Ohio Dems use Times story to blast Kasich (Updated)

Democrats have been trying to turn former Rep. John Kasich's (R-Ohio) Wall Street experience into a campaign liability – and Friday they got some fresh ammunition.

Kasich spent several years as a managing director in the investment banking division of the now-defunct Lehman Brothers, leaving the company shortly after its collapse in September 2008.

He has cited his experience as a qualification for being governor of Ohio at recent campaign events.

"I worked as banker with Lehman Brothers in a office in Columbus where I chased IPOs," Kasich said at a roundtable discussion on agriculture in Paulding County March 9. "[I] was involved in the initial public offering of Google and Designer Shoe Warehouse, some of you shop there. We were able to raise the capitol to allow them expand and create jobs."

But the New York Times has a story out Friday about a bank examiner's report detailing the dramatic collapse of the 158-year-old company. Kasich isn't mentioned in the Times' piece, but Gov. Ted Strickland's (D) campaign is asking questions about whether he was "aware" of the crippling debt the company was accumulating.

In a memo sent to reporters, Strickland campaign manager Aaron Pickrell asks: "Will Congressman John Kasich reveal the full extent of his work at Lehman Brothers including the companies and deals with which he was involved and the compensation, including bonuses, that he received from his work at the bank?"

A Kasich campaign spokesman responded: "It's the same report that can be written about the state of Ohio, but the big difference is that in the state's case, Ted Strickland has been the executive who's accountable for it all."

From the Times story:

The report, compiled by an examiner for the bank, now bankrupt, hit Wall Street with a thud late Thursday. The 158-year-old company, it concluded, died from multiple causes. Among them were bad mortgage holdings and, less directly, demands by rivals like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, that the foundering bank post collateral against loans it desperately needed.

The report draws no conclusions as to whether Lehman executives violated securities laws. But it does suggest that enough evidence exists for potential civil claims. Lehman executives are already defendants in civil suits, but have not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.