Ohio Republicans Trying to Impeach Republican Governor

Another sign of the dissent of the GOP into madness.

ABC Action 13 News (“Articles of Impeachment officially filed against Gov. DeWine“):

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) – A total of 12 Articles of Impeachment have officially been filed against Gov. Mike DeWine. Those articles were filed by State Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township) and were joined by Representatives Keller, Vitale, and Zeltwanger.

The representatives argue that the governor has abused his power during the coronavirus pandemic and cites his veto of Senate Bill 55, along with threatened vetoes against other General Assembly legislation, including Senate Bill 311, which aims to severely limit the powers of the governor during a pandemic.

In a release sent to the media, Rep. Becker’s office said, “Governor DeWine’s mismanagement, malfeasance, misfeasance, abuse of power, and other crimes include, but are not limited to, meddling in the conduct of a presidential primary election, arbitrarily closing and placing curfews on certain businesses, while allowing other businesses to remain open. He weaponized the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to bully and harass businesses and the people; to enforce a statewide mask mandate and other controversial measures of dubious “value,” making Ohio a hostile work environment.”

The statement goes on to mention the governor’s inclusion of places of worship during shutdown orders and the mask mandate which has been in effect in one state or another since the summer.

“Rather than hearing the cries of Ohioans, Governor DeWine continues to stifle those cries by finding more inventive ways to use masks to muffle the voices of the people,” said Representative Becker in the statement. “He continues to have callous disregard for the fact that his isolation policies have led to a shockingly high number of suicides, alarming rates of drug abuse, persistently high unemployment, and the forced abandonment of the elderly by their loved ones.”

One presumes this is going nowhere. But it’s simply insane that four Republican representatives are trying to impeach a conservative Republican governor for doing his job. Literally criminalizing political disputes.

I’m neither a lawyer nor even an amateur observer of Ohio law, so have no strong opinion on whether DeWine has the authority under the Buckeye State’s constitution to order business closures and the like.

But, certainly, vetoing bills trying to curb his power is well within his authority! Including those actions in the list of criminal charges against him is laughable.

The “meddling in the conduct of a presidential primary election” charge refers to his decision to close the polls rather than allowing voting in the middle of a pandemic—literally at the point where most states were ordering lockdowns, shuttering schools, and the like. It’s not obvious why these four Republicans would care, though, since Trump was all-but-unopposed in their contest. The primary was ultimately held five weeks later; Biden won in a landslide. (Trump carried all 82 of the state’s delegates, with Bill Weld and Joe Walsh getting 0.)

As to “arbitrarily closing and placing curfews on certain businesses, while allowing other businesses to remain open,” that was the practice in, so far as I know, all 50 states and many foreign countries. Absent evidence that he was acting nefariously (say, taking bribes from some business lobbies to remain open while closing competitors) I’m hard-pressed to see how it could possibly be impeachable.

And those are the least insane parts of the decree.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. SC_Birdflyte says:

    They’re doing their damndest to commit suicide.

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  2. Jen says:

    Same thing happening here in New Hampshire.

    Seven GOP conservatives seek impeachment probe of Sununu

    It’s alarming what Republicans have become.

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  3. Moosebreath says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    “They’re doing their damndest to commit suicide.”

    I wouldn’t object, except they are trying to take the rest of us with them.

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  4. Jon says:

    … criminalizing political disputes …

    Impeachment is a political process, not a criminal one. That doesn’t make this any less ridiculous overall, but it does keep it all within the realm of a political dispute. If the folks filing these charges really believed what they’re claiming they should have filed criminal charges; to the best of my knowledge no governors get the same leeway the president gets vis-a-vis protection from being prosecuted for crimes while in office.

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  5. drj says:

    Predictably, some Republican voters in Georgia are turning on the party

    Purdue and Loeffler are obviously RINOs, so why vote for them?

    I’d need a cigarette afterwards if this ends up biting McConnell (and the rest of the GOP establishment) in the ass.

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  6. Kathy says:

    Now, you cannot have a proper Terror without a Committee of Public Safety, can you.

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  7. James Joyner says:

    @Jon:

    Impeachment is a political process, not a criminal one.

    It’s both. While, as with the Federal level, the House ultimately decides what’s impeachable, it’s rather clearly intended to be applied only to criminal acts, not mere disputes over public policy:

    The governor, judges, and all state officers, may be impeached for any misdemeanor in office; but judgment shall not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office under the authority of this state. [emphasis mine]

    If the folks filing these charges really believed what they’re claiming they should have filed criminal charges; to the best of my knowledge no governors get the same leeway the president gets vis-a-vis protection from being prosecuted for crimes while in office.

    Right. Here’s the next sentence in the Ohio Constitution:

    The party impeached, whether convicted or not, shall be liable to indictment, trial, and judgment, according to law.

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  8. CSK says:

    James, it’s a clever pun if you meant “dissent” for “descent” in the sub-head.

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  9. Jon says:

    @James Joyner:

    The governor, judges, and all state officers, may be impeached for any misdemeanor in office; but judgment shall not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office under the authority of this state.

    But that’s just like federal impeachment; the punishment is removal from office, and *only* removal from office and a ban on holding office in the future. Federal impeachment is also for ‘Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”’.

    The party impeached, whether convicted or not, shall be liable to indictment, trial, and judgment, according to law.

    And that just means that double jeopardy won’t attach, such that subsequent criminal or civil procedures can follow impeachment.

    Sorry for being pedantic, I must have slept funny 😉

    ETA: My larger point is that these legislators picked impeachment rather than criminal charges for a reason. They’d get laughed out of a courtroom if they tried that, so they’re intentionally keeping it in the political realm where they can make a show out of it.

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  10. gVOR08 says:

    As an ex-resident of Ohio I almost feel sympathy for DeWine. Almost. He was happy to ride the GOP base into the governorship. May one hope all this presages a breakup of the Republican Party?

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  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    @gVOR08:

    If (insert the name of your favorite turmp here) seeks the R 24 pres nomination and fail to secure it, there is a fair chance of them launching an independent bid. Particularly if it is the soon to be ex-occupant.

    We will cheer he/she on.

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  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    Republicans are literally fighting for the right to die in order to show loyalty to Trump. They’re attacking their own fellow Republicans for trying to stop them killing themselves.

    Relax, this is nothing but normal partisanship.

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  13. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Lincoln Project activist Rick Wilson likes to use the phrase “You bought the ticket, you take the ride.” Republicans are now paying the price for putting up with the ammoral grifters, ignorant yahoos and flat-out nutbars who are an increasingly important part of their base. I’m pretty sure every one of these state GOPpers would have not believed you a year ago if you told them they’d face this kind of thing today.

    And yet, here we – or rather, they – are.

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  14. Kathy says:

    You know, four years ago many Republicans claimed if you voted for Clinton, the GOP would fracture and have a civil war.

    Man, they were so right.

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  15. DeD says:

    @CSK:

    James, it’s a clever pun if you meant “dissent” for “descent” in the sub-head.

    I, too, am wondering if James did that deliberately, or if it was just a malapropism. Either way, it’s a great sub header.

    PS: @James: That DefOne article was on point. I also hope he selects Flournoy.

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  16. steve says:

    These guys are making sure they dont get challenged in their next primary. They are demonstrating that they are true believers.

    Steve

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  17. Kathy says:

    I’m stumped why Minimus trump is fixated on Georgia and Arizona. Yes, the vote difference is smallest in those states, but they both have Republican governments. They are unlikely to try to cheat their own party.

    But even if he could steal them, he’d only get an additional 27 EVs, bringing his grand total up to 259 EV, 11 short of the magic 270 he needs.

    He also quite clearly doesn’t understand career professionals. They ran the elections. they spent years setting them up. They are responsible for conducting them fairly. they are not going to take kindly to implications, or outright accusations, they did a poor job or a criminal one.

    The, too, if you want an athlete to take a dive so you can win a bet, you approach them before the event. You don’t bully them to admit they cheated after they won the medal or the championship.

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  18. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kathy:

    You didn’t see the news? Our friend Donald’s “legal team” has now filed yet another suit with the Wisconsin Supreme Court seeking to have some 221,000 ballots tossed. That it has gotten to this pathetic point speaks to the lunacy of this administration – and that of its acolytes.

    All I will say on the matter is that it’s good that I’m not sitting on the bench. This clown car of vexatious and frivolous litigation would have resulted in sanctions & disciplinary complaints raining down like snowflakes in Chicago. I have patience for many things, but sh*tty lawyering isn’t one of them.

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  19. Kathy says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You know, given the deafening silence on the part of the GOP over this matter, the next time they claim not to want to disenfranchise anyone, the only appropriate reaction is a mocking laugh.

    The whole Trump pointless legal adventure reminds me of a scene in “Liar, Liar,” where Jim Carrey objects to some testimony. The judge asks him on what grounds he objects, and he answers, truthfully, “Because it’s devastating to my case!”

    The whole unstated argument, and the truth, is that Cheeto the First thinks reelection is his due, and how dare a majority of voters deny him.

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  20. Mike in Arlington says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I’ve kinda gotten the impression that the judges’ patience is quickly wearing out and after that happens, well, all I can say is that I hope that we have video.

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  21. Blue Galangal says:

    @Mike in Arlington: Apparently the Kraken thinks Detroit is in Wisconsin. She asked to review the tapes from the TCF Center in the Wisconsin lawsuit.

    I mean, are they just trying to fill in every stereotype of the coastal elites who don’t know there’s a difference between Ohio and Iowa and Michigan and Minnesota – and Wisconsin?

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  22. Jen says:

    @Kathy:

    I’m stumped why Minimus trump is fixated on Georgia and Arizona. Yes, the vote difference is smallest in those states, but they both have Republican governments. They are unlikely to try to cheat their own party.

    He expects them to cheat FOR him. In other words, it’s precisely because they have Republican governors that he’s fixating on them. The other three states (WI, MI, and PA) all have Democratic governors, I believe.

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  23. Jax says:

    @Jen: He’s also dog-whistling the Republican state legislators in all these states. He really thinks they’ll throw the election and send in new electors to the Electoral College.

    It would be interesting to see how many of those state legislators suddenly have fat bank accounts. And he’s got 150 million in new “campaign” cash to throw around.

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  24. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    That makes a kind of twisted sense.

    I hope no election cases make it to the Supreme Court. it would be beneath the dignity of that institution to review cases where the plaintiffs offered no evidence and only weak arguments, which boil down to “NO FAIR!” as screamed like only a five year old spoiled brat can.

    But if one does, and is shot down, I can’t wait to see what El Cheeto has to say of his handpicked Justices.

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