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For Immediate Release:

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

CONTACT: Cameron Keir, ckeir@ohiodems.org, 614-506-5413

ICYMI: Another Day, Another Scandal Under Mike Dewine 

Ohioans’ Data, Personal Information at Risk as BMV Can’t Answer Questions about Where Ohioans’ Personal Information Goes Once They Sell It

Columbus, OH — In case you missed it, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles is the latest state agency under Mike DeWine’s leadership that finds itself in the middle of a scandal that could cost Ohioans. WBNS-TV in Columbus published an investigation earlier this week raising questions about whether the Ohio BMV is in violation of federal law as Ohio drivers find their information being used by direct mail solicitors right after they have dealings with the BMV.

In 2020, the agency made more than $40 million selling Ohioans’ personal data to third parties, and as WBNS reports, many of those Ohioans’ personal data is being used to send direct mail solicitations. Similar mailers are often aimed at coercing Ohioans into paying for things they don’t need. Ohioans in the story also raise concerns with how widely their personal data is being shared once the BMV sells it to third parties.

“It’s a day that ends in Y, so Mike DeWine finds his administration at the center of another scandal. As scandal after scandal piles up, it’s clear that Ohioans are paying a steep price for the corruption coming out of Mike DeWine’s statehouse. Ohioans can’t afford four more years of Mike DeWine,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson Matt Keyes.

Interestingly, current BMV registrar Charlie Norman has strong ties to the DeWine family, having served as Chief of Staff to Justice Pat DeWine when he served as Hamilton County Commissioner and as Regional Director for then-Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

This is only the latest scandal Mike DeWine’s administration finds itself at the center of, including the largest public corruption scandal in state history, a state unemployment fraud scandal, and a state Medicaid scandal.

Read more about the latest scandal involving the BMV here and below:

  • A months-long experiment by 10 Investigates is now helping the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles determine if there has been any illegal misuse of drivers’ personal information.
  • Since 2010, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles has made more than $250 million selling drivers’ personal information to third parties.
  • But 10 Investigates wanted to know what happens to drivers’ information after that sale? What are those third parties doing with that information?
  • Why does that matter?
  • If those mailed solicitations – like those offers for the extended auto warranties – were the result of the Ohio BMV’s sale of driver’s personal data, it could be a violation of a federal law – known as the Drivers Privacy Protection Act.
  • As part of our experiment, 10 Investigates tried to narrow the scope of potential leaks of Haeberle’s personal data. His insurance company told him prior to the vehicle purchase that it would not sell his data for direct marketing or solicitations. And there was no dealership involved – Haeberle bought the car in a peer-to-peer sale with the station WBNS-TV.
  • That would leave only one entity – the Ohio BMV – which would’ve known that he had recently purchased a vehicle.
  • 10 Investigates also found Ohio drivers with similar experiences.
  • “None of this was happening until I registered my car,” said Barb Woodruff. “I was looking for ways to opt-out and when someone tells me there is no way to opt-out, I have a problem with that.”
  • John Kaminsky got similar mailers weeks after buying car and titling it with the Ohio BMV. He said his dealer assured him they didn’t sell his personal information.
  • “I expect the state to have some discretion and have my best interests at heart,” he said.