Next week the Ohio Senate Criminal Justice Committee takes up the nomination of Acting Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Cathy Collins-Taylor.
It will be a historically unprecedented hearing.? For the first time in modern Ohio legislative history, a Senate committee is holding a hearing in which the nominee herself personally appears before the committee.? Unlike Congressional confirmation hearings, the Ohio Senate has normally just held a vote on the nominee.? However, given the sensational charges in I.G. Thomas Charles’ report, what is shocking is that Senate Chairman Thomas Grendell is planning on calling FIFTEEN witnesses during the committee’s consideration of Taylor’s confirmation.
Because nobody remembers the last time a state legislative committee issued subpoenas, there seems to be no rules or precedent controlling such subpoenas.? Unlike in Congress, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, apparently, has decided that the decision on whether to issue subpoenas requires a committee vote.? Apparently, Senate Chairman Grendell has decided that he alone has the right to determine who gets to testify, who gets subpoenaed to testify, and under what conditions those people will be asked to testify.? It doesn’t even appear that the Democrats on the committee are given any opportunity to request any witnesses they themselves wish to call to testify, either.
Despite holding hearings over the so-called “Troopergate” hearing for several months now, Grendell apparently is planning on recalling several witnesses who have already testified at length to the committee to testify again.? Among Grendell’s retreads are: Highway Patrol Superintendent/Col. David Dicken, (Ret.) Lt. Col. William Costas, (Ret.) Maj. Robert Booker, and Lt. Michelle Henderson.
That’s roughly a third of his witness list.? Retreads.
But there’s one central figure curiously missing from Grendell’s list:? Thomas Charles, the Ohio Inspector General.
The whole reason Cathy Collins-Taylor’s nomination is supposedly in jeopardy is because a report that Inspector General Thomas Charles signed, in an investigation he says he supervised even though he has since admitted he had an ethical conflict of interest.? And yet, Thomas Charles is not being asked to back up his own allegations under oath.? Instead, they are sending a former Betty Montgomery lawyer who works in the office/Republican legislative candidate donor instead, thus solving any appearance of bias.
The mere fact that Grendell, who has been admonished twice by the Ohio Supreme Court for pursuing “meritless” cases, is essentially conducting a rushed historical re-enactment of Thomas Charles report while excluding Charles from testifying at the hearing tells you just how little faith they have in Charles anymore.
Instead of just having Collins-Taylor to testify (in fact, the Chairman didn’t even subpoena her to appear at her own confirmation hearing) and discussing Charles’ accusations, Grendell is hoping to overwhelm everyone in a wash of witnesses that completely muddles the actual issues by boring the panel to death.? Perhaps its to run out the clock that the full Senate cannot take up the nomination before the summer recess after May 27th with no announced session dates yet. If the full Senate has not voted on her nomination by that time, it’s presently unknown when they would… before the fall elections.? Grendell could be holding these drawn out hearing to keep “Troopergate” on life support by keeping Collins-Taylor’s nomination unresolved as long as possible.
Not only is Grendell “Borking” Cathy Collins-Taylor, he very well may be trying to filibuster her nomination as well.