Saturday, August 13, 2005

 

Dann demands Taft fulfill disclosure promise - stalling continues

God bless State Sen. Marc Dann. What a ball-buster. He must be the thorn in Taft's ass that poke's him every time he thinks he can sit and get a breather.

After Thursday's news the the Ohio Ethics Commission was referring Taft's case to prosecutors, Dann reminded reporters of Taft's promise to release to the public a full financial disclosure "upon completion of discussions with the commission." [emphasis added]

As Dann notes, those discussions are over, and he has fired off a letter to the Governor demanding immediate disclosure:
In the last few weeks, you promised to make public details of your ethics violations upon completion of a review process by the Ohio Ethics Commission. Today it was reported that the Commission has finished its process and has taken the next step in its investigation and asked prosecutors to review your failure to report numerous free golf outings.

With those facts in mind, your disclosure of all gifts should be made immediately today.
Obviously, if Taft meant what he said he would have released the materials Thursday or Friday at the latest. That didn't happen, so Dann is correct in demanding immediate action. (Actually, Dann continues to argue that Taft has had no legal basis for withholding the information at any time during the Ethics Commission process.)

But, today's Dispatch indicates that Taft and his criminal lawyer are trying - at least in the short run - to backtrack on his promise. In stead of waiting until "completion of discussions" Taft and his attorneys have now moved the goal posts to "when the commission hands over the documents.":
The Ohio Ethics Commission completed that phase of the inquiry Thursday when it decided to refer the golf issue to prosecutors. Evidence, interviews and related material, along with a cover letter from the commission, are expected to be formally submitted to Columbus and Franklin County prosecutors by the middle of next week.

Taft spokesman Orest Holubec told The Dispatch that the governor intends to make the details public once the commission hands over the documents. [emphasis added]
At the risk of being accused of making a mountain out of a molehill, we gotta ask, why is Taft being given one hour, let alone one week, of leeway on releasing the information? Why isn't the headline to this story, "Taft continues to stonewall on gifts"?

We know it was Friday and the Statehouse press corps was probably doing their ole' sneak out of the cubicle early routine, but doesn't anyone besides the Blade's staff smell blood in the water for chrissakes?

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