David Brennan discovers that buying government can bring buyer’s remorse


It seems the face of bad education is also the face of illegal campaign contributions.
For over a decade, David Brennan has dumped millions into the coffers of Ohio politicians in hopes of keeping his business alive. It’s the only way to explain how his network of charter schools has managed to stay alive, despite performing even worse than the public schools he was supposed to replace. Former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell never had a problem with Brennan’s generous donations – namely because a lot of them landed in Ken Blackwell’s pocket. But all that has changed since a new sheriff entered the Secretary of State’s office…. This month, Jennifer Brunner championed the $5.2 million fine levied against the pro-charter school political action committee, All Children Matter. Turns out that the Ohio PAC had been funneling money from its Virginia sister PAC to the tune of $870,000 in 2006 alone. $50,000 of that came directly from Brennan. But since the All Children Matter Virginia isn’t registered in Ohio, the move was very illegal, causing Brunner to file a complaint and the Ohio Elections Commission to dole out one of its biggest fines in history. Brennan managed to get out unscathed. But it appears the chamber of Brunner’s gun still has plenty of bullets. On April 10, Brunner lodged a complaint against Brennan and his wife for exceeding campaign contribution limits in 2006 and 2007. Turns out the couple had been funneling donations through two political action committees, Main Street and Go-Go, which are both pro-charter school PACs. A close investigation of campaign finance reports revealed that the Brennans were the PACs only contributors for the last two years. And it appears that the candidates who received the bulk of that money had already received the maximum donations allowed by Ohio from Brennan and his wife. Those candidates, curiously enough, included Ken Blackwell, who was running for governor at the time. – Denise Grollmus


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