Jeffrey Crossman

Ohio State Rep. Jeffrey Crossan (D-Parma). Photo from legislature.ohio.gov.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Claiming he was sick, State Rep. Jeff Crossman did not cast a vote on two controversial issues that could appear on a statewide ballot. Yet the Parma Democrat, who is running against Republican Dave Yost for Ohio attorney general, was photographed at a campaign event that night.

Crossman submitted a form to Minority Whip Rep. Jessica Miranda and Assistant Minority Whip Rep. Richard Brown that started with “I respectfully request an absence for the remainder of today’s session due to illness.”

Though he said he was too sick to remain in the House session, Crossman attended an event on Wednesday night hosted by Dublin Area Progressives, which posted a tweet with a photograph including Crossman and a post that read, “We joined w @Liston4Ohio to welcome @JeffaCrossman, Ohio’s next Attorney General to Dublin last night. Thanks to all who attended & donated! If our legislators won’t hold themselves accountable, we need an AG who will.”

The Ohio Republican Party posted a tweet that showed Crossman’s request to leave Wednesday’s House session early because of “illness” next to a photograph of Crossman on the Dublin Area Progressives’ Twitter page.

“Jeff Crossman faking an illness to avoid voting on legislation that will impact public safety and the integrity of Ohio elections is a slap in the face to his constituents and voters across Ohio,” Ohio Republican Party spokesman Dan Lusheck said. “It is amazing that he recovered in time to keep campaigning despite shirking his official duties.”

On Thursday, Crossman held a press conference announcing that he asked the Ohio State Highway Patrol to investigate Republicans on the state’s redistricting commission for passing multiple redistricting maps that were ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court.

The state highway patrol has jurisdiction over the Ohio Statehouse, where the redistricting maps were passed in commission meetings.

Gov. Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, State Auditor Keith Faber, Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman and Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp are the targets of the complaint, which is unlikely to result in criminal charges.

In his complaint, Crossman referenced an Ohio law that says, “no public servant shall recklessly fail to perform a duty expressly imposed by law with respect to the public servant’s office.”

Violators could be convicted of dereliction of duty, which is a second-degree misdemeanor accompanied by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

The results of a state highway patrol investigation would be referred to Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, a Democrat who would determine if charges should be filed in Franklin County Municipal Court, Crossman said.

Once the investigation is complete, “we will review the facts and make a determination of whether charges should be filed,” said Pete Shipley, a spokesman for Klein.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Supreme Court rejected a GOP-authored state legislative redistricting map for a fifth time, and it also decided to not hold redistricting members in contempt.

RELATEDOhio Supreme Court tosses redistricting maps – again

“It’s time to hold these politicians accountable and show that no one is above the law!” Crossman tweeted.

In a separate comment, Crossman said, “The Republican redistricting commissioners have showed nothing but contempt for the process, for the voters, and for the constitution.”

DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney called Crossman’s complaint “a political stunt.” Lusheck agreed and questioned why Crossman missed key votes in the House session but appeared at a campaign event that night.

“Political stunts like Crossman's frivolous complaint may be designed to boost his failing campaign, but it hardly makes up for neglecting his responsibilities as a state representative and lying about why he is missing votes.”

Crossman told reporters that he was actually sick on Wednesday, but he didn’t explain the illness and how he was able to attend the Dublin Area Progressives event that night.

His response to the questions about his “illness” was, “They’d rather attack me than actually answer to the voters.”

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