Ohio senator refutes charter-school claims of political blog

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An influential state senator in Ohio is pushing back against allegations by a political blog that she has a conflict of interest regarding charter schools.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter Republican Sen. Peggy Lehner (LAY’-nuhr) sent Monday to legislative colleagues.

It refuted a series of articles in the blog 3rd Rail Politics that alleged a relationship between the nonpartisan Fordham Institute and Lehner’s sister, Kate Walsh. The blog suggested the alleged tie has given Fordham undue policy influence, including over competing charter-school sponsors.

Lehner chairs the Senate Education Committee and has been a leading proponent of reforming laws regulating Ohio’s embattled charter-school industry.

Her email Monday called the blog’s claims “baseless and scurrilous attacks.” She said they’re intended to thwart her work on charter-school reform.