Ohio Ethics Commission calls for enhanced penalties for ethics violations
In its January 26, 2022, press release, the Ohio Ethics Commission is urging the Ohio General Assembly to enact enhanced penalties for persons or entities convicted of giving unlawful gifts or payments to any public official or employee in Ohio state or local government.
Specifically, the Ohio Ethics Commission wants penalties to include a prohibition from participating in any future public contracts for five years and the authority for courts to order fines equal to the amount of the unlawful payments to the public official. The current maximum penalty for these violations are a fine of up to $1,000 and/or six months in prison.
The Ohio Ethics Commission’s calls for enhanced penalties for ethics violations come after many revelations regarding the House Bill 6 scandal that became public during the pending federal criminal cases in Ohio. As of the date of this writing, no legislation regarding these enhanced penalties has been introduced in the General Assembly.