COLUMBUS - House Democrats filed articles of impeachment Tuesday against scandal-scarred Attorney General Marc Dann, seeking the fellow Democrat’s removal for allegations including gross neglect of his duties.
Impeaching Dann, which would require a Senate trial and Republican support, would be historic because Ohio has not used the process since 1820. The last time someone was impeached and convicted in Ohio was 1808.
The Democrats’ resolution outlines nine counts of why Dann should be impeached, including allegations of gross immorality and obstruction of his office’s investigation that found an employee was sexually harassed by a top aide.
Dann admitted May 2 an extramarital affair with an employee that he said contributed to an atmosphere leading to the sexual harassment claims. Three aides were forced out in the harassment investigation that showed management encouraged a casual work environment with frequent profanity and inappropriate interactions with subordinates.
Dann has refused resignation requests from leaders in both parties, including Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.
“The Attorney General has said that he does not believe there are grounds for impeachment, and he will continue to do the job that he was elected to do,” his spokesman Jason Stanford said in a written statement.
On Saturday, the Ohio Democratic Party took an unprecedented step for the organization by stripping Dann of his endorsement, saying he can consider himself a Democrat but that the party would work against him if he seeks re-election.
The impeachment articles must get backing from Republicans who control the Legislature in order to send the charges to the Senate for a trial.
The Democrats’ resolution, researched by three lawmakers, also accused Dann of making misleading statements under oath and said he should have known his actions created a hostile work environment.
Dann neglected his duty by “...undermining the integrity of his office; bringing disrepute upon the office; betraying the public trust as Ohio’s chief law enforcement officer...,” a statement from the Democrats said.
“We promised the people of Ohio to end a culture of corruption that existed in the past, and we are fulfilling that promise by cleaning our own house when events and circumstances warrant,” the three lawmakers who researched the articles said in the statement.
The governor and Dann were among many Ohio Democrats swept into office in 2006 in the wake of a Republican scandal over state investments managed by a prominent GOP donor.
Democrats say they drafted the articles based on sworn testimony from the sexual harassment investigation, as well as other statements.
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The nine articles of impeachment filed Tuesday by House Democrats against Attorney General Marc Dann are based on an internal investigation within the attorney general’s office and other statements. The articles accuse Dann the following:
— Obstructed the investigation into allegations of sexual harassment within his office
— Willfully and intentionally issued misleading statements under oath
— Neglected to perform the official duties of his office and, by his own admission, was not competent or qualified to execute the duties of the office of attorney general
— Failed to exercise due care in the administration of the office because he knew or should have known his personal conduct contributed to and allowed the creation of a hostile work environment
— Failed to exercise due care to ensure the safety and security of state property
— Failed to investigate and prohibit improper use of state property
— Knew or should have known of the misuse of state property for personal business
— Committed acts of gross neglect of duty by undermining the integrity of his office; bringing disrepute upon the office; betraying the public trust as Ohio’s chief law enforcement officer; undermining the effectiveness and efficiency of the office
— Committed acts of gross immorality and knew or should have known that his personal conduct undermined the effectiveness and efficiency of the office