As Kasich Appears Today with Romney, Public Blocked from Determining How Much Governor Uses Official Office for Campaign
COLUMBUS, OHIO- Today, the Ohio Democratic Party announced the filing of a lawsuit in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas requesting that the secretive Governor John Kasich be forced to follow the law and release his public schedules.
In seven separate instances, Kasich completely ignored, or only partially responded to, Ohio Democrats’ requests for his public schedules. More than 42 days have passed since Democrats made their request for these schedules. In light of the Governor’s questionable use of his office to support Romney, and news the Republican nominee has asked other governors to utilize their official offices to support his campaign, Democrats insist on release of Kasich’s public schedules to help determine whether any wrong doing has occurred in Ohio.
“It’s unfortunate that this Governor is so opposed to transparency and public disclosure that we have to ask the Court to force him to follow the law,” said Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern.“Serious questions remain regarding whether the Governor has improperly used his office for the benefit of Mitt Romney, and it’s deeply disappointing Kasich is so secretive he won’t even tell the public what he’s done, or where he’s gone.”
The Democratic Party’s lawsuit also comes on the heels of a similar request the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Kasich’s hand-picked leadership at the Ohio Republican Party had made to other Democrats. While the Governor refuses to comply with the law himself, he appears more than willing to hypocritically encourage his allies to request public records.
“It’s incredibly hypocritical that Kasich would allow his hand-picked leadership at the Ohio Republican Party to seek out other officeholders’ public schedules when he refuses to comply with this very law himself,” said Redfern.
Ohio open records laws provide that documents in the possession of public offices shall be provided to the public within a reasonable amount of time upon request. However, more than 42 days have passed since Democrats filed a request on July 2, 2012 that remains unfulfilled by the Governor. While many statewide officeholders dutifully follow the law, Kasich has shown a troubling tendency to obstruct transparency in his administration at every step by ignoring records requests, chipping away at public records laws, sweeping scandal in the State Superintendent’s office under the rug, and shielding state development investments in JobsOhio from public inquiry.
A copy of the Ohio Democratic Party’s lawsuit is available here.