Now that I’m coming around to giving a shit about this story, a quote from OIG Tom Charles caught my eye.? When asked about his rather blatant conflict of interest – namely, investigating someone who recently gave a promotion to someone not his wife? – Charles admits the conflict, then claims he dispensed with the conflict before he issued his report, a report which he claims he had nothing to do with at all.

?I stayed as far away from it as I could just for those reasons,? Charles said. ?I read it and signed it, that?s all true. But I didn?t do one interview. I didn?t do one thing on the investigation. I stand by that report.?

I found this stunning at first, because I, like most Ohioans would, assumed Tom Charles was an attorney.? Why would this matter?? Because if you are an attorney, and you have a conflict of interest in a matter, there are rules governing how you deal with those conflicts.? Many rules.? In fact, so many rules, that if you did not follow them, you could be subject to discipline by the Ohio Supreme Court which issues your license to practice law.

And if Tom Charles had a conflict, and were an attorney, I would expect him to deal with the conflict well beyond merely “staying as far away from it just for those reasons”.? He might have recused himself before it even began.? Might have handed it to another agency.? But I certainly would not expect him to even be associated with the report, let alone read it, or sign it, or say “I stand by that report”, a report he admits bears his personal conflict of interest.

But Tom Charles isn’t an attorney.? In fact, Tom Charles is nothing more than a former state highway patrol officer.? Former.? Nothing more than a former cop, formerly the guy who pulls you over on I-71 for going 75 in a 65.? Formerly.? That’s.? It.? Which is very convenient for Tom Charles.

Because it means Tom Charles has no ethics rules governing his potential conflicts of interest.? It means Tom Charles can prance around an investigation encumbered by as many personal conflicts of interest as he wants, and there are no ethical enforcement mechanisms checking his behavior other than his own, those of a former cop who by his own admission is holding a grudge about his wife’s career.

That will probably explain quite a lot as this unfolds.? Quite.

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