Caged Dannimal:

Democrats in the Ohio House of Representatives introduced articles of impeachment against state Attorney General Marc Dann this morning. The articles, available here, feature nine counts of "misconduct in office rising to the level of malfeasance, neglect, nonfeasance, gross neglect of duty, improper exercise of authority and gross immorality," including the obstruction of an investigation into sexual harassment complaints in his office and misleading statements to investigators. 42 of 45 House Democrats signed on.

Also this morning, the Columbus Dispatch reportedon a potential FBI investigation of Dann's ties to gambling interests. Such an investigation would come on top of several others already, or soon to be, underway, including an independent review of the AG office's investigation of sexual harassment complaints, an official audit of the AG office's expense reports to investigate the alleged misuse of state property, and an overall investigation by the state's inspector general. Meanwhile, rumors of additional allegations against Dann and his cronies continue to swirl around the state capitol, something I have heard from several sources.

Perhaps because he was feeling the heat, Dann allegedly offered to resign if state legislators did not authorize an immediate IG investigation of his office. According to the Dispatch:

State Rep. Robert F. Hagan said Michael Harshman, Dann's attorney, told him to offer Dann's resignation this afternoon "within the hour" if the Senate removed an emergency clause in a bill giving the state inspector general the power to investigate the scandal.

Taking out the clause would have the bill to take effect in 90 days instead of immediately.

But Hagan, a Youngstown-area Democrat, said Republican Senate President Bill M. Harris refused, and the bill was passed by both the House and Senate today with the emergency clause included. . . .

In response to media reports that his resignation was imminent, Dann issued a terse statement saying he has not resigned and there would be no further announcements today.

Sources said Dann told a number of legislators that an investigation by Inspector General Thomas P. Charles "would cause all sorts of problems" for him and he offered to leave office if the bill was scotched.

Despite Dann's request, the House and Senate today approved the bill directing Charles to investigate and sent it to Strickland, who signed it tonight.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is also on the story.

UPDATE: The Blue bloggers at BuckeyeStateBlog understand the implications of today's developments:

Dann has completely given up hope on his political career and instead might be trying to avoid more serious allegations from coming to light that would have more serious consequences. He must have something juicy to hide that he feels will be exposed by the IG in an investigation.
One other thing about this scandal, it has a catchy tune and beat you can dance to.

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: From this AM's Dispatch: "Sources close to Dann say he was caught off guard by the surprisingly rapid action from by the Democrats and is trying desperately to leave office with some dignity intact." Um, it's a little late for that.

What in the world is he waiting for?
5.13.2008 9:41pm
Matt Pickut (mail):
"and he offered to leave office if the bill was scotched"

In a related story the SADL (Scottish Anti-Defamation League) announced a boycott of the Columbus Dispatch until a the magazine prints (without editorial changes) a rebuttal supplied by the SADL. To quote a high level SADL spokesman, "This couldn't happen in Canada!"
5.13.2008 9:43pm
If he resigns, can they still impeach him?

If not, it seems to me that his best course of action if he wants to avoid impeachment is to unilaterally resign. What would be the point of his little "offer"?
5.13.2008 10:07pm
Just Saying:
JB-- Presumably, criminal liability can also stem from these investigations. Although if I'm reading this right, all he would gain is 90 days. Unless he has a shredding plan in place, I'm not sure what the point of that little maneuver would be.
5.13.2008 10:11pm
RSwan (mail):
If this is bad enough, it could hurt the Democrats in Ohio. They basically ran as clean up the state from the corrupt Republicans, and depending upon how dirty this guy is, this could reverse that. They may not lose any statewide spots but it could hurt for the other spots, including the Presidential race in November. Didn't they vet the guy before they gave him help?
5.13.2008 10:55pm
great unknown (mail):
Just Saying: This is getting so blatantly messy that I suspect there are some actors who need the time to liquidate and evacuate beyond extradition.
5.13.2008 11:27pm
Gaius Marius:
They're all crooks!
5.13.2008 11:45pm
Didn't they vet the guy before they gave him help?

No, and he had a disciplinary record with the state supreme court before he ran. They knew that at the time, but the party supported Dann in the primary against a well-qualified attorney, a former AUSA and Cleveland law director who is clean as a whistle. The party also looked the other way during at least a half dozen scandals already. They even appointed Dann's hand-picked succesor to his senate seat, notwithstanding her own well known ethical issues. The current criticism is just an attempt to save their own skins, because they do not want Dann dragging the party down in November.
5.13.2008 11:46pm
Gaius Marius:
It's time to throw Marc Dann off the Tarpeian Rock.
5.13.2008 11:50pm
Lucius Cornelius:
I am an attorney working for another agency with the State of Ohio. I heard a couple of attorneys from the AG's office talking about the Dann case. From what they said, there are other irregularities that have not yet made it into the news.

Now it is not just a case of Dann losing his job; now he may end up going to jail. I don't know if his resignation would stop the investigation by the IG's office. Dann should have resigned last week.

But then, the Democrats should have never allowed him to run for AG in the first place. And when he won, they should have provided him with assistance when he was taking over the office. Of course, maybe they did and he refused it. Or, maybe the Democrats did not have enough experienced high level people to go around; they had been shut out of the major offices for almost 16 years and won all but one of the state wide offices in 2006.

Another attorney in my agency told me a year ago that Dann was not going to serve out his term. He was convinced that Dann would get impeached. I did not believe him then; I have to admit that he was right.
5.13.2008 11:54pm
Bpbatista (mail):
Believe it or not, Ohio Republicans are partly responsible for this fiasco. If they had not been so stupid and corrupt for 16 years then an unqualified hack like Marc Dann would never have had a chance in hell of getting elected.

Ohio should seriously consider eliminating the Attorney General as an independent elected office. The AG should be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the State Senate. There is too much opportunity for mischief for a rogue and/or politically motivated AG.
5.14.2008 11:20am
Believe it or not, Ohio Republicans are partly responsible for this fiasco. If they had not been so stupid and corrupt for 16 years then an unqualified hack like Marc Dann would never have had a chance in hell of getting elected.

I couldn't agree more. The Democrats deserve a lot of blame for this. They have been complicit in a lot of Dann's activities. However, we would have never heard of this guy if it were not for the mismanagement of the preceding decade.
5.14.2008 1:18pm