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Monday, May 18, 2009

Pursue Probe Of Corruption

Pursue Probe Of Corruption
EDITORIAL By The Intelligencer - May 18, 2009 

WHEELING, WV - Some people grow tired of reading ongoing coverage of scandals in government. After the initial outrage they feel on learning about a corrupt public official, they tend to want to move on. Occasionally it is the same with law enforcement officials, who sometimes just want to wrap up cases and also move on. Fortunately that has not been the case in regard to the scandal(s) that drove former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann from office a year ago. State officials have been dogged in their investigation of what, if allegations are to be believed, was a school for corruption in the attorney general's office. Last week one of Dann's former top aides, Anthony Gutierrez, was indicted in Columbus on 10 charges, including six felonies. Prosecutors say Gutierrez, who had been Dann's head of general services, was guilty of various misdeeds.

They range from theft in office to using a state computer system to transmit fraudulent workers' compensation documents for the construction business he owned. The charges are not related to others, that Gutierrez sexually harassed two women in the attorney general's office. The indictments came a year after Dann was kicked out as attorney general - and after many, many revelations of misdeeds in his office. It is important that Ohioans know just how bad the situation was in Dann's office. Again, an outrageous number and range of corrupt activities seem to have been going on in the state's top law enforcement agency. In announcing indictments against Gutierrez, Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Ron O'Brien said his office continues to look into activities in Dann's office. "This does not conclude the investigation," he stressed. Good. It is important for Buckeye State residents to understand the depth of abuse of power that was occurring in the attorney general's office - simply to put them on guard against similar crimes and criminals in the future.

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