From an e-mailed statement from the Ohio Democratic Party on behalf of ODP Chairman Chris Redfern:
“The news in recent days is a truly sad chapter in Ohio politics.
“First, we find out that Inspector General Tom Charles is being rewarded with a cabinet appointment in the Kasich Administration for his partisan efforts to damage Governor Strickland’s re-election. Then, State Sen. Tim Grendell admits that his dog-and-pony show confirmation hearings were pure politics and intended to help Gov.-elect John Kasich’s campaign.
“These developments are a further demonstration of what we already knew: the so-called ‘Troopergate’ investigation was a politically motivated witch hunt seeking to derail Gov. Strickland’s re-election. I urge the Senate to thoroughly debate this flawed appointment of Thomas Charles as Director of the Department of Public Safety. History will judge unkindly the likes of Tom Charles and Tim Grendell their unabashed efforts to end the career of a dedicated public servant for the sole purpose of damaging Governor Strickland.”
The Grendell story hasn’t even been picked up by the Old Media yet.
I have a feeling this won’t be the last we’ll hear about people concerned about this appointment… and it hasn’t even been officially announced yet.
[UPDATE:] No sooner did I post this did I get an e-mail from the ranking Minority Member of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland):
The chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee, Senator Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland), said in a letter this week that he “…worked hard to facilitate John Kasich’s election,” and “…[the investigation] had a detrimental impact on Governor Strickland’s re-election effort.” The hearings were supposed to gather information about a drug sting operation at the Governor’s mansion but turned into an attack on the administration and on Collins-Taylor’s honesty and integrity.
“It’s scary to think someone’s outstanding law enforcement career would be destroyed for purely political reasons,” said Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland), the ranking member of the Criminal Justice Committee. “We said all along that Cathy Collins-Taylor did not get a fair hearing and this confirms it. This entire episode was shameful and not in the best interest of the people of Ohio. ”
Witnesses who would have supported Collins-Taylor were never called to testify and very little time was spent discussing her qualifications for the job. The following statement is part of an official journal protest filed by Senate Democrats on May 25, 2010 (page 2739):
“…we want to protest what we perceive as the politicizing of the confirmation process. We believe that the public perception will be that the Ohio Senate has wasted time and taxpayer dollars at the tail end of this Great Recession to focus on what resembles to be a political smear campaign…”
“As the Senate prepares to hold more confirmation votes on Governor Strickland’s latest appointments, it is my hope that no more highly qualified candidates are rejected for political reasons,” said Senator Turner. “Ohioans are tired of political maneuvering. It is time for us to cease and desist and focus on dealing with the challenges our state faces.”
Senator Turner, you might recall, became so disgusted with how Grendell was conducting the hearing that she and Senator Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland) stormed out of the hearing room at one point.
Let’s also not forget that despite a 2:1 ratio of Republicans to Democrats on the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, Grendell barely won out in his own committee by one vote and for awhile, it looked like she might still be confirmed by the full Senate anyways. That is, until the Republicans took an unscheduled, closed door caucus meeting that went twice as long as the GOP announced it would take before holding the confirmation vote. In the end, Cathy Collins-Taylor fell short by only three GOP votes.