Tuesday, July 12, 2005

 

Ethics commission deadlocked on Hicks?

One of the bigger fish in the swirling Republican corruption scandals may be getting a pass from the Ohio Ethics Commission.

In its monthly meeting yesterday, the five-member commission (one seat is vacant) failed to reach an agreement to refer accusations against Brian Hicks, Taft's former chief of staff, to prosecutors. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations on ethics charge violations for Hicks runs out July 31 (two years after he left office).

The Commission apparently provided no explanation for it's lack of action. Given that the Commission also didn't announce it was dismissing the complaint against Hicks, one would have to assume that Commission a majority of members simply didn't want to take a stand one way or another on the matter and will the statute of limitations to take the matter out of their hands.

The Blade has more here, but we suspect there is something else going on.

The public case against Hicks appears to be pretty compelling. Hicks spent at least one week in the nearly $2 million dollar Florida Keys home of Tom Noe - a week that only cost Hicks $500. Now, anyone who has even tried to take their family to Orlando knows you can't get a week anywhere for 500 bucks.

The Commission didn't have to tie up all the loose ends to the case. It only had to show that there was a preponderance of evidence in order to refer it to the prosecutors.

Clearly, the prosecutor can act independently of the Commission members, but the Commission members must realize that they are getting dangerously close making a joke of themselves and the whole reporting process. If they can't stand the heat from the Hicks case, how are they going to withstand the flames when the Taft case hearings get hot and heavy?

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