Monday, February 18, 2008

Dayton Development Coalition in the News Again

It looks like the Dayton Get Midwest brand is developing into a political story. And the recent editorial by the Dayton Development Coalition (DDC for short) chairman is a good example on how to obfuscate things.

"We are proud of the coalition's accomplishments over the years, achieved by working together with our partners. Support for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has resulted in a growing bright spot for our economy. .... Focused, bipartisan and open advocacy has led to hundreds of millions of dollars for economic development in our region. These efforts have been lauded by Democrats and Republicans all over Ohio and in Washington, D.C., as a model for best practices."

The question isn’t so much the prioritization process or whether the DDC lobbys both Democrats and Republicans ("bipartisan...advocacy"), but how closely is the DDC associated with Republican candidates, not just Mike Turner.

To investigate lets use the concept of the “donor community”, as a way to identify clusters of campaign contributors with family and business relationships that all contribute to similar candidates. In a sense a donor community could be a “virtual PAC”, depending on how planned the giving is.

Running searches on FEC data available at this site, one can identify a donor community associated with the Dayton Development Coalition. The individuals listed on this graph are all management or staff of the DDC, or were when they made their campaign contributions:

One can see some obvious patterns. Some small donations which are probably not too relevant, but then a very large donation year in 2006, with substantial donations by DDC leadership to certain GOP candidates.

The top donors for 2002-2008. There are no donors from the DDC earlier than 2002.

(An interesting sidebar is the appearance of “M Gessel” as a smaller contributor. This individual actually has a Arlington VA address on his FEC disclosure form, so I suspect this is the DDCs Washington lobbyist.)

Taking a more detailed look at the top donor, and also running a search by surname, which picks up what is probably his wife (listed as housewife, and sharing the same address on the FEC disclosure form) contributing a large sum to Dewine in 2006.

Note how the loopholes in the campaign finance law permit large donations, such as the limit applying to primaries as well as general elections (was Turner or Dewine facing a primary fight in 2006?)

Then a look at the candidates, with 2006 again showing up as a very good year for contributions to GOP candidates from DDC management & staff.

..and the top recipients

…and nary a Democrat among them. I wonder what Sherrod Brown thinks when the DDC comes calling, when they were so generous with Mike Dewine. Maybe they should contribute to Brown a bit, to spread the wealth?

I am not sure this proves anything, except that some of the management of the DDC have been big, big GOP donors (though not so much yet in this campaign cycle). Note this isn’t the board of directors, the big corporate sponsors of DDC, and so forth but the CEO, Executive Director, titles like that.

So, yeah, the process is bipartisan, and the advocacy has to be (now that Democrats control Congress and are about to take the Presidency), but the political sympathy of the DDC leadership rests at the Federal level with the GOP, as evidenced by campaing contributions.


David Esrati said...

So, is J.P. Nauseef really getting a paycheck- or just serving as a pass-through to donate to Republican candidates? This is why we need to just pay for political campaigns out of public money, and stop the private flow of money into campaign funds. We've got the best politicians money can buy right now- and they're screwing things up royally.
Thanks for doing the homework Jeffrey.

Greg Hunter said...

Great stuff Jeffery! In defense of JP, he is doing his job and I see him "out" shuttling politicians and contractors associated with WPAFB. The DDC and the DCC are certainly recycling dollars to the people they think that will get them the pork or think about a vote. While I understand the game, I wish someone would worry that the dollars were spent effectively. If WPAFB projects are getting done poorly they will eventually get cut (or maybe not) but I still hold out hope for some integrity.

Sherrod Brown was introduced as a "new friend" on April 3, 2007 at a meet the Senator event sponsored by the DCC. The Senator was certainly in the house of his enemies; however, this was the ONLY DCC event where I could actually pick out Democrats. As I have said before, Strickland and Brown should put pressure on these groups to hire and fund DEMs or they should identify some other lobbying group to funnel the public dollars. Opportunity awaits!

Anonymous said...

In 2005, Nauseef was paid $285,854. Ron Wine got $74,402 as a former officer.

Anonymous said...

Michael Gessel is employed as an in-house lobbyist by the DDC. They call him their vice-president of federal programs. The lobbying info (as well as previous firms hired and amounts) is available on
The real question is where the money goes in terms of projects. Beyond BRAC, what communities receive funds and which don't? There is no list of project recommendations since 2005 on the Web site. The Web site itself has not been updated since 2006 with news and the last newsletter on the site is first quarter 2007. We read about grants and money flowing from the DDC but the whole process of recommendation is dark at this point. Yet they are accepting projects for recommendation for fiscal year 09. Also missing is a 990 for 2006 (they always file for an extension so 2007 wouldn't be expected yet - maybe 2006 just is done but just not posted anywhere yet).

Greg Hunter said...

Damn, that is not chump change, OK he is not doing that good of a job.

Jeffrey said...

Well, it looks like JP was getting a substantial salary (thanx for the itnel, Mr Anonymous Poster!), so big campaign contributions may not be too odd. But apparently Leftwich gave a lot too.

The odd thing to notice is the big spike in 2006 in contributions, which is an anomaly compared to 2008 and even 2004. And the dividing up of contributions to stay within the letter of the CFR laws.

What isn't known if this was individual decisions by the contributors, or if this was "planned giving", like the rumor around Q-Base and the Austria campaign.


As for Sherrod Brown, he is sharp enought not to be seen as opposed to the DDC as that can be spun as being hostile to Dayton ED efforts.

Jeffrey said...

"The real question is where the money goes in terms of projects. Beyond BRAC, what communities receive funds and which don't? There is no list of project recommendations since 2005 on the Web site.

The Web site itself has not been updated since 2006 with news and the last newsletter on the site is first quarter 2007. We read about grants and money flowing from the DDC but the whole process of recommendation is dark at this point."

This is a very good point and questions as to how transparent this process is. Peraps there is something on the MVRPC site?

David Esrati said...

Hmmm.... lets see.
JP makes almost 300K a year- yet, some flunky, Evan Scott- made the whole decision on his own to hire Turner no-bid. Yet, JP gives money to Turners campaign- and on top of that- he hires Pete Luongo's kid- and the website doesn't get updated - in months? When was the last time your site wasn't updated for more than 2 weeks Jeffrey?
And- to top it all off- they hire the incredible Turner Effect- because there is no one else that's qualified- she charges at least double what anyone else would- and then resigns- because it doesn't look good.
I'd say it's time to clean house?
JP may need to find a real job.
How much did the County kick in?
This whole thing stinks worse than pig poop.

Anonymous said...

"Thanks for doing the homework Jeffrey."

Gee, David, that almost sounds like you assigned the project to Jeffrey.

And I really don't understand why you're now saying we need to stop the flow of private money into campaign funds when you're soliciting individuals for your campaign funds but not accepting from corporations, PACs or special interest groups?

Talk about something not smelling right.

Jeffrey said...

"Gee, David, that almost sounds like you assigned the project to Jeffrey."

Patronizing sarcasm noted.

My curiosity was piqued by the statement in the paper on Sunday about bipartisanship. So I decided to see what was on record.

Apparently a lot, huh?

ohdave said...

Jeff, note also that the Berry Co. according to Open Secrets has given $8K to Turner in the current cycle and Greentree gave 10,200 which you reported earlier.

Luongo is the co-chair of DDC and former CEO of Berry Co.

ohdave said...

Here's a link to the Open Secrets page listing Turner's current contributors:

ohdave said...

One more thing... I just looked up Clay Mathile since he gave the $$ (according to DDN) to fund the project... big contributor to Turner, the Ohio GOP, the RNC, Austria, Hobson, and Jean Schmidt.

Anonymous said...

Yes, please don't leave the more local politicians out, the problem is having the patience to get through all the pages of Mathile donations I like to see what the wife gives too) in the
Ohio Secretary of State pages. The SOS search moves like molasses and there's a lot of pages. The DDC contributions logged by the SOS are trickier. You have to look up the usual suspects by name because employment is listed several ways and it takes forever. And you'd really need to check everybody on the PDAC to get a true picture. It could take the rest of your life, unless you can make it go faster than I can.
My real concern here is still not so much who is getting what as a political candidate, although it explains a lot. It's that when you follow the money, especially the community development (outside BRAC) projects, you see it going back, for the most part, to where money already is. Dayton does get some - but not in proportion to the need or the population. Trotwood, Riverside-where are they?
They sign cities up to pay membership dues with taxpayer dollars, but nobody can say exactly what that gets them - it doesn't buy you a spot on the executive or recommending committee.
With no updated recommendation lists for 06 or 07 (and they are already taking applications for 09) it's hard to track, though.
Much is hard to track - that's what concerns me. Campaign contributions happen to be something that are easier to access. What about all the rest of it? I don't think you can attend a Priority Development Advocacy Meeting, where it all gets done, like you could, say, an Ed/ge meeting - but you could ask. Ask them for their 2006 990 return while you're there.
And the MVRCP is the lead partner on certain types of projects - but while they work alongside the DDC on some things (and while everybody seems to be afraid not to) I don't know how much of a real partnership that is in terms of power or equality.
Before it was the DDC, it was the Miami Valley Economic Development Coalition- and in the original 1994 articles of incorporation (also on the SOS web site) Doug Mangen was the first statutory agent - the former executive director of the Dayton Business Committee. That was another group of elite players where the public part was policy and money and the private part was how it got done, (and in their case, even who the membership was). While it supposedly still exists, it's been more about culture than charter schools and such in recent years and I think it's mostly been folded into the DDC, which I think also sprang from the DBC.
Oh, and there are two anonymous' posting here - I don't have a bone to pick with Esrati and certainly not Jeffrey. I just think the DDC is worth somebody keeping an eye on. And all those spinoffs they have now, as listed on their (non-updated) web pages.
I love this blog, btw. Very well-reasoned. Please keep up the excellent work.

Anonymous said...

How do know for sure JP made close to 300k a year?

I just find it hard to believe he is making that kind of money for what he has done or should I say hasn't done.

Anonymous said...

I do know that JP is very close to the Austria's.

Anonymous said...

Salaries and wages are in the IRS 990 forms. The last one filed was for 2005.
Nauseef's pay for that year is in there, schedule six. Total wages and salaries paid, $814,964. Pension plan, $68,316. Payroll taxes, $75,419. Other benefits, $93,842. Look it up. Whether or not these people are worth that much money or if that even is that much money is purely a matter of perspective.

Anonymous said...

As soon as you mentioned the name Pete Luongo that explained why there would be corruption.
This clown is an egomaniac and as deceitful as they come.