Ohio Democrats blast Boehner's role in the state's redistricting process

Democrats in Ohio are charging House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerIf 'bipartisanship' is now a dirty word, how about a rebranding? Cameras go dark during House Democrats' sit-in Rubio flies with Obama on Air Force One to Orlando MORE (R-Ohio) with laying a heavy thumb on the redistricting scale to deliver a map that benefited Republicans and their top donors.

Pointing to a report by the Ohio Campaign for Accountable Redistricting, which used public records requests to unearth details about the murky redistricting process, Democrats argued that the involvement by BoehnerJohn BoehnerIf 'bipartisanship' is now a dirty word, how about a rebranding? Cameras go dark during House Democrats' sit-in Rubio flies with Obama on Air Force One to Orlando MORE and his political aides amounted to "potentially criminal findings." They challenged Boehner to make public all internal communications about the map-drawing process.

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"Republicans in Ohio, with Speaker Boehner giving the marching orders, drew district lines to not only protect their own political futures, but also the protect the best interests of their biggest campaign contributors," Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday.

Boehner aides did not dispute the factual basis of the report, but said Democrats' preoccupation with the issue reflected misplaced priorities.

"Instead of engineering pure political stunts, Ohio Democrats should focus on working with Republicans to help create private-sector jobs and get our economy moving," said Cory Fritz, Boehner's spokesman for political issues.

The report details a series of communications between Tom Whatman, who heads the campaign committee known as Team Boehner, and the Ohio policymakers tasked with redrawing the state's congressional maps. 

In one instance, the report showed, Whatman requested a district's boundary be altered to move the headquarters of a company led by a major Ohio GOP donor into a different district.

"Thanks guys. Very important to someone important to us all," Whatman said when the request was granted, according to an email uncovered in the report.

It came as a surprise to few that redistricting in Ohio involved the participation of Boehner, who as the top Republican in the House is eager to shore up his party's chances of holding on to the majority. But Democrats said they were alarmed by the extent of Boehner's involvement and the nakedly partisan nature of his efforts to influence the map.

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