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Ohio Republicans draft articles of impeachment against GOP governor over coronavirus orders

Three Republicans in the Ohio House have prepared articles of impeachment against Gov. Mike DeWineMike DeWineBiden taps ex-consumer bureau chief to oversee student loans The Hill's Morning Report - Census winners and losers; House GOP huddles Ohio sets special election to replace retiring Rep. Steve Stivers MORE (R), alleging he violated residents’ civil liberties with orders aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus.

The resolution drafted by three state lawmakers — GOP Reps. John Becker, Nino Vitale and Paul Zeltwanger — includes 10 articles of impeachment against DeWine, Cleveland.com reported on Monday.

The allegations claim DeWine’s administration implemented unconstitutional orders amid the pandemic.

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DeWine “has repeatedly proven his incompetence by providing wildly inaccurate forecasts and repeatedly misleading COVID-19 data; and committed misfeasance and malfeasance with his policy prescriptions, which have proven to be far worse than the virus itself,” the resolution states.

It accuses the governor of violating the separation of powers by having the Ohio Department of Health issue orders outside the scope of its authority that are “tantamount to creating new laws" and having the Ohio Department of Education close schools. 

The articles also allege DeWine “conspired” with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) to cancel the March 17 primary election and illegally schedule it without legislative approval on June 2. The outlet noted that the Ohio legislature passed a law on April 28 requiring a mail-in primary due to the health crisis.

The GOP lawmakers also target DeWine over a series of measures that other governors across the country have implemented per recommendations from health officials.

They argue that DeWine violated Ohioans' civil liberties by issuing a stay-at-home order and requiring them to wear masks, claiming the face-covering rule “promotes fear, turns neighbors against neighbors, and contracts the economy by making people fearful to leave their homes.” 

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The resolution also claims that “people are more likely to infect themselves with COVID-19” if they’re wearing a mask, something that experts have disputed as “dangerous nonsense.”

DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney brushed off the impeachment push in a comment to Cleveland.com.

“Gov. DeWine is focused on saving lives during the pandemic. He’s focused on the economy and getting Ohioans back to work,” Tierney said. “That’s what he’s focused on — not this.”

The Ohio Republican Party chair also issued a scathing condemnation of the trio of conservatives, calling the impeachment resolution a “baseless, feeble attempt at creating attention for themselves.”

“It is despicable that anyone who considers themself to be conservative would make an attempt to impeach Governor DeWine,” Jane Timken said in a statement. “In a time of harsh political division, and an important election year, Republicans should be united. Ohio and the world have witnessed an unprecedented global pandemic — one that Governor DeWine has done a great job at leading us through.”

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The outlet noted that it is very unlikely that the resolution will be successful in ousting DeWine from office.

A majority of the Ohio House would need to approve the resolution and then two-thirds of the Ohio Senate would then have to vote to convict him.

State leaders have been grappling with how to address the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 5.7 million people in the U.S., according to a database from Johns Hopkins University.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D), Oregon Gov. Kate BrownKate Brown74 people linked to COVID-19 outbreak at Oregon church Businesses sue Oregon governor over COVID-19 restrictions White House to shift how it distributes unallocated vaccines to states MORE (D) and Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerDetroit police chief planning GOP gubernatorial run against Whitmer More than half of Michigan adults have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose Michigan Senate votes to exempt high school graduations from crowd restrictions MORE (D) have all faced lawsuits over their coronavirus-related actions.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Sherrod Brown calls Rand Paul 'kind of a lunatic' for not wearing mask Overnight Health Care: WHO-backed Covax gets a boost from Moderna MORE (R-Ky.) in July called for the impeachment of New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCuomo's communications director resigns The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Broadway to fully reopen in September MORE (D) over his handling of the state's coronavirus outbreak.