Back on December 29th, we told you that Governor Kasich was doubling the number of Ohio Highway Patrol officers assigned to his security today.  Yesterday, the Dispatch’s Daily Briefing blog reported:

The Ohio Department of Public Safety is asking the Controlling Board — a panel of lawmakers that approves spending requests — to green-light an additional $2.9 million for staffing and $100,000 for equipment from the fund that pays for security for dignitaries including the governor.

[Ohio Department of Public Safety Joe] Andrews said the request to the Controlling Board does not include any physical improvements to the Kasich house.

At $2.9 million, with that figure NOT including physical improvements to the Kasich house, we can only assume that such a high figure cannot be limited solely to the Governor.  Ohio Revised Code 5503.02(E)(1)(b) states that in addition to providing security for the Governor, the Patrol can provide security:

“At the direction of the governor, for other officials of the state government of this state; officials of the state governments of other states who are visiting this state; officials of the United States government who are visiting this state; officials of the governments of foreign countries or their political subdivisions who are visiting this state; or other officials or dignitaries who are visiting this state, including, but not limited to, members of trade missions.”

So assuming that this budget request isn’t entirely just for the Governor (since it doesn’t even include the cost of the improvements of his house) and the nearly $3 million costs, it’s a safe assumption that Gov. Kasich is directing the Patrol to provide security for others as well under this provision.  But for whom?  And why?  And is it really necessary?

Remember that Governor Strickland ordered the Patrol to temporarily provide security for Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in 2008 after Fox News’ demonization of her and portrayal of her, before the election, of plotting with ACORN to permit election fraud resulted in multiple threats to Secretary of State Brunner’s life.  However, that detail ended after the election.  I’ve confirmed that other than that incident and the occasional short-term (like a day) detail for outside dignitaries visiting Ohio, the Patrol did not provide a daily detail to anyone besides Strickland.  Is the Kasich Administration expanding this by giving Taylor a detail?  His Cabinet?  The other Statewide elected officials?  If so, it’s a radical departure to the past.  And it would give Thomas Charles the ability access to information throughout the State for him to use to continue to leverage in his empire building.

The question needs to be asked: Why when the State is looking at what Republicans are saying will an $8 billion deficit is the Kasich Administration increasing taxpayer provided security expenses?  Has there been a credible threat to justify these expenses?

I hate being this cynical, but there’s a temptation to use the Patrol to present a Secret Service-type political show.  Is this request credibly based on actual security concerns, or what?  And we all know that Thomas Charles has a history of using excuses to justify for additional funding to build his own political empire.  Since 2005, Charles got the legislature to increase his office’s budgets substantially year after year in the name of Coingate, only to leave that office with no interview of Tom Noe or any final investigatory report on Coingate.

Kasich and the Ohio Highway Patrol has apparently forgotten that we taxpayer still have a right get these answers… and answers to other questions like how much did my tax dollars go to pay to improve Kasich’s home?

 

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