Apr 4, 2006

Whoops - Blackwell Invests in Diebold

(Columbus, OH) Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who is running for governor, said he discovered he owns shares in voting machine manufacturer Diebold while preparing a required filing for the Ohio Ethics Commission.

"While I was unaware of this stock in my portfolio, its mere presence may be viewed as a conflict and is therefore not acceptable," Blackwell said in his filing.

Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Brian Rothenberg wasted little time in blasting Blackwell with both rhetorical barrels.

"If Ken Blackwell didn't know how his own money was being spent, why would the people of Ohio think he would be a good steward of their checkbook?" he said

The candidate will not profit from his 178 shares, which Blackwell purchased at $53.67 per share in January 2005.

That did not stop Blackwell's Republican opponent from piling on. Bob Paduchik, a spokesman for Attorney General Jim Petro, called for additional investigation "considering Ken Blackwell's history with Diebold."


liberal_dem said...

Although I didn't read the Blade article or your blurb, I suppose he said, "Gosh, I didn't know!"

How close to the truth am I, MIke?

-Sepp said...

First off, 178 shares is pretty much nothing. Second, diebold could be a part of a market fund in his portfolio. I couldn't tell you exactly what stocks each fund in my 401k has since there are literaly hundreds of different stocks that make up each fund I invest in. I doubt anyone could rattle off what stocks are in each fund in their portfolio since the fund managers change them up to dump the non-producing stocks for ones that make money. Also, I honestly think that if diebold were going to try and influence Blackwell, they could do a lot better than 178 measly shares.

historymike said...

That's the gist of it, liberal dem.

The good news for Blackwell is that he made the disclosure before his opponents or the media caught wind of it.

The bad news is that Blackwell should know better than to let something like this happen. He is running for a high-profile office, and these sorts of mistakes - even unintentional ones - can kill a campaign, Sepp.

Still haven't figured out which of the candidates I will vote for. I am leaning toward Strickland at the moment, only because neither Blackwell or Petro has said anything that I identify with.

I take that back - Petro did have some thoughtful ideas about higher education, but it remains to be seen if this is just campaign rhetoric. His plan to cut $1 billion in state adminstrative costs and put the money in higher ed was woefully light on details.

boohiss said...

Eh, not a big deal. He didn't make any money, and he himself came out with the information and admitted it and corrected it. This probably wouldn't even do damage in a really close race.

Stephanie said...

Blackwell does the right thing and still gets blasted!?!

*Stephanie grumbles about the stupidity of partisanship not so much to herself.*

I don't own stock in anything. I've never owned stock. However, even I know enough about how portfolios are handled to know that usually somebody else handles them! Geesh.

-Sepp said...

Stephanie, the reason this is even an issue at all is because Blackwell's opponents have nothing else on him. I'd bet the farm that Strickland an Petro called their brokers to check their own holdings before they opened their mouths.

historymike said...

Blackwell has to learn that this race is a much higher profile contest than anything he has ever experienced.

While his explanation seems plausible, and he to his credit he released the info, mistakes like this can wreck a campaign.

Besides, with all of the scandals surrounding Diebold (bribery, kickbacks, etc.) Blackwell should have had this company on his broker's "never, EVER buy this stock" list.

I doubt that this will sink a Blackwell candidacy, but Ken needs to wise up. At this level opponents have the money to go through every piece of a person's past.

-Sepp said...

Well HM, it's easy to say "no diebold stock ever" to your broker but, when you invest in mutual funds the managers turn over non-productive stocks regularly. Ken's broker would not have been informed about it and most likely was just making sure the funds in Ken's portfolio were all profitable. If it were say 5000 shares, I'd be suspicious. 168 shares is a joke.
As for Ken's past, I'd call it pretty impressive. The guy went from being in the projects as a kid to where he is today.

Brian said...

If the stock is in a blind trust, isn't it illegal for the office holder to know what is in it?

KraZyKaT said...

GWB quote from Presidential debate:

"I own a timber company? That's news to me!"

He then proceeded to chuckle and stare stupidly at the audience for a moment, before he quipped,

"Wanna buy some wood?"

Brian said...

How does one "stare stupidly"?

Just curious. . .

Stephanie said...

I admit I'm only picking up bits and pieces of this race from Mike and Lisa, after all I live in Wisconsin. So, I haven't formed an opinion about any of 'em, nor do I have any real desire to influence anyone's opinion concerning this race. However, I find it rather sad that something like this could "wreck a campaign." If he got the stock as a lobbying effort (which I'm pretty sure is illegal) or if he had enough stock to be influential in the company, then I'd understand the fuss. As it is...

Let me put it to you this way. It seems like every week a new story comes out that companies that got big, no-bid contracts in Wisconsin just happened to make big-time donations to my Governor right before or right after they got the contracts. And there's still no major movement to impeach the Mr. Pay-to-Play. That pisses me off!

Compared to that, this seems rather immaterial.

liberal_dem said...

sepp- it looks like you are somewhat of a cheerleader for Blackwell. Are you supporting his run?

-Sepp said...

I'm a cheerleader for common sense LD. The man found something that could be a conflict of interest, made the correction and disclosed it. As I said before, Petro and Strickland probably phoned their brokers before saying a word about this. Will I be supporting Blackwell? Sure, I don't have any reason not to.

Hooda Thunkit said...

I have only mutual funds, no individual stocks, in my Roth retirement plan and these funds are managed by the individual fund's managers.

Further, the mix of the funds in my portfolio is managed/rebalanced by a professional management company as designated by my predefined risk profile.

Blackwell may have some sort of hands-off setup like I have.

If not, and he (or an "adviser") purchases individual stocks directly, instead of buying funds, he could indeed be in very deep doo-doo.

The devil IS in the details.