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Friday, October 22, 2010

John Kasich's Top Advisers Include Lehman Brothers Lobbyist: Failed Wall Street Firm's Fingerprints All Over Ohio Campaign

Lehman Brothers Lobbyist Form
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A lobbyist who represented Lehman Brothers is a key figure in Republican candidate for Ohio governor John Kasich's campaign.  Robert F. Klaffky worked for the failed Wall Street investment bank as a registered "legislative agent" in Columbus between 2000 and 2008.  Those years coincide with Kasich's time as Lehman Brothers managing director.  Klaffky's lobbyist registration form shows he reported to a Lehman Brothers office on the 11th floor of a building at 399 Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan.  For a time, that address gilded the most expensive office building in the world.  It was purchased for $1.06 billion in 2002.  399 Park Avenue is a 41-story office building that houses the world headquarters of Citigroup.  Lehman Brothers collapsed in bankruptcy in late 2008 -- it demise worsened the Great Recession and waves of woe are still washing over the U.S. economy.  Klaffky stopped lobbying for Lehman Brothers in December 2008 when the firm went belly up. 

Klaffky's Ohio lobbyist registration documents can be found by searching here, which takes you to the portal of the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee. The Daily Bellwether has posted a 2008 form filed by Klaffky that discloses his affiliation with Lehman Brothers. Klaffky said he was engaged to handle "all issues pertaining to the client."   Kasich has tried to minimize his Wall Street connections during the campaign for governor.  For example, the Republican candidate's official biography posted on his campaign website does not mention that he was a Lehman Brothers executive.

Four months ago, Columbus Dispatch reporters Joe Hallett and Mark Niquette wrote a story naming the insiders in the campaigns of Republican Kasich and Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. Lehman Brothers lobbyist Klaffky was lumped in the group that Kasich called his key aides.  But the story did not mention the identify of Klaffky's lobbying clients.  You can read the excerpt below: exeHneidentify the firm say w:

"Kasich described his campaign as "kind of like getting the band back together." It is a mix of longtime trusted aides from his years in Congress, such as Wayne Struble, Don Thibaut and Ben Kanzeg, and newcomers such as Hansen and communications director Scott Milburn.
Kasich gushes accolades when discussing campaign staffers and volunteers individually, saying, 'A better team, in my opinion, has never been assembled since I've lived in this state. I will live and die with them.'

"Along with paid staffers, an assortment of former co-workers, unofficial advisers and old friends can be found on any given day at Kasich's Downtown headquarters. Among them: former Lehman Brothers colleague and right-hand man Jai Chabria, who Kasich said is "like a member of my family"; Franklin County GOP Chairman Doug Preisse; lobbyist Robert F. Klaffky; and longtime personal friend Ron Hartman, a member of Kasich's Bible study group."

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