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Dann's Days Numbered as Ohio AG

When Marc Dann announced his candidacy for Ohio attorney general in 2005, he vowed to be an AG in the mold of Eliot Spitzer. That promise has proven more prescient than he could have known, as he faces pressure to step down over sexual infidelity and mismanagement. On Friday, Dann admitted to having had an extramarital affair with a subordinate, just hours after the release of an internal-investigation report detailing lewdness, profanity and sexual harassment in the AG's office under his watch. The only question now is whether Dann will follow in Spitzer's footsteps and resign quickly, or stick with his assertion Friday that he would not.

In a news conference Friday, Dann conceded, "I have not conducted myself in a way that is consistent with my values as a husband, a father and my responsibilities as attorney general." But he said he would stay on and "work tirelessly to regain the public's trust." He'd have to work at a superhuman pace. Over the weekend, editorials in four major Ohio newspapers called for Dann to resign, as did the state Republican deputy chairman Kevin DeWine, who said Dann had turned the AG's office into a "raunchy frat pad." In an editorial Sunday, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer said that Dann has turned the AG's office "into a laughingstock," and it called on him to do what is best for the state, not what is best for himself. "Marc Dann has disgraced himself far more than he seems to realize. He has fallen so far, so fast, that it's impossible to see how he can recover, personally, politically or professionally," the editorial said. "That's why he needs to go." Also on Sunday, an editorial in The Columbus Dispatch said that the AG "must be able to provide leadership, command respect and exercise strong judgment. Marc Dann has failed miserably in all three and is not fit to serve." The Cincinnati Enquirer on Saturday urged him to step down, calling him "a disgrace" whose "hypocrisy is breathtaking. Meanwhile, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern have both called for an independent investigation of the AG's office.

As if this was not all sufficiently bizarre, Dann, during his press conference Friday, admitted that he was surprised he ever won election as AG in the first place, adding, "I was not as well prepared for the office as I should have been." Given how the on-the-job training has gone so far, Dann really should consider another line of work.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 5, 2008 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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