In a series of demands, news releases, and now a draft finding for recovery, State Auditor David Yost has indignantly opined that online school ECOT had no right to use public money on television ads that criticized the Ohio Department of Education. The problem, however is that while all of this makes for a flashy headline for the constantly headline seeking Yost, ECOT didn’t write a check nor did Altair Learning Management or IQ Innovations. In fact, NO public money was utilized. Period.
None of the parties involved were ECOT employees (or agents of ECOT for that matter) and no ECOT employees or monies could be directly linked to the advertisement. In fact, the only link the auditor could muster was that the entity that paid for the advertisement had provided services to ECOT in the past.
That’s a weak link to ascertain. A private business is a private business whether or not some of its clients are public entities. Doing business with the government does not mean you have to turn over your entire business’s record and all its spending. (Just ask Governor Kasich about that with JobsOhio.) Nor does it mean that because you spend money to protect your client (your business interests) that the money was somehow “funneled.” If there was a check cut from ECOT to a business for the exact amount and for the specific reason (i.e. “advertisement”) in question, that would be one thing. But no such transaction exists.
Read the rest of the article here.