Monday, August 11, 2008

Fun with LTE's

Albert Gabel, a retired OSU professor, wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Dispatch that praised David Robinson for his campaign while decrying the fact that Pat Tiberi receives big chunks of money from the types of donors (PACs, Lobbyists, Corporate interests) who are looking for favors.

Today Debbie Koch responded with a Letter to the Editor chiding Gabel for implying that Tiberi wasn't representing all of the people in the district, and urging voters to do their homework.

So I did some homework. Deborah Koch of Dublin (43017) gave a few hundred bucks to Tiberi back in 2000. No big deal. I've donated to his opponent this year. What's more interesting is that Gary Koch of Dublin (43017) has given more than $13000 to Republicans over the last ten years, including about $5,000 to Tiberi alone.

Do you know what Gary Koch does for a living? He's a lobbyist. As his bio page on his current employer's site states:

Mr. Koch's government relations career began in 1977 when he joined the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, a trade association that represents the retail industry before the Ohio Legislature. In September of 1982, he joined the Ohio Petroleum Council as Vice President, where he lobbied on behalf of the major oil companies. Three years later, Mr. Koch moved to AT&T where he worked not only in Columbus but in Washington, D.C. ...
Now, I don't know for sure that Gary and Deborah Koch share anything more than a last name, a zip code, and a penchant for Republicans, but for the sake of imagination, let's pretend they're married. If that's true, then the response to the letter saying that Pat Tiberi was the Representative of lobbyists and corporations was no more than 'no he isn't, don't be negative' written by... the homemaker wife of a corporate lobbyist. If it's not one household, well then I apologize to Mrs. Koch and thank her for inadvertently steering me to the name of another big lobbyist donor of Pat's.

Either way, like I said, homework is fun.


Eric said...

records show they both live at 5381 Adventure Dr in Dublin so you probably have their marital relations nailed.

PoliticalOutcast said...

Thanks for being classy BB and not post personal and private info on your blog.

Rodger said...

It is all public information. I can look this information up as well. This is not the old Soviet Union. This the United States. The information that is posted is avalable On the Ohio Secretary of State wed sight and voter registration information.

bonobo said...

PO, I'm not going to jump to the conclusion that you were being sarcastic, but I'm not assuming you were sincere, either. For Rodger's benefit, I'll give a little background... PO is fairly adamant that there is too much information about individuals which is available to the public, but in his opinion is not the business of the general public to know. Furthermore, just because the information is available for those who know how to look, he doesn't believe that bloggers should be posting the results of such searches. Recently, he reiterated his position in response to an incident where a couple of blogs posted the phone number of a heckler at an Obama rally in Berea (although it turned out that the heckler's number was unlisted and the number the bloggers put up belonged to another guy with the same name). Coincidentally, one of the bloggers who posted that phone number shares a name with the first commenter above.

Because of this, it is possible that the comment was directed at the first commenter, who listed an address, and not at me.

Before shifting gears I should note that the Adventure Dr. address (and phone#) is the first thing that comes up when you Google "Gary Koch" "Dublin, OH", so it's actually difficult to find out even the most undeniably public pieces of information about the man without stumbling across that address.

But assuming that PO was actually calling me out for publishing donation records, I'd have to question where the line gets drawn. Most people who argue against campaign finance regulation argue that the right way to handle the situation is with 0% regulation and 100% transparency. Knowing who is funding a candidate is absolutely crucial to a properly functioning democracy, and it is absolutely my business to know who is funding my Congressmaan's campaign.

But if anyone actually cares, my views are in between Eric's and PO's. As far as I'm concerned, information that is available to salesmen or the media should be available to all. And I think that it is probably a good idea for people to be aware of what information is available about them to anyone who knows where to look. I've published voter registration info, addresses, and pictures of houses on Blue Bexley to support points I was trying to make. I don't publish personal info for the sake of publishing personal info, and I wouldn't go as far as Eric and Tim have decided to go this election season, but I'd understand if some do not see the same distinction I do.

Rodger said...

Thanks for the background info...

Eric said...

the information isn't "private" once it hits the Internets. mistakes get made (as they do with newspapers or anything else in life). still, transparency is good whether or not you want to know who is funding your congressman or not or whether you want to know more about a heckler at a presidential event.

misusing information is another thing, and i don't advocate it. the only thing publishing such information does is hold the individual person accountable. if the argument is going to be you can't publish anything lest a mistake be made, then i'd say blogging is in big trouble.

one should, however, be way more careful than i was in posting such information. that much is clear.

PoliticalOutcast said...

I was being sincere, BTW.