Michigan State University.
"Marc is trying to do something that no one else is doing, to try to knock on doors and open things up," said Robert Cornwall, executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association.
But with no Beltway experience, Mehall has fumbled not just a few times, the newspaper reported, and at least one of the AG's closest advisers expressed initial concern over Mehall working on behalf of the office in Washington.
"I would like you to lay down the law with him. I worry about him having to self-manage himself with no experience," Dann's senior legislative aide, Greg Beswick, wrote to Dann in an e-mail cited by the Plain Dealer.
Beswick recently told the newspaper that Mehall has contributed to the office, citing the $5.8 million competitive Justice Department grant awarded in October to Cleveland and other northern Ohio communities to fight violent crime.
"The amount of money we get back justifies the expenditure," he said.
From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.