This time about the cost of his inauguration party.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Kasich Administration is refusing to provide the media with any information about how much their inauguration festivities costs or how much they’ve raised until they’re required by law to file a report with the Ohio Secretary of State detailing such costs.
Incoming governors of New York and California held scaled-down inauguration ceremonies this month.
But not in Ohio, where Gov.-elect John Kasich is celebrating for four days, starting last Friday with a tribute to Lt. Gov.-elect Mary Taylor at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Kasich won’t say how much will be spent on this weekend’s festivities, which conclude with two swearing-in ceremonies and an inaugural ball Monday night.
But a new state law requires non-profit transition committees created by statewide officeholders to detail inauguration contributions and expenses by 4 p.m. Saturday Jan. 15.
Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said, “We will reveal the total cost of the inauguration once we know the cost.”
Details will be posted on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.
Didn’t they have a budget? Seriously, why can’t these guys at least share their estimate of the costs? They’ve got to have the information.
I don’t understand why the Kasich Administration resists transparency for no other reasons that to resist transparency. Remember just a month ago, Kasich called the laws to promote ethics and transparency in government “stupid.”
(Also, note the comment about the Ohio Department of Development.)
I don’t get it. Why does the Kasich Administration find itself time after time voluntarily putting them on the wrong side of transparency and good government? Why can’t Rob Nichols say this is the transition committee’s estimate cost for the inauguration, but we’ll have a more definite number by the time we file our report on the fifteenth? I don’t get.
And neither do some of Kasich’s supporters.
The Marion Star is one of the smaller newspapers that endorsed John Kasich for Governor. It joins the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Canton Repository, and the Cincinnati Enquirer as papers who have issued editorials expressing a sense of “buyer’s remorse” before Kasich even took office.
Yesterday, the Marion Star’s editorial was titled:
Will Kasich’s administration be transparent? We’re still waiting
And it went downhill from there:
As John Kasich prepares to take the oath of office to become Ohio’s governor early Monday morning, he does so with a load of expectations on his back.
But the one that he probably struggles with the most is the one he should embrace – the expectation of transparency.
We’re hoping that meant something less insidious as it sounded, but for a guy who formerly worked for a news channel, he sure doesn’t really seem to understand that openness and government should go hand-in-hand.
Kasich’s problem is he hasn’t fully grasped the concept that journalists, newspapers, radio and TV reporters and, yes, bloggers, represent the state’s residents at press conferences, events and other activities. The media’s access is the people’s access and he should view it as such.
Perhaps we’re being too harsh on the new governor. He slowly, but surely, got the message – first allowing limited access to inaugural events, then full access.
But if we’re going to take him at his word – and we did, giving him the Star’s endorsement as Ohio’s governor in October – we need to be assured that he’s willing to be open about what his administration is doing.
We’ll take him at his word for a second time, but the proof of Kasich’s willingness to be transparent will be in what he does when confronted with situations where openness will be difficult, but necessary.
Obviously, we’re less optimistic that this was just a phenomenon limited only to the transition.
I only wish the media would give as much treatment to Kasich’s actual words about Ohio’s ethics and transparency laws than the press restrictions they chafed at for his inauguration.
[UPDATE:] Apparently the Cincinnati Enquirer, which endorsed Kasich, issued another editorial today to lecture Kasich on transparency:
That was good to hear, but it does raise an issue of openness in government – or a lack of openness – that emerged during the fall campaign and has intensified since then. Among troubling developments have been the Kasich transition team’s refusal to release information on job applicants, his dismissal of inquiries on appointees’ possible conflicts of interest, and his plan (later reversed) to hold his legal swearing-in in secret.
Kasich needs to reconcile his folksy, plain-spoken persona with a penchant for secretive, private decision-making. If Kasich truly believes he reports to the people, he must do precisely that – report to the people. That means following the spirit as well as the letter of Ohio’s open-records and open-meetings laws, making public documents and officials freely available for public scrutiny.
Eyes on the ball, folks.
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