In January, Governor-elect Kasich will hold his right hand and solemnly swear to faithful execute the laws of Ohio.   But according to Kasich that only applies until then!

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Kasich has now admitted that people can view the resumes of people who apply to work for his Administration, but only once he actually takes office.  It goes downhill from there, I’ll warn you:

But Kasich told reporters today that although he plans to keep applicants private through the transition, he has been told by his legal counsel that the information will become public record when he takes office Jan. 10.

"Ultimately, I’m going to lose this battle," Kasich said.

Kasich said today he isn’t required to release the names now because his transition committee, which is accepting the resumes, is a private entity.

“I’m mystified at this,” he said. “Frankly, I’m shocked. Maybe the people that demand all this openness ought to think about the way they want their kids treated. Do they want their kids to be jeopardized because they’re trying to improve themselves and look for another job. This is another example of where we don’t have common sense; the tail wags the dog.”

What is missing in this is if Kasich has such a problem with transparency in something as fundamental as who applies and gets hired in his Administration, then how transparent can we really expect him to make the entity that arises from his JobsOhio plan to privatize Ohio’s economic development efforts.   Remember that Kasich’s campaign insisted that his comments about keeping bonuses secret was only a “joke.”

Maybe in light of today’s story the media should revisit that issue.  Because intentionally seeking out ways to avoid legal mandates for transparency is no laughing matter.

Second, Kasich’s legal team is wrong about his “New Day, New Way, Inc.” private corporate status being a shield from Ohio’s corporate shield laws.  Ohio statutory law creates, as a public entity, the Transitional Committee of the Governor-Elect.  The mere fact that Kasich has “outsourced” some of that committee’s function to a private corporate entity doesn’t suddenly mean that such activities don’t fall under public record laws.  Multiple Ohio courts have recognized that government functions done through private entities fall under Ohio’s public records laws.

Since the legislature has declared that the transitional office of a Governor-elect is a public entity, then it follows that it intends such an entity to be subject to Ohio’s public records laws.  A Governor-elect cannot be permitted to try to use Ohio’s corporation laws to thwart the clear policy intentions of the statutory laws passed by the elected legislature and signed into the law by the elected Governor.

The problem is that such a controversy now only exists until January, presumably, if Kasich is true to his grumbling word.  Will someone still be interested in filing suit to force the issue before then if for no other reason than to create a legal precedent to prevent this kind of legal gamesmanship from occurring in the future?

We’ll wait to see what the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Ohio Newspaper Association says in response.   However, we have had our own conversations about pursuing a legal case on this matter.  What do you think?

As they used to say, stay tuned…

 

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