Wednesday, July 20, 2005

 

Taft releases reports but not memos or calendars

The Ohio News Network is reporting tonight that Bob Taft has done an about face regarding some of the internal materials that he had previously blocked thru his dubious claim of executive privilege:
Governor Taft has reversed course and agreed to release weekly reports from top officials at the embattled state insurance fund for injured workers. Taft says in a letter to Democratic Senator Marc Dann that releasing the reports from January 1999 through August of last year is in the public's interest. Taft spokesman Mark Rickel says Taft decided to release the documents because of new revelations about the Workers' Compensation Bureau's internal scrutiny of investments.
We'll wait to see that State Sen. Marc Dann's take on this development is, but it appears to us that releasing the weekly reports, while a partial and important victory, still leaves open the question of who knew what and when.

Dann, as we understand it, had also sought internal memos and emails of Taft and several other current and former members of his administration, plus calendars, schedules and phone logs.

The latter are important to pin down what - if any - steps Taft or his staffers took to either influence investments in Tom Noe's coin scheme, respond to the news of losses in the Noe and MDL funds, or suppress information related these developments as the scandals became public.

As we know from comments by James Conrad that were published recently, much of the discussion and planning around Noe and MDL occurred in private meetings and would not be reflected in the weekly reports. We assume that some of those discussions occurred precisely it would not appear in the weekly reports.

Besides the obvious information about when meetings of the inner circle occurred, the calendars and schedules are also important to identify what - if any - formal or informal contacts Taft or his staff had with Noe, his representatives, or others who had business with BWC investment staff.

[UPDATE] Dann, indeed, call's the release of the reports a victory.

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