CLEVELAND, OH – What stands out on the US Term Limits website is the reason its out-of-state promoters want Ohioans to support term limits for members of Congress as a constitutional amendment. Elitist-minded political opportunists who see themselves as the “best and brightest” minds are not winning against incumbents; and the losses are limiting their personal career goals. To win the jobs of a member of Congress for themselves they want an advantage. The selfishly-motivated, elitist words below were cut and pasted from the out-of-state US Term Limits website as written.
“The best and brightest minds in our states, currently blocked from serving in Congress by tenured politicians, would finally have the opportunity to move upward and make their case to the American people.”
In Ohio, car dealer and withdrawn U.S. Senate candidate Bernie Moreno joined Howard S. Rich’s US Term Limits as a state director in March 2022. He is asking the Cuyahoga County Republican Party’s central committee to support a congressional term limit amendment to the United States Constitution. The board of US Term Limits wants U.S House of Representative members limited to three, two-year terms in office. U.S. Senators will be limited to two, six-year terms in office.
“Now more than ever before, the need for term limits is crystal clear,” Moreno declared in a news release that announced his US Term Limits affiliation. “Polls show that the one issue all Ohioans regardless of political affiliation are united about is the need for congressional term limits.”
“Serving in Congress has become for many, a lucrative lifelong job rather than a public service. Term limits will help end career politicians and make Congress work better for all Americans.”
To make the U.S. Constitutional Amendment a reality, Rich’s New York based organization must get 34 state legislatures to approve a resolution calling for a constitutional convention. Only five state legislatures have approved the congressional term limit resolution Moreno wants Ohio Republicans to back. The procedure is authorized under Article 5 of the Constitution of the United States of America. 38 state legislatures would need to approve the term limit resolution in order for it to be ratified by Congress.
Published reports describe Moreno associate Rich as a New York real estate developer who lives in Philadelphia and practices Libertarian politics. A term limit constitutional amendment is not a national Republican initiative.
Officials of Rich’s Votenet were federally-investigated for stealing from his online voting company. In October 2006, Public Integrity reported that Rich’s Americans for Limited Government was cancelled by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan because its registration under the state’s charitable trust laws was delinquent and not in good standing.
To support his rationale for term limits, Rich’s US Term Limits website offered a report from a New York University associate professor named Mona Vakilifathi. Vakilifathi admitted how past research Rich also added to his website has shown that term limits reduces bureaucratic oversight by lawmakers.
Vakilifathi chose to ignore past research, however, for her own sketchy opinions in a 2017 report she authored that’s entitled, “Constraining Bureaucrats Today Knowing You’ll Be Gone Tomorrow: The Effect of Legislative Term Limits on Statutory Discretion.” It’s her first report of the 3 scholastic reports she’s published since 2017 that are listed on Research Gate.
Vakilifathi’s resume doesn’t show any government management experience so her opinions are not inspired by hands on knowledge. Her scholastic conclusions were drawn from an examination of charter school laws in 42 states. She claimed to have reviewed statutes that guided each state’s procedures for authorizing, renewing and revoking charter school licenses to learn if they contained mandatory or permissive language.
She used the data to deduce without evidence that legislators who knew their time was limited were more aggressive in writing laws with language that held charter school operators and bureaucrats accountable. What Vakilifathi did not investigate was if charter school laws were written by legislators on their own; or under the guidance of wealthy and lobbied-up private charter school operators.
On November 3, 1992, Ohio voters enacted term limits for state lawmakers. Four, two year terms for state representatives. Two, four year terms for state senators.
In Ohio’s early school voucher/charter school days the late attorney David Brennan’s lobbyists got him the laws he wanted from term limited legislators. Brennan founded Hope Academy and Lifeskills charter schools. A 2014 investigate report in the Akron Beacon Journal described Brennan’s power over Ohio’s term limited legislature in the following words:
“Documents obtained by the Akron Beacon Journal show that state officials often delivered new laws and policies that aided Brennan in the building of his chain of schools. Some of those officials bent rules — or rewrote the rules — to his benefit.”
Vakilifathi’s report completely ignored legislative dramas like the $60 million First Energy scandal for which former Ohio Speaker of the House, Larry Householder, and four lobbyists were indicted by the United States Department of Justice. Rich’s US Term Limits website fails to explain how 6-year members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and 12-year members of the U.S. Senate, will master the nuances of a complex federal bureaucracy enough to enact or support legislation that holds 30-year career federal employees accountable.
One of the bureaucratic realities Vakilifathi’s report did not address is how it’s the career federal department heads who submit budgets to Congress for oversight and approval; and who decide how and if federal laws are enforced. Just because Congress enacts a law doesn’t mean it’s enforced as written by the federal workers and recipients the laws instruct.
Inspector generals, the Government Accounting Office and Congress’ hearings were created as oversight tools federal lawmakers use to identify and attempt to eliminate the obstructive internal policies bureaucrats secretly enact to circumvent federal laws. In H. Abbie Erler’s “Legislative Term Limits and State Spending,” the researcher notes that state budgets are higher in the term limit states and lower in states without term limits.
In 2013 federal lawmakers learned the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Exempt Organizations Unit, that was managed by director Lois Lerner, was denying tax exempt status to conservative named corporations and non-profits. She also contemplated targeting U.S. Senator Charles Grassley for an audit. Congress’ oversight committee referred her to the USDOJ for criminal prosecution. Lerner retired.
It was Grassley’s relentless demand that the FBI and USDOJ enforce the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act which finally led to its enforcement in 2017 with the investigation launched by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Internally, under ex-FBI Director James Comey, the Logan Act, Espionage Act and Foreign Agents Registration Act were ignored until Donald Trump’s presidential administration.
In Cuyahoga County the prosecuting attorney, Michael O’Malley, and Cleveland’s mayor, Justin Bibb, have decided to violate Article 1.18 of the Constitution of Ohio by suspending the enforcement of abortion laws. The term limited state lawmakers who enacted Ohio’s heartbeat law now have to adjust it to punish criminally derelict local officials who don’t have the constitutional authority to suspend a law by not enforcing it. If the majority of supportive state senators and state representatives who backed the abortion law are term limited out of office, voters can’t expect newly-elected state lawmakers to take up their predecessor’s interests. The learning curve for legislators who are new-on-day-one lowers the functioning capacity of the entire legislative body.
During his 7 years on Cleveland State University’s board of trustees, and two years as its chairman, Moreno provided no high-functioning legislative oversight of the agreements university bureaucrats entered with officials of Communist China to receive foreign money for a Confucius Institute. CSU’s low-functioning board of trustees had absolutely no curiosity about whether or not employees were violating the Logan Act, Espionage Act and the Foreign Agents Registration Act when they communicated with the Communist government’s officials.
EJBNEWS, as an example, has been reviewing the personnel files of CSU’s H1B visa workers that don’t include requests or approvals for them to work from the Department of Homeland Security. During Moreno’s 7-years on the board, the minutes show CSU’s low-functioning trustees did not question bureaucrats to learn if they were justifying the need to hire foreign workers over Americans and validating their immigration documents.
Moreno supported the appointment of Chinese national Jianping Zhu to the office of provost for six years. His personnel file does not include US Department of Homeland Security requests or approvals for his employment and promotions as he was allowed to hire over 200 foreign and domestic workers. Instead of returning to China after concluding his studies, Zhu stayed and worked.
Two years after Moreno’s 7-year term expired, CSU received August 2020 correspondence from the United States Department of State that declared its Confucius Institute to be a foreign mission of Communist China. CSU’s Communist Chinese Confucius Institute employees had always worked as the unregistered foreign agents of an unregistered foreign mission; and were required to register with the U.S. Department of State and USDOJ. The federal correspondence confirmed that Moreno and other lax CSU trustees had allowed bureaucrats like Zhu to ignore federal espionage, work visa and immigration laws.
It is the type of failed legislative oversight that CSU’s board of trustees exhibited, which Rich, Moreno and Vakilifathi ignore, that is not ignored in past term limit research. In the 2006 report, “The Effects of Term Limits on State Legislatures: A New Survey of the 50 States,” four American researchers drew the following conclusions after examining all 50 states. The thoughts below are from a third report on Rich’s US Term Limits website.
“We found that term limits have virtually no effect on the types of people elected to office—whether measured by a range of demographic characteristics or by ideological predisposition—but they do have measurable impact on certain behaviors and priorities reported by legislators in the survey, and on the balance of power among various institutional actors in the arena of state politics. We characterize the biggest impact on behavior and priorities as a “Burkean shift,” whereby term-limited legislators become less beholden to the constituents in their geographical districts and more attentive to other concerns. The reform also increases the power of the executive branch (governors and the bureaucracy) over legislative outcomes and weakens the influence of majority party leaders and committee chairs, albeit for different reasons.”
In a study guide titled “Controlling the Bureaucracy,” authors further underscored how elected legislative officials Moreno, Rich and Vakilifathi want to weaken have been locked in a forever struggle with corrupt career bureaucrats.
“Historically, at least since the end of the spoils system, elected leaders have struggled to maintain control over their bureaucracies. This challenge arises partly due to the fact that elected leaders tend to have partisan motivations, while bureaucracies are designed to avoid partisanship. While that is not the only explanation, elected leaders and citizens have developed laws and institutions to help rein in bureaucracies that become either too independent, corrupt, or both.”