Tea Party Favorite Back To Old Tricks

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) has given two aides from his failed U.S. Senate campaign state jobs, including one who he dispatched to a basic debt class during an earlier stint working for Mandel’s state office.

Mandel placed the two campaign aides in the treasurer’s office less than two weeks after he was defeated by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in one of the country’s most competitive Senate races, the Dayton Daily News reports. Mandel gave campaign political director Joe Aquilino a $ 90,000-a-year post as deputy legal counsel and director of regional representatives, while Mandel campaign tracker Jared Borg received a $ 62,000-a-year post as Mandel’s deputy director of regional representatives.

Aquilino worked for Mandel in the treasurer’s office as director of debt management in 2011, prior to joining the Senate campaign. Aquilino, 27, had been political director for Mandel’s 2010 treasurer’s campaign. The Huffington Post reported that Mandel had sent Aquilino to a beginner’s course in debt management in April 2011 during his previous tenure in the office.

Borg officially held the title of political coordinator for Mandel’s Senate campaign. The Dayton Daily News reported that his duties included following Brown around the state with a video camera. A post on the website for the Ohio State University College Republicans directs internship applicants to send resumes to Borg.

Treasurer’s office spokesman Seth Unger defended the hires to the Dayton Daily News and cited Mandel’s record.

“Treasurer Mandel generated a $ 1.6 million surplus in the 2012 fiscal year operating budget, largely by streamlining staff in the office and reducing operating expenses. He reduced the budgeted office payroll by more than $ 944,000, while improving the bond rating, launching a new local government investment program, and increasing security as a watchdog of taxpayer dollars,” Unger said in a written statement. “Treasurer Mandel has great confidence in the staff he employs in the office, and the work that they do on behalf of taxpayers across Ohio.”

Mandel was criticized by Brown during the campaign for his hiring practices in the treasurer’s office, including reports that he awarded high-paying jobs to college friends and political aides. Aquilino’s new job falls under Mandel general counsel Seth Metcalf, a college friend of Mandel who managed the Republican’s campaign for student government president at Ohio State University. Mandel was also criticized by state Democrats for not responding to records requests for the resumes of staffers he hired. The treasurer’s office released the resumes on the ninth request.

Aquilino and Borg will be overseeing the regional representatives that Mandel employs statewide. The Pomeroy Daily Sentinel reported earlier this year that a Mandel regional representative presented awards on Mandel’s behalf to volunteers at the Meigs County Fair. The South Metro Regional Chamber of Commerce reported that a Mandel regional representative in the Dayton area spoke to business leaders alongside Mandel’s deputy treasurer about economic development programs in the treasurer’s office. The Commoner Journal reported in November 2011 that a Mandel regional representative attended a “meet and greet” with Vinton County officials.

Mandel has said he plans to seek a second term as treasurer in 2014.

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