It’s official. Articles of impeachment have been filed against Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. Four fellow Republicans filed twelve articles of impeachment against the governor citing abuse of power over coronavirus orders.
Cincinnati State Representative John Becker filed the paperwork Monday. Representatives Candice Keller, Nino Vitale, and Paul Zeltwanger joined him. This effort began back in August. Becker wants to “restore the rule of law” to the state. At the time, he asked all 98 of his House colleagues to join him in the effort. According to Becker, the move was necessary after DeWine vetoed a Senate bill while threatening to veto other legislation on the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation addressed DeWine’s power as governor during a pandemic. Becker reasoned that DeWine violated the Ohio and United States Constitutions by issuing orders to mitigate the virus. Becker pointed to numerous cases of abuse of power, such as a statewide mask mandate. The mask mandate led to hostile work environments when the mask requirement became a condition of employment. He also pointed to the mask mandate applying during church services.
According to the Ohio State Constitution, the House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment. A majority of members in the house (50 votes) must concur. The state senate tries the impeachment. A two-thirds vote (22 votes) is needed to convict a governor of impeachment. Articles of impeachment cannot be vetoed. Becker says the voices of the people opposing lockdowns and mandates to mitigate the virus are being “muffled”.
In a release sent to the media, Rep. Becker’s office said, “Governor DeWine’s mismanagement, malfeasance, misfeasance, abuse of power, and other crimes include, but are not limited to, meddling in the conduct of a presidential primary election, arbitrarily closing and placing curfews on certain businesses, while allowing other businesses to remain open. He weaponized the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to bully and harass businesses and the people; to enforce a statewide mask mandate and other controversial measures of dubious “value,” making Ohio a hostile work environment.”
The statement goes on to mention the governor’s inclusion of places of worship during shutdown orders and the mask mandate which has been in effect in one state or another since the summer.
“Rather than hearing the cries of Ohioans, Governor DeWine continues to stifle those cries by finding more inventive ways to use masks to muffle the voices of the people,” said Representative Becker in the statement. “He continues to have callous disregard for the fact that his isolation policies have led to a shockingly high number of suicides, alarming rates of drug abuse, persistently high unemployment, and the forced abandonment of the elderly by their loved ones.”
The mask mandate seems to be a real point of contention between the Republican lawmakers and the governor. The Republicans have argued that masks “promote fear, turn neighbors against neighbors, and contract the economy by making people fearful to leave their homes.”
In August when Becker began drafting the articles of impeachment, DeWine brushed off any concerns over the effort.
“As governor, my priorities are to keep people safe and to get our economy moving faster,” DeWine said at the time. “If there are others in the legislature who want to spend their time drawing up resolutions and filing articles … I’d just say to them, ‘Have at it.'”
Governor DeWine isn’t the only governor facing angry lawmakers and state residents over stringent coronavirus orders. Last week a county in Michigan approved a resolution to support the impeachment of Governor Whitmer. The county in Northern Michigan supports a resolution put forward by three Republican members of Michigan’s House of Representatives. Governor Whitmer is a Democrat and was on Joe Biden’s shortlist of women under consideration as his running mate. Whitmer issued a three-week order limiting indoor social gatherings that seems to have spurred on the vote of support for the resolution.
Today I introduced Articles of Impeachment against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
The four articles of impeachment against Gov. Whitmer include failing to respect the separation of powers by exercising power granted to the legislative branch, violating the constitutional pic.twitter.com/tCr2KUZb3E
— Beau M. LaFave (@BeauMattLaFave) November 18, 2020
Michigan Speaker of the House Rep. Lee Chatfield, a Republican, condemned the resolution that the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners voted four to two in favor of supporting. He said that impeachment is what Democrats do, as they did to President Trump. He doesn’t see the effort to impeach Whitmer going anywhere.
“We’re not the party that impeaches someone because we’re upset with policies that they’ve enacted,” said Chatfield. “I thought it was shameful what the Democrats did to President Trump last year, and I would assume that any attempt by Republicans right now, with the current set of facts that we have to impeach the governor, would be on the same level.”
Coronavirus fatigue is real. The stress caused by government mandates and orders is weighing on everyone. Businesses are struggling and need to re-open. School children need to get back into classroom instruction. Mental health issues have to be addressed after nine months of living under lockdowns and isolated from family and friends. I doubt the impeachment efforts in Ohio and Michigan will go anywhere but it’s easy to understand the frustration.