Democrats Call For Criminal Investigation Of Heffner

Ohio Department of Education Superintendent Stan Heffner.(Photo: Ohio Department of Education)
Ohio Department of Education Superintendent Stan Heffner.(Photo: Ohio Department of Education)

Last Thursday, Ohio’s Inspector General released a report that concluded the state schools’ chief, Stan Heffner, had “failed to meet the standards of proper governmental conduct.” Within two days, Stan Heffner had resigned.

But Ohio Democrats are saying that’s not enough.

The Inspector General’s report was based on testimony Stan Heffner gave last year before Ohio lawmakers supporting a bill that increases teacher testing in the state. At the time, Heffner was set to take a job with one of the nation’s largest testing companies, which could have benefited greatly from that kind of law. The IG’s report also said Heffner used his secretary, state time and equipment to scout out a new home, try to sell his old one and make travel arrangements for his new job.

After the report came out, Heffner apologized publicly. But a firestorm had started, and by Saturday, Heffner had resigned. In a statement, he said “much needed components underway in Ohio’s schools are too important to let anything get in their way.”

But the Ohio Democratic Party says he’s getting off easy.

“These are serious criminal allegations and he should be part of a criminal investigation,” says party chairman Chris Redfern.

Redfern says other lawmakers have had to face criminal charges for their misdeeds, like former Republican lobbyist Tom Noe, who was convicted of steering state investments into his rare coin fund.

“Tom Noe didn’t get to resign and go away, others didn’t get the chance to resign and go away when they were involved in Republican pay-to-play scandals. Mr. Heffner and others around him in the Department of Education should be held to account.”

The Inspector General doesn’t have the authority to prosecute, but his report has been delivered to prosecuting authorities in Franklin County, Columbus, and at the Ohio Ethics Commission.