Today, the five Republican plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against Ohio Republican Party (ORP) Chairman Robert Paduchik celebrated a victory at last Friday’s ORP meeting. Shedding light on Paduchik’s more than $3 million in missing funds, without adequate explanation, the meeting outlined immediate, tangible steps for reform to move the Republican Party forward. Reform is only possible because of the lawsuit filed last week, culminating the persistent efforts of five Republicans who fought for accountability and faced retaliation over it.
At Friday’s meeting, Paduchik acknowledged that a forensic audit of ORP financial statements would be conducted by an unnamed CPA firm for each of the four years beginning January 2017 and ending December 2020. He also admitted that his removal of the five plaintiffs from their respective subcommittees amounted to a retaliatory action, after the plaintiffs questioned Paduchik’s financial mismanagement. As a result of the lawsuit, the ORP finally held an open discussion of Paduchik’s violations of party bylaws, due to the inappropriate campaign donations and in-kind contributions to unendorsed candidates such as Governor Mike DeWine.
Looking ahead, the Republican plaintiffs’ fight is far from over. Paduchik improperly terminated Friday’s meeting without a two-thirds vote of party membership, failing to introduce two motions that expose conflicts of interests related to State Central Committee (SCC) members. One motion revealed the names of 14 SCC members with conflicts involving Governor DeWine:
“Because of Republicans who believe in accountability, our party is one step closer to reform, but this is only the beginning,” said Laura Rosenberger, one of the plaintiffs. “Paduchik has a long list of questions to answer about the Ohio Republican Party’s finances and his toxic culture of retaliation, and we won’t rest until he answers them. Ohio Republicans deserve a leader who is accountable to them, and Paduchik is not that leader. His time is running out. Change is coming.”