Republican Bryan Williams just announced he is resigning his position on Ohio’s State Board of Education after suddenly realizing that it was illegal for him to be on the board while, at the same time, working as a registered lobbyist and actively advocating for a group that operates a trade school governed by the board.
Williams’ resignation letter referenced a ruling from the Ohio Ethics Commission “which advises that elected members of a state board should not be registered lobbyists.”
It turns out there is another registered lobbyist sitting on a state board: Mike Gonidakis. Gonidakis is the president of Ohio Right to Life, an anti-abortion group. He’s also a registered lobbyist for ORL and ten other organizations.
Back in September Gonidakis was appointed to Ohio’s State Medical Board by John Kasich. By August, Gonidakis’s ORL was running sensational headlines using data from the medical board and urging Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to file lawsuits against medical professionals working for Planned Parenthood.
When you really look at it, having Gonidakis on the Medical Board is way crazier. And sadly, it’s likely legal as long as he isn’t lobbying the Medical Board directly.
Gonidakis is the head of an organization that attempts to intimidate doctors who disagree with its religious views by, among other things, promoting lawsuits against those doctors. At the same Gonidakis serves on the government board responsible for licensing and disciplining doctors. All while Gonidakis is registered to lobby the legislature and nearly every executive agency and department in Ohio on behalf of Ohio Right to Life.
What could possibly go wrong?